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Pre War American Flyer Pictures - An Invitation

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 12:19 AM

Let me return to Flyer Tank Cars for a moment.

Here are some examples of the 9 1/2" enameled tank cars.  They were cataloged from 1928-1939. This car constitutes a small collection in its own right.  By my count in the Greenberg book there are at least 20 variations. These variations occur with changes in the color of the tank, the color of the frame and the difference in trucks.

 
 

These three cars all have the same frames and trucks (known as type VIII).  The third one has been altered by a previous owner who must have taken a tin snips to the truck to give it the look of a step in the middle of the truck.

 

This version is from 1938 which you can tell by the trucks and more obviously by the sheet metal knuckle "Curly Q" coupler.  This one is not listed in the Greenberg Guide, so I guess this makes 21 variations.

 

 
This is the 410 cataloged in 1939 and 1940 with its original box.  The car should be equiped with Flyer's link and pin couplers.  This car is original to my family.  My father bought conversion kits sold by Gilbert to change the link and pin couplers to knuckle couplers.  He managed to do the conversion on several of the cars. At some point I plan to change them back to the original link and pin.

If anyone has other examples of these cars please post them.

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Posted by Sturgeon-Phish on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 7:07 AM
 Northwoods Flyer wrote:

Jim

Congratulations on the new aquisition. Unfortunately my Trainorama did not come with the instruction sheets.  I have had mine together, and managed to do it just by matching the numbered and lettered tabs and slots to each other. I did see a Trainorama on ebay a short time ago that did include the instruction sheets and the seller claimed that it have never been assembled.  Amazingly that one sold for close to $325.00. 

Take some pictures when you do get yours assembled, and you will be amazed how nicely it compliments PreWar Flyer items   Wink [;)]

Northwoods Flyer

Yes I saw that auction and felt pleased I was able to get mine for under $200.  It is in very good condition and many of the pieces have not been used so they are like new.  When I get a few days off I plan on putting it together and for now put it on the layout on a shelf extension in the back.  This will less evasive than taking up existing track and fixtures.

Thanks,

Jim

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Posted by DMUinCT on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 8:59 AM

  Yes Northwoods, the "Comet" was real. 

Built by Goodyear in the mid 30s for The New Haven Railroad, it was constructed like an airplane and wind-tunnel tested.  (New Haven, Gilbert?)

    Photos NHRHTA

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Posted by Mike DeHart on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 4:04 PM

Hi, all.  I am a new guy here having just discovered this place.  These pictures are wonderful considering my Dad and I have been trying to fix my Mom's AF-O loco literally for as long as I can remember.  Problem is, I have never been able to identify the loco to be able to identify proper parts.  Here's my story:

 Mom got this set when she was a small kid, we figure around '36 to '39.  (She was born in '32.)  She wanted a toy train but her parents didn't have the money for one, and "girls didn't get trains."  Her uncle was an electrician and had a small electrical supply store.  He got her a train set for Christmas, making her as happy as she could be.  (We don't know if it was a catalogue set or maybe some off set or salesman sample of some kind.)  Fast forward to the early 70's: Dad collects Lionel, and he, I, and my older brother fix many of them.  However, Mom's engine has a bad case of explodo-wheel on the main drivers.  Dad scours train shows, can't find wheels.  I take up the cause in the early 90's and I can't find wheels.  A collective 40 year search has turned up nothing, despite searches, catalogs, and oodles of emails and 'net searches.  The engine has no ID number that I can find.  I'll describe what I know.

Engine is a tinplate O-gauge 2-4-2, black with copper piping and trim.  Tender is a small square type.  The drivers are 12 open spoke, black, die cast, with no steel tires.  All 4 are different.  The rear pair, one geared and one plain, have a raised post to attach drive rods and valve rod cranks.  The post is tapped and the very top of it is squared to engage the crank.  The front pair, again one geared and one plain, have no boss as no rods connect to them.  The motor has 2 pickup rollers and both axles are driven.  The engine wheels and tender (not 100% certain on the tender) look to be similar to the pic of engine #614 posted by mersenne6 on 2-15-08, 3:09AM on page 5.  The side rods look to be like those of loco 4603 (grey loco near bottom) posted by Northwoods Flyer on 2-13-08, 4:11PM on page 5.  Amazingly, the passenger set in the catalog page posted by Northwoods Flyer on 2-15-08, 4:47AM which shows a "Lone Scout Passenger Set" looks to be almost exactly Mom's set, except for the tank type tender!  That certainly looks like her engine and car set!

