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Pre War American Flyer Pictures - An Invitation

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Posted by Major on Saturday, March 6, 2021 6:46 AM

My son has one exactly like the locomotive pictured.

 

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Monday, March 8, 2021 1:04 PM

Hi Major,

Thanks for the reply.  I haven't handled very many of Flyer's Wide Gauge steamers so all I have to go on are the photos and descriptions in the Greenberg Guide.  I went back and took another look at my engine and the descriptions.  I think that I have it narrowed down to the #4694(c) engine and tender combo.

The engine is a 4692x with a 4693 Vanderbilt tender.  The (c) variation has the lighted firebox and a ringing bell although it does not have a swinging bell.

The engine also has cast steps painted gold and a brass feed water  header that were used on the brass piper version.

I suppose Flyer was up to their old tricks of using up the parts they had on hand.  

Could you check your son's engine to see what characteristics it has?

Thanks,

Enjoying the World's Greatest Hobby

Northwoods Flyer

 

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Posted by JonEddy on Thursday, March 11, 2021 2:45 PM

Northwoods Flyer

Hi Major,

Thanks for the reply.  I haven't handled very many of Flyer's Wide Gauge steamers so all I have to go on are the photos and descriptions in the Greenberg Guide.  I went back and took another look at my engine and the descriptions.  I think that I have it narrowed down to the #4694(c) engine and tender combo.

The engine is a 4692x with a 4693 Vanderbilt tender.  The (c) variation has the lighted firebox and a ringing bell although it does not have a swinging bell.

The engine also has cast steps painted gold and a brass feed water  header that were used on the brass piper version.

I suppose Flyer was up to their old tricks of using up the parts they had on hand.  

Could you check your son's engine to see what characteristics it has?

Thanks,

Enjoying the World's Greatest Hobby

Northwoods Flyer

 

 

I'd ask Rob English, he has quite a bit of wide gauge knowledge. That's an awesome loco and tender! My Dad's old 4692 doesn't have the ringing bell or firebox light. It also came with the 4671 tender too. I do remember a recent FB discussion that they only had the swinging bell one year though.

     Jon

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, March 21, 2021 9:42 AM

Catalog Covers and Backs

I have found that one of the most valuable tools for helping to build a collection is the original catalogs that American Flyer produced. The information may not always be the most accurate but the illustrations and set listings gave me something to go on when assembling sets.  These covers have been scattered throughout the thread however with the loss of many of the photos from the early days of the thread I thought I would re-post the covers and back pages all in one spot. The art work is the stuff that dreams are made of.  Some of my examples are reproductions.

1926

1927

1928

1929

1930

1931

1932

1933

1934

1935

1936

1937

(same art work as 1931)

 

1938

The beginning of the Gilbert era

1939

1940

1941

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Posted by friscosteam on Thursday, June 24, 2021 8:54 AM

Thanks Jon, this is most likely a 1933-1934 4694 combo (4692 loco/4693 tender) The bell ringer 4692 was only in the Century set in 1933, and in the Old ironsides and Iron Monarch set in 1934, the last year catalogued.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, June 27, 2021 1:43 PM

Jon contacted me privately and asked for a photo of the double header engines.

This is one of my favorite sets.

Enjoying the World's Greatest Hobby

Northwoods Flyer

PS  I even have a triple header  Wink

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Posted by JonEddy on Sunday, June 27, 2021 10:31 PM

Northwoods Flyer, 

   Thanks for posting the photos. I really think this is a cool set and I can't wait until I get mine cleaned up and on the track.

     Jon

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Posted by JonEddy on Monday, June 28, 2021 11:27 AM

Here is my engine and dummy unit cleaned up. I am waiting on a light ferrule for the dummy unit right now and also the 420's left linkage was damaged so I'm waiting on that too. Northwoods, does your 420 have enough power to pull the tripple header and three cars?

    Jon

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 1:11 PM

Jon,

The #420 and all of its cousins are powerful little machines.

The powered engine in my tripple header is able to pull the 2 dummies and their tenders as well as the cars in the 1939 Mountain Red Ball.

Enjoying the World's Greatest Hobby

Northwoods Flyer

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Monday, July 5, 2021 12:18 PM

I thought that I would mention that the most recent edition of the TCA Quarterly  (July 2021 - Vol. 67, No.3)

has a great 4 page article by John Cardwell on the Double Header Set.

 

Articles like this and the one by Rob English are good reasons to become a member of the TCA.

