Pre War American Flyer Pictures - An Invitation

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Posted by silentman on Sunday, September 16, 2018 10:08 PM

Nationwidelines

 

 
silentman

Hey folks, quick question and this looked like the right thread. AF 9900 clockwork complete set with box. Was interested in buying from a gentleman and was just looking for a ballpark on its value? Sorry no pics but is in pretty good shape best I can tell. Thanks in advance

 

 

 

Hard to say without examining it.  I would guess in the $100 to $300 range, depending on condition of set and condition of box, also assuming the windup engine works.

 

Perfect thanks. I'll post some pics when I get it. 

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 4:17 PM

Die-Cast Engine   Type X

I have been going through the collection and reorganizing it....again.  I discovered that I have a number of variations of the Type X Die-Cast engine. I was surprised to see how many variations I actually have collected over the years.

I pulled out my Greenberg Guide to identify them; which I thought would be a fairly easy process. That has proven to be a more difficult task than I thought it would be.  The engines that I have do not exactly fit the descriptions in the guide. (You have to love Flyer's diversity.)  Let me give it a shot.

#3308 (in combintion with  a tender; by itself the engine is a #3307) It has a ringing bell, but shouldn't.

#4677 (in combination with a tender; by itself it is #7715) It should have a ringing bell but doesn't.

#420 Should have a ringing bell but doesn't.  When Gilbert took over American Flyer in 1938 they started including a #420 without a tender in some Erector sets.  This one came to me without a tender so I have wondered if it was originally included in an Erector set.

#420  No ringing bell, but it has running gear like the #3308 but no green stripe on the running boards.

#420(B) Gilbert started using nickel trim in 1940.  These do not appear in the catalog and may have been used in the Erector sets or uncataloged sets.

I usually run it with a #421 tender with nickle trim.

#437 Locomotive-Tender Double Header Set (Type X -#420 - die cast engine and Type XX sheet metal engine) 1939.

Sometimes I hook up two dummy engines to the #420 to have a triple header, just for fun.

This is the best I can do with my identifications.  Because all the examples came as individual pieces without boxes or documentation I am sure that a few errors have slipped in.

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 8:43 PM

Here is a more unusual version, which I believe dates to 1932.  

It is a 3357 Locomotive, which does not appear in the Greenberg's Guides.  The number appears on the original engine box, which came with the set/engine.

What sets this engine apart from other variations, is the bell on the casting, which is the earlier style brass bell that is held on with a screw, instead of being a copper bell that is inserted into the casting and peened over on the underside.  Additionally, the motor is a style that was commonly found in the earlier cast iron engines.  Note that the engine does not have trailing trucks, which is due to the earlier style reverse unit that is mounted at the rear of the motor and prevents the mounting of a trailing truck.  

The tender is the variation that would normally have the square standard gauge style plates, but instead has decals covering the holes for the brass plates.  

This engine/tender came with a set of late Illini cars, which were uncataloged at the time the set was made.  The cars feature gray trucks and are one of the latest sets of Illini cars that I have observed.  

NWL

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by strainst on Saturday, September 29, 2018 6:02 AM

A really neat set in outstanding condition.  Guessing set was from 1931-32?  Do you had any idea who sold the set.  Did you find it in the Chicago area?

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Saturday, September 29, 2018 11:48 AM

strainst

A really neat set in outstanding condition.  Guessing set was from 1931-32?  Do you had any idea who sold the set.  Did you find it in the Chicago area?

strainst

 

Unfortunately, I do not have any idea what retailer sold the set and I found it on ebay, so it may not have come to me from the original area that it was sold in.  

My guess on the age, would be 1932 due to the locomotive casting and the truck style of the cars.  

NWL

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Saturday, September 29, 2018 1:43 PM

strainst,

Are you going to York?  Will you be at the early show?

Northwoods and I are traveling together and will be there for the week.

NWL

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Posted by strainst on Saturday, September 29, 2018 6:49 PM

Northwoods / NWL

 

I am unable to attend the early show this time around.  Full time jobs can be a real pain at times. Sigh I will be at York, but not selling.  I will be walking around looking for parts and looking for some Flyer treasures.  When I am not walking around I will be in the White Hall.  I have several friends selling just inside the door, first full row to the left of the door and others in the far back corner.  I am looking forward to seeing you at York and meeting Northwoods, which I have wanted to do after being able to enjoy this wonderful forum he started.  If you would like to email me, I can give you my cell phone number and we can text to meet, of course outside of the halls.

strainst

 

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Sunday, September 30, 2018 9:30 AM

strainst

Check your email, I am sending you one now.  