 Can somebody please help me figure out what I have and what I need to get it running again?  I tried to buy a similar engines but they always had the wrong motor and wheels.  I am certainly willing to buy a parts engine and swap motors if the wheels are good.  I thought it was a Type-XX, but I just learned that a Type-XX has closed wheels, not open spokes, so I am back to square one again.  I have even threatened a few times to cut a mold and try to cast my own darned wheels.  Mom isn't getting any younger and I would very much like to present her with HER train as she received it, on track and running, before the chance is lost forever.  I have always sensed that she didn't take more of a liking to Dad's collection because hers was broken and she felt a little put out by that.  Thanks for any help you can offer.

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Posted by mersenne6 on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 7:03 PM

 

Mike, 

The #614 had a number of different tenders and came with different connecting rod arrangements.  One of the variations is that shown in the catalog that Northwoods posted earlier. The wheels you describe are those of the #614 in the picture on page 5 of this thread...and now the bad news - no one makes these wheels for running.  Trickel catalogs these wheels but, as far as I know, they are cosmetic only.

  Description

  Catalog ID AO21     1 1/8" Dia. 12 spokes painted black for short wheel base motors used in many small sheet metal, cast iron, and tin litho streamliners.

                                    A - Front, with gear, no crank

                                    B - Rear, with gear, and crank

                                    C - Front without gear, and crank

                                    D - Rear, without gear and crank

    The address given in the catalog (and the one I used to order some parts last year) is

                        Richard's Prewar Train Parts

                        Retail Sales and Production

                        44 Sunset Drive

                        Paoli, Pa 19301

  On that same line, are you sure the gear connecting the motor and the wheels isn't diecast also?  If so, is it crumbling too?

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 7:04 AM
 DMUinCT wrote:

  Yes Northwoods, the "Comet" was real. 

Built by Goodyear in the mid 30s for The New Haven Railroad, it was constructed like an airplane and wind-tunnel tested.  (New Haven, Gilbert?)

    Photos NHRHTA

 

DMUinCT,

Sign - Welcome [#welcome]  to the thread,

Thanks for posting the pictures of the prototype of the Comet.  I appreciate seeing what the "real thing" looked like.  I assume that you are a member of the Historical Society.  Do any parts of the Comet still exist?  For those of us who are fans of the Milwaukee Road here in the midwest all we have are pictures of the motive power for the Hiawatha, although passenger cars do exist, and fans of the CB&Q and The Zephyer can see that beauty in Chicago.

Production of the Comet also points out how American Flyer stayed on the cutting edge of marketing, trying to be current and attract consumers in by making items that were in the news and a part of everyday life.

Thanks Again,

Northwoods Flyer (Virgina?)

 

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Posted by Mike DeHart on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 7:06 AM
Thank you for the prompt reply.  I am not surprised that these particular wheels are not made at all, considering how long I have been looking for them.  I'll look in to the Trickel wheels, but if they don't run I would not be interested.  The idler gear between the wheels and the motor spur could be die cast.  I think it has a patent number stamped or cast into the face of it.  It is in good condition as I recall.  Looks like I need to find a matching motor with good wheels, or I am back to having to cut my own mold and try to cast the wheels myself.  I could maybe pull that off, though I've never done anything quite like it before.  Seems like really doing it the hard way.
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Posted by mersenne6 on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 8:20 AM

 

  Mike,

    Hunting for intact wheels is going to be a real snark hunt. It wouldn't be a case of finding a motor with intact wheels it would be a case of finding multiple motors with at least one intact wheel which you could salvage.  You mentioned cutting your own mold - if you have that capability there is an alternative.  Several years ago a friend of mine purchased a set of the cosmetic wheels, carefully machined off the tire portion, and used what was left to make patterns for brass castings for the centers.  He machined the centers and then turned separate tire rims and mounted them in the traditional manner (heat the rim, drop it over the center, let cool). His little #614 ran like a swiss watch.