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Posted by mersenne6 on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 10:21 AM

Reposting - American Flyer 5 1/2 inch lithoed gondolas

  Since the pictures from the earlier years of this thread appear to be gone for good I thought I'd try, as time permits, to copy some of my earlier posts and add in the original pictures.

The 5 1/2 inch American Flyer gondolas were produced from 1914-1935.  The first version was just a simple gondola with plain red sides and no markings.  This style ran through 1916.  In 1917 things began to change first with a brown litho and yellow rivets and then with the style below - the same treatment as the first of the 6 1/2 inch cars.

 

 However, as with the 6 1/2 inch cars, things got interesting - litho treatments completely different from the 6 1/2 inch cars.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The LV came with the white litho seen here and also with litho with a very pink tinge.
 
 ...and as with the 6 1/2 inch cars, American Flyer made 5 1/2 inch cars for Nation Wide Lines in a couple of different colors.  I like the one below because it's just the EJ and E with a name substitution....sort of an early version of an overstamp but not as cluttered.
 
 
 
 What I find so interesting about these smaller gondolas is the emphasis on "Chicago centric" railroads - CM&St.P, EJ&E, and IC with Lehigh Valley tossed in almost as an afterthought.
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Posted by mersenne6 on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 10:37 AM

Reposting - 9 1/2 inch litho gondolas

  The big 9 1/2 inch litho gondolas of the American Flyer lineup were first offered in the 1925 catalog.  They were sold separately and they were also included in two sets - one in 1925 and one in 1926.  Their last year for sale was 1927.  In 1928 they, along with the rest of the lithoed 9 1/2 series, were replaced with enameled cars with brass plates.  Unlike the enameled series, Flyer never made a matching 9 1/2 inch litho caboose. It was indeed a case of "the little red- 6 1/2 inch - caboose behind (the large lithoed car) train."

   The four gondolas were

   Pennsylvania

 
  
 
Union Pacific
 
 
 
New York Central
 
 
 
and IC
 
Of the group, the rose colored IC is my favorite.
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Posted by mersenne6 on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 10:50 AM

Reposting - 9 1/2 inch litho freight cars - the rest of the story

   The first of the 9 1/2 cars was the flat car with lumber which was cataloged by itself in 1924.  The lumber load consists of separate pieces of varnished lumber resting on a felt pad and held in place with a series of clamps across the top.  The intact car is difficult to find but, probably because it isn't particularly eye catching, it doesn't command the price of the other cars in the series.

 
 
  Since I made this post way back when I have found a couple of other variations of the lumber car.  These two variations do not have a felt pad and the hold downs for the lumber are much more substantial.  In addition the lumber is cut to two lengths - one is the full length of the car (below) and the other is the same length as the lumber illustrated above.
 
 
 
The lithoed tank car, is just the long version of the American Flyer 6 1/2 tank car with a few additional markings.
 
6 ½ “ Tank Car
 
9 ½” Tank Car
 

  There are a couple of interesting variations of the litho tank car.  Again, in the earlier series of posts I made separate reference to these two.  By way of condensation I'm including both of these with this reposting

Tank Car with black litho over printing

  If you examine the sides of this car in reflected light you can see where the underlying litho has pits from some kind of misprinting.  My guess is that rather than scrap the lithoed sheet Flyer just overprinted the pitted area in black.

Tool Test Tank Car

Close up detail of tool test car

 

Modern example (New Marx) of a tool test car for comparison

  Before starting production it is a common practice to make test runs using scrap material to help identify any problems in tool setup.  The punched holes in the Flyer tank car match the hole alignment for the tabs for nameplates and ladder attachments for the first series of enameled 9 1/2" tank cars Flyer offered for sale.

The boxcars (actually 3 boxcars and a reefer) are

 B&O

 
Great Northern
 
Nickel Plate
 
and the American Refrigerator Transit Co. reefer
 

The first time I saw the ART I thought it was a rather odd looking car, particularly with the serial number sitting on the left side all by itself and from time to time I would look at this picture and wonder what possessed American Flyer to come up with that particular litho treatment.

  A toy that is going to stand in for a representation of the real thing must have some attributes of the real thing if it is to be successful.  It turns out that of the four 9 1/2 inch boxcars/reefers the ART is a VERY close representation of the actual car. 

  The ART reefer below is one of the series of Atlas O gauge wood side reefers based on the very thorough research/documentation of the late Bob Wagner.  As you can see Flyer put the car serial number in large numbers on the left hand side because that is the way it was done on the real thing.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 1:56 PM

I have begun the task of trying to restore the missing photos from the thread from my photo archive.  This will be no small task, but what else do I have to do in my retirement.  Wink Page 1 is done, only about  65 pages more to do.