NWL

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, September 30, 2018 3:45 PM

1938   Set No. 5

Northwestern Passenger

As I posted earlier, I have been going through the collection and reorganizing it.  One of the results is that I discovered that I had all of the components for this set.

It comes with two of the wide/low profile #3171R pullmans and a #3172R observation.

The cars are definitely in the "operator quality" grade, but they are only found in this variation in one year - "1938".  This is the first set that I have ever come across.

They are lighted.

It is the only year that the red variation of the cars came with the automatic couplers.  (Type #10 Curly cue couplers on Type 12 trucks)

All of it is headed up by the #4677 Engine/Tender combination.

I guess maybe I should do some more re-organizing.  Who knows what else I might discover.

Enjoying the World's Greatest Hobby

Northwoods Flyer

P.S. I'm looking forward to meeting some folks who post here at York in 2 weeks.

 

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Posted by LL675 on Thursday, October 11, 2018 10:58 AM

that's quite the problem you have there Greg...discovering trains you didn't remember having. And I definatly like the operater quality.

Dave

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Posted by AF53 on Sunday, October 14, 2018 4:42 PM

Hello guys. It's been a while since posting here. My brother-law and I have been going to York for years.  Unfortunately this coming week we will not attend as my nephew's wedding is Saturday. 

 

I wish I could have met up with you guys. 

Ray

Bayville, NJ

 

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While you're busy making other plans - John Lennon

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Friday, October 26, 2018 2:23 PM

Streamline by Design

The Chicago History Museum is featuring a temporary exhibit about streamline design by Chicago area designers/firms.  The exhibit begins tomorrow October 27, 2018 and runs through December 1, 2019.

As a lender of an item to the exhibit, I was invited to a preview of the exhibit today and I am sharing the photos of the entrance to the exhibit.  The entrance gallery is devoted to the Zephyr.  I loaned my American Flyer model of the Burlington Zephyr to the exhibit, as my Zephyr was presented in 1934 to Ralph M. Budd, President of Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy RR by American Flyer MFG., per the engraving on the top of the power car.  

Here are some photos of the exhibit.

My Zephyr is to the right in the above photo.  The following picture shows a view of my train.  The video screen above it is running a copy of the movie "The Silver Streak" from 1934.

 

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Posted by JamesDill on Tuesday, November 06, 2018 12:34 PM

I have this exact set from 1938 and a color movie of it running around my 6 year old mother's Christmas tree in 1938.  I also have the individual boxes for the cars.  It was gift for my mother that year but really it was the depression and a guy needed $5 dollars for something so my grandfather offered to gift it to him. The man refused the charity and instead offered to sell him the new train set.  Mine works perfectly but is in rough shape. My Mom and her older brothers played with it during their childhood and then it was handed to my 3 brothers and me and we played with it hard.  My Dad bought me a lionel missle launch set in 1969 and sent the Flyer to a friends for reconditioning (new wheels). It is very popular around the Christmas tree every year. The only problem is it only has two speeds "Off" and "Full Speed" and it doesn't love FasTrack. It is nice to see another set like it thanks for the pictures!

Jim

 

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Posted by LL675 on Tuesday, November 06, 2018 7:07 PM

these showed up at my door yesterday. 

I think I need to start thinking about looking for a Flyer steamer to pull these.

Dave

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Tuesday, November 06, 2018 7:36 PM

Dave,

If you are looking for a steamer to pull them, I would recommend either the 1680 Hudson or a 43224 / 432 Atlantic, because the larger drive wheels look great when running these engines.

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Posted by LL675 on Wednesday, November 07, 2018 5:10 PM

Thanks Greg, Is there any trouble items to watch for...zinc pest, hard to find/$$ parts on the Prewar Flyer steam?

Dave

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Wednesday, November 07, 2018 8:39 PM

Dave,

The 43224 / 432 (same casting used on 43226 / 435) is prone to warpage and zinc pest, including the smokestacks and sand domes.  Also the front marker lights on these engines tend to break off.