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Posted by DMUinCT on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 9:29 AM

  Yes Northwoods, I am a member of the "New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association"  www.nhrhta.org .   They publish a very fine (collectible) magazine 4 times a year, the "Shoreliner". In a 1982 issue (Vol.13 issue 1) it had the complete story of the building, running and scraping of the "Comet".   Another place to look for New Haven Railroad information is the University of Connecticut Thomas Dodd Research Center.  http://railroads.uconn.edu/locomotives/  

   The all Aluminum "Comet" was built in 1935 by the Goodyear Zeppelin Company in Akron, Ohio.  Designed to run between Boston and Providence, covering the 44 miles in 44 minutes, a cruise speed of 100 mph, it made 6 round trips a day, 6 days a week. The "Comet" was a 3 car train, a Power Unit/48 seat coach on the east end named "Boston", another Power Unit/48 seat coach on the west end named "Providence", and a 64 seat center coach.  As World War II passenger traffic increased, she proved to have too few seats and was removed from Main Line Service in 1943.  She spent her last 9 years on Branch Line and Commuter Service.  Her precious Aluminum was too valuable during the Korean War, the "Comet" was scraped in July 1952 replaced by Budd RDC trains.   As a child, I rode the "Comet" many times as my mother would make a quick shopping trip to Boston.  ($1.75 round trip, children half fare)

P.S. -- The Boston and Maine "Flying Yankee" (built by BUDD, a twin to the Zepher) is being restored to operating condition with funding by the State of New Hampshire. Target to enter Tourist Service is 2010.   www.flyingyankee.com 

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 12:07 PM

Mike DeHart,

Welcome, Welcome to the thread. I hope we are providing some helpful information. I wonder if you would consider purchasing a similar Type XX engine to use until you can get your mom's original piece up and running.  One can never have too many trains you know.  Smile

Here is another aspect of Flyer production and its association with the Comet.  The A.C. Gilbert company also produced a train called the Comet in S gauge. It was cataloged from 1953-1956, and while it looks nothing like the real comet it is a streamliner (diesel however) and maintains the blue and silver colors of the PreWar Comet.  It came in a 4 unit set with the PA, combine, vista dome and observation.

I thought Sturgeon would appreciate these photos, and maybe one of these days we can start a thread for pictures of Gilbert S-gauge items.

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Posted by Mike DeHart on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 4:12 PM
Thanks for the hospitality.  This single thread has provided more real answers than I have been able to find to date.  You have helped more than you can realize.  (Not the first time I have found excellent tutoring on a message board.)  The bit about machining new wheels from the dress wheels sounds interesting, but the wheels I need do not have steel tires on them.  They are plain die cast.  I might be able to cut a mold.  I am a mechanical engineer with a strange bend toward hands-on work.  (Most engineers I know don't like to get dirt under their nails, but I build cars for fun in the summer, trains and clocks in winter.)  I can certainly blueprint the four wheels, as I have just enough intact to get the critical dimensions.  I also do some hobby machine shop work and have a small lathe and mill in my basement.  I have never made anything as detailed as a geared wheel, but I have made small precision bushings to fix some cuckoo clocks, so I'm game to try.  I would have to grind some specific tool bits- difficult but not impossible.  Maybe I could convince Bowser or MEW to tool up these wheels, rather than trying to literally "reinvent the wheel."  I can't possibly be the only person who would like a set.
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Posted by mersenne6 on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 5:22 PM

 

  Mike,

   I realize the wheels are a single piece.  I was just describing how one of my friends got around the problem.  When he blackened the brass wheel centers they were a visually perfect match for the originals.  He felt that if he made the entire wheel out of brass the wear on the softer brass would have probably worn them out in fairly short order.  As for others wanting the wheels - you bet.  The problem is that there aren't nearly as many of us desiring these wheels as their there are those desiring the Lionel counterparts. 