As you can see mersenne 6 is working on reposting his missing entries and photos as current postings. Its great to review the information that he has posted. Thanks mersenne!  Lets meet for a libation when we get the job done. 

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Posted by mersenne6 on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 1:28 PM

  It turns out I can edit my old posts so rather than continuing with re-posting I will just go back and repair the older posts.  In those cases where additional information has been acquired since the time of the original post I'll make it a point to update the text as well.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Thursday, July 15, 2021 4:41 PM

Just a quick update:

Mersenne and I have been working away at restoring the missing photos from the early days of the thread.  I have been restoring the photos to my postings chronologically, while mersenne has been restoring his postings topically.  I have to say that it is great to see his postings in their entirety. I have learned an incredible amount from his research and documentation of variations.  I have my photos restored through page 3.  In the early days I had a second hand digital camera and I had little experience with editing. I can see that I will be taking new and hopefully better photos to replace some of the poor ones.

We hope that you will enjoy revisiting the early pages of the thread.

Enjoying the World's Greatest Hobby

Northwoods Flyer

Here is one of the first photos that I took and posted to Shutterfly

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Posted by mersenne6 on Monday, July 19, 2021 5:39 PM

With the exception of two small posts (I can't find the pictures so I'll have to take them again) I've restored the pictures to all of my earlier posts.  The bulk of these posts are between pages 3 and 25 of this thread.  I hope these restored posts will be of interest to anyone curious about pre-war American Flyer trains.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, August 8, 2021 12:10 PM

1206/1207  Observation

If you are a collector of American Flyer Prewar trains you know that occasionally you will run across a factory error.  I thought this one was interesting.

Someone wasn't paying attention to what was in their supply bin.

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Posted by AF53 on Saturday, August 21, 2021 8:13 AM

That's awesome!

 

Now you're going to make me look a lot closer from now on!!!!

Ray

Bayville, NJ

 

Life is what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans - John Lennon

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, August 22, 2021 8:36 AM

Hi Ray,

Its nice to hear from you again.

If you are going to start looking for some of these factory oddities you might want to start with the 4 wheel orange 6 1/2" passenger cars. These are the Paul Revere/Lexington cars.  Apparently these cars appear so frequently that they are documented in the Greenberg Guide. 

There is the Baggage Car

There isn't too much that is odd here except that the baggage doors are two different shades of orange.

Then we have the passenger car with Paul Revere on one side 

and Lexington on the other.

And the observation with Lexington on one side

and Paul Revere on the other.

It didn't take too long to find an entire passenger consist of cars with Lexington on one side

and Paul Revere on the other.

 American Flyer Prewar is always presenting something unique to look for.  As Lou Palumbo of the Underground Railroad says "Keep searchin'"

Enjoying the World's Greatest Hobby

Northwoods Flyer

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Tuesday, September 7, 2021 12:24 PM

Oppps!

These should have been posted in the Tinplate Heritage thread.  Sorry for the duplication of information.

Here is a photo of very recent production by a cottage industry.  The goal was to produce new tinplate buildings.

 

 

There are a number of lesser known manufacturers that produced accessories for trains over the years.  One of those companies was the Atlas Tool Company.

I recently purchased this station.

It was labeled as an American Flyer station, which it isn't. It is lighted, made of metal and painted with enamel, and it has plastic windows and doors.  It does bare a resemblence to the Flyer station but it is clearly an Atlas Tool Co product when compared to the houses that I have that are made by Atlas.

None of the pieces are marked with an Atlas Tool Co. identifier, but having the original boxes makes their origin clear. Notice where the Atlas Tool Co. was located.

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Northwoods Flyer

The Northwoods Flyer Collection

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American Flyer Trains

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 8:56 AM

Type XXII Sheet Metal Steam Engine

Mersenne6 pointed the engine out to me some time ago on ebay. I recently found the appropriate matching tender.  It is an uncataloged electric steam locomotove from the mid 1930's according to the Greenberg Guide. It is described as a simple 0-4-0 sheetmetal locomotive with stamped steel drivers.

It has PAT. PENDING stamped under the cab windows and an AMERICAN FLYER decal below on the frame.

Thanks for the heads up Mersenne6.  I am still looking for the appropriate cars.

Enjoying the World's Greatest Hobby

Northwoods Flyer

The Northwoods Flyer Collection

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American Flyer Trains

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