The Hudsons do not seem to have any issues, other than with the lead and trailing wheels, and sometimes the drive wheels.

Good luck on your search.

NWL

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Friday, November 09, 2018 8:36 AM

#97 Station

Here is an early #97 Station.  It appears to date to late 1924 or early 1925, based on date codes on the labels.  

I know that this type of box is early, likely from 1924.  

 

A couple of interesting features of the station, the doors are not cutout, there appear to have been window inserts in the front and back of the station at one time, and the windows on the end are not punched out.  

NWL

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Friday, November 09, 2018 10:53 AM

JamesDill

I have this exact set from 1938 and a color movie of it running around my 6 year old mother's Christmas tree in 1938.  I also have the individual boxes for the cars.  It was gift for my mother that year but really it was the depression and a guy needed $5 dollars for something so my grandfather offered to gift it to him. The man refused the charity and instead offered to sell him the new train set.  Mine works perfectly but is in rough shape. My Mom and her older brothers played with it during their childhood and then it was handed to my 3 brothers and me and we played with it hard.  My Dad bought me a lionel missle launch set in 1969 and sent the Flyer to a friends for reconditioning (new wheels). It is very popular around the Christmas tree every year. The only problem is it only has two speeds "Off" and "Full Speed" and it doesn't love FasTrack. It is nice to see another set like it thanks for the pictures!

Jim 

Jim,

Welcome to the thread and thanks for sharing the story of your family Zephyr. Being able to hear stories like yours is one of the reasons that I started this thread.  Its exciting to see NationWideLines' very unique Zephyr on display as a paprt of the Museum's display too.

I also have a set that sounds like the one that you have.

It isn't a family piece, but it is one that I acquired early in my collecting career.  

I grew up in Chicago and made many trips to the Museum of Science and Industry where the Pioneer Zephyr was on display.  It has always had a special place in my memories.

Back in 1984 the Museum had a special celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Pioneer Zephyr.

The above poster was a promotional item for the display and celebration.  I didn't get back to Chicago to see the display until late in September.  By that time all of the copies of the poster at the museum gift shop were sold out.  This is the poster that was still hanging in the gift shop on display and it had gotten quite beat up.  I talked the person at the counter into letting me buy it, but instead of having to pay for it, he just gave it to me.  I had it mounted at a framing shop and while it is a bit rough, it has its own unique story.

My father worked for the Railway Postal Service.  He started riding the RPO cars out of Chicago in 1929. So I also have an interest in the Postal Service and the transportation of mail by train.  Some time ago I added a piece of mail that was carried on the Zephyr on its inaugural run in 1934 to the collection.

 

And just for the record, American Flyer also made a sheet metal version of the Zephyr.

It seems like there is always something new to add to the collection.

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Northwoods Flyer

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Friday, November 09, 2018 11:35 AM

LL675

I think I need to start thinking about looking for a Flyer steamer to pull these.

 
Congratulations Dave!  It looks as if you are becoming a real American Flyer Lines Railroad Baron.   Bow
 
I appreciated the acknowledgement but NationWideLines is the one who answered you and gave the suggestions. I agree with his suggestions for a steamer to pull your rolling stock.  You might also consider something from the 332X family of engines.  They tend to be a bit easier to find and less expensive.  They can have issues with leading and trailing truck wheels too, but I don't see much issue with the body castings.  And since you do such beautiful restoration and repainting work they will look gorgeous when you are through with them.
 
 
Please let us know when you find your next Iron Horse.
 
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Northwoods Flyer

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Friday, November 09, 2018 11:43 AM

Nationwidelines

#97 Station

Here is an early #97 Station.  It appears to date to late 1924 or early 1925, based on date codes on the labels.  

I know that this type of box is early, likely from 1924.  

 

A couple of interesting features of the station, the doors are not cutout, there appear to have been window inserts in the front and back of the station at one time, and the windows on the end are not punched out.  

NWL

 

Great find NWL!  The variations just keep coming.  Given the condition of that almost 100 year old box and condition of the station itself, I just have to wonder where it has spent all of these years.

Keep up the hunt.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 11:47 AM

Several entries back when we were discussing Type X engines  NationWideLines posted the following uncataloged set.  What caught my eye was the late Illini cars.

Nationwidelines

Here is a more unusual version, which I believe dates to 1932.  

It is a 3357 Locomotive, which does not appear in the Greenberg's Guides.  The number appears on the original engine box, which came with the set/engine.

 

This engine/tender came with a set of late Illini cars, which were uncataloged at the time the set was made.  The cars feature gray trucks and are one of the latest sets of Illini cars that I have observed.  

NWL 

About the time that he posted this set I spotted a similar set on ebay.  I put a relatively low bid out and got it.

I believe the set is original because all of the cars have about the same amount of wear and they "feel" right together.

I started to do some research on the cars and discovered a few interesting things about them.  And I compared them to NationWideLines set.

Lets start with the #3000 Railway Post Office

NWL's car has dark green doors (from an earlier version of the Illini cars)

Mine has brown doors, which I suspect come from the Columbia cars.

Greenberg does not list a variation with dark green doors. (a previously undocumented variation?)  Variation (I) describes my brown door variation:

"...unlighted; four brown doors with die-cast handles; Type VIIIa trucks without journals; Type VII couplers."

#3001 Pullman

NWL's car

 

My car

 We both have variation (I):

"...green frame; arched windows unpunched; Type VIIIa trucks without journals; Type VIIa couplers."

#3001 Observation

NWL's car

NWL's observation does not completely match any of the variations listed in the Greenberg guide.

His car has a medium green body, roof and frame, brass plated platform and brass plated steps at both ends, all windows are punched out, Type VIIIa trucks and Type VIIa couplers.

My car

My car does not completely match any of the variations listed in Greenberg either.  

My car has medium green body, roof, and frame, brass-plated platform and brass steps at both ends, arched windows not punched out, Type VIIa couplers and what I believe to be Type VIb trucks without journals.

Some of the variations in the observation cars are minor, and I am not sure they should be considered real variations, but they are pieces that have come from the factory and do not appear to be altered.  Are they the result of Flyer cleaning out the stock in the factory?

More to come....

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Northwoods Flyer

 

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 9:31 PM
I did some additional reading and research after posting the previous entry and found some facts that will shed some light on the sets that NationWideLines and I have posted.
This is from Greenberg’s Guide to American Flyer Prewar O Gauge by Alan R. Schuweiler. It comes from Chapter 9 -“8 ¼-INCH TO 11 INCH PASSENGER CARS”, page 147:
“In (Montgomery) Ward’s 1929 Fall and Winter catalog, set No. 48 E 91 is shown with 9 ½ - inch cars, which are described as “in a beautiful green color” with a 7011 electric-outline locomotive. 
(This is a representation of what that set looks like)
The 1930 and 1931 Ward catalogs (numbers 113 and 115) each offered a set of these lithographed cars headed by an electrically powered steam locomotive, which appears to be a Type III.
The details of other 9 ½ - inch passenger cars suggest they were sold as late as 1933 or 1934.  For example, green 9 ½ - inch lithographed cars exist with gray trucks, and they have been observed in a set with gray Type VIIIa trucks without journal boxes.  The mail car in this set has four brown lithographed doors.  American Flyer was probably digging out all usable parts to put together salable sets at minimal expenses during this time, and companies such as Montgomery Ward were undoubtedly trying to offer affordable sets to their customers.  Certainly the economic times required such creative effort.”
Sounds like my set:

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Thursday, November 22, 2018 6:49 PM

Northwoods,

Great post!  I have studied the Illini car set variations and, as you saw when visiting, I have numerous variations of the Illini cars.  I am not sure how late these cars were sold, but the steam engine set, suggests at least through 1932, as the die cast steam engine in that set was not introduced until 1932.

Here is another late Illini set on gray trucks.  

Note that this set features the two-tone green 3115, which features four 3115 number plates and no American Flyer plates.  This set was likely done for a retailer, possibly Wards or Penney's, who wanted no visible indication of who manufactured the set. 

Also the set of cars features all of the arched windows punched out.  I am not sure why some of the late sets feature unpunched vs punched out windows, but realize that the reason is likely due to the Nation Wide Lines cars not featuring the arched windows in these locations and the windows in these locations not being punched out.  So the dies for punching out the Illini cars were changed to remove the punching out of the windows.  So the question is, were the bodies with punched out windows on cars featuring gray trucks produced before or after 1929? (the theoretical date of the NWL blue cars being produced).  I cannot answer this, but it may be that Flyer made a large run of the lithographed bodies for these cars c. 1928-1929, a point which the cars were not being featured in the catalogs, and then continued to use up the parts in special sets for a number of years afterward.

I have one more late Illini set on gray trucks, but have not photographed it.  So I will have to get some pictures tomorrow and post them.  It is a slightly earlier set than the other two I have, as it has the trucks similar to your observation car (I forget the descriptive type at the moment).

NWL

 

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Sunday, November 25, 2018 10:02 AM

Since Northwoods posted about both late Illini cars and Montgomery Ward sets, I thought I would post photos of these three sets, all Montgomery Ward sets.

First, is my late 7011 engine and late Illini cars.

 

Next up is my early 7011 engine and Illini cars.

 

There are two obvious differences between the two above sets.  First the different color trucks on the cars, where there are black painted trucks on the early cars and gray painted trucks on the late cars.  Second, are differences in the engines.  The early engine has gold lettering and track trip reverse and the late engine has white lettering and a reverse lever sticking up through the top of the engine.  Here are some close ups of the engines.

Here is the late engine 

Here is the early engine

 

Lastly, Northwoods mentioned a set pulled by a steam engine.  This is one of the Montgomery Ward steam engine illini sets.  I acquired these cars and tender (no engine) together and based on the tender, put a 3195 engine with the set.

 

NWL

 

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Posted by mersenne6 on Sunday, November 25, 2018 3:13 PM

NWL - the 3195 was a good guess.  Way back before I was into taking pictures of train sets and formally documenting what I had seen, a collector I knew had purchased that same set from its original owner.  There were no boxes and no one could remember the circumstances of the purchase but they did insist the set was as purchased.

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Sunday, November 25, 2018 5:20 PM

mersenne6

NWL - the 3195 was a good guess.  Way back before I was into taking pictures of train sets and formally documenting what I had seen, a collector I knew had purchased that same set from its original owner.  There were no boxes and no one could remember the circumstances of the purchase but they did insist the set was as purchased.

 

 

Mersenne6,

I admit to being puzzled by the set when I first purchased it.  I bought it at an estate or garage sale over 20 years ago, as just the tender and cars.  One of my friends later confirmed it as being a set and sent me a copy of the page similar to the one Northwoods posted.  I believe my friend has a boxed set that is identical.  

I know the seller of my 1929 7011 set indicated that he could recall going to Montgomery Ward's warehouse in Chicago and picking the set up with his parents.  

NWL

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, November 25, 2018 8:17 PM

Great posts on the Illini cars guys.  The variations on these cars and how they were marketed in sets is difficult to keep track of.  At least it is for me.  Something was rumbling in the back of my mind after I posted my set with the brown door baggage.  Something just didn't seem right in the comparison of the observation cars.

This is NWL's observation

This is mine:

I didn't notice it at first because the cars are sitting in opposite directions.  But look at what happens when I reverse the direction of my observation:

Now it matches the order of the windows of NWL's set, and the set that he posted that has the same same trucks as my observation.

So the explanation must be that there was only one lithographed side for these cars, but it was cut differently when it was used for the observation, making the order of the car windows appear to be different on each side.

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Sunday, November 25, 2018 8:32 PM

Northwoods,

I had never keyed into how the observation cars look different due to the observation platform and the cuts required to make it.  

But yes, there is only a single stamping to make a car, using 2 identical halves.  

Oddly, the only Flyer item that I am aware of that had 2 different halves to create a car is the 5-window standard gauge caboose.  In order to have the window configuration match, there had to be 2 different halves, each with two windows on one side of the center plate and 3 windows on the other side of the center plate, but configured so that when the car was assembled that the window configuration matched up on both sides of the car.  That is likely why the 5 window caboose is very rare, Flyer figured out quickly that the two individual halves were more costly and/or time consuming to put together than two identical halves.

NWL

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Wednesday, December 05, 2018 8:44 AM

Yesterday, Mr. Peabody and I fired up the wayback machine and went back to 1934 to pick up this beauty!

The Brigadier, first cataloged in 1934, is a freight set consisting of 3315 engine and tender, 3046 log car, 3019 dump car, 3018 Air Service tank car, and 3017 caboose.  

 

 

 

Sherman

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