  Years ago there was a supplier of prewar Flyer parts who did make high pressure diecast wheels for some of the Flyer engines (but not this one).  I purchased the wheels I needed as did others but our purchases weren't even close to being sufficient. It was my understanding that he didn't even break even on his expenses.

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Posted by Jumijo on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 6:06 PM

Boy, I am really enjoying this thread! I hope to pick up some pre war AF this year. A steamer to start off.

Jim 

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Posted by prewardude on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 11:28 PM
 Jumijo wrote:

Boy, I am really enjoying this thread!...

Sign - Ditto [#ditto]

This is probably the best prewar thread we've ever had over here. Smile [:)]

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Posted by RockIsland52 on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 11:41 PM

As a strictly postwar guy who reads this thread regularly, one thing that strikes me is that there is very little (or any?) cosmetic restoration among all the prewar AF pictures.  No?

Jack 

IF IT WON'T COME LOOSE BY TAPPING ON IT, DON'T TRY TO FORCE IT. USE A BIGGER HAMMER.

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Posted by mersenne6 on Thursday, February 28, 2008 7:03 AM

 

   Cosmetic restoration?  Do you mean repaints?  No, no repaints.  Everything I've photographed has been original condition.  In the case of litho - repainting would be a real challenge.  I understand there are a handful of people who will do such work and for something extremely rare I suppose it might be worthwhile but the only work of that type I've ever seen was on a single piece of Marklin litho from the pre WWI period and the asking price for the finished piece was more than my annual train budget for the next 4 years. The fact is that it takes a lot of abuse to really chew up litho.  The enamel on the roof and base will scratch/peel/flake long before the litho will go.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Thursday, February 28, 2008 7:50 AM

Thank you for all the kind comments about the thread.  I started it because I enjoy American Flyer trains, and I look for any opportunity to read about them or see examples.  In my opinion part of the enjoyment of collecting anything is to be able to share the collection, the information about the items, and the stories of how I aquired them. Besides, I consider it a form of therapy. I'm glad that others are enjoying it too, and I appreciate all of the contributions and questions that folks are posting.  I have come to appeciate that everyone has their own approach to collecting and standards that that they go by. Its nice to know that others are out there pursuing their collection.  mersenne6 has been a valuable help in providing pictures of items that I have only read about. One day I think I want to own his picture collection. Wink 

Jack,

As far as restorations, I have resisted adding any of them to my collection, although there are a few items that have had roofs restored.  Repainting is much easier to do on the enameled items than on some of the others.  Rust is a devestating factor and while I have a few basket cases, I usually have them only for parts. I would qualify most of my collection as operator quality or a bit  better. As others have said, they are toys and had a very important part to play in the life of a child at some time.  I like to think that my collection is preserving a part of history, and I am only a steward of them for right now.

A day when I can play with trains or engage in my hobby, or communicate with others who share the interest is a very good day. 

I'll keep posting as long as folks continue to be interested and want to participate.  I have plenty of items to go in PreWar, and then we can start in S gauge.  Smile

Sorry,  I have no idea what I posted here originally.

 

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Posted by Sturgeon-Phish on Thursday, February 28, 2008 4:09 PM
 Northwoods Flyer wrote:

I'll keep posting as long as folks continue to be interested and want to participate.  I have plenty of items to go in PreWar, and then we can start in S gauge.  Smile [:)]

 

Nothwoods Flyer

 

I have really enjoyed looking at the prewar AF, and looking forward to the "rest of the story".  I will have a few pics to contribute, especially if I can get my @##$% camera working. Here is a teaser

Jim

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Posted by mersenne6 on Thursday, February 28, 2008 8:07 PM

 

  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.

  I'm glad a number of you are enjoying this thread that Northwoods started.  I also hope you are saving the text and pictures in this thread to you own computers for future reference.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Friday, February 29, 2008 10:14 AM

Sturgeon-Phish
Northwoods Flyer

I have really enjoyed looking at the prewar AF, and looking forward to the "rest of the story".  I will have a few pics to contribute, especially if I can get my @##$%  (Surprise oohhh my!)   camera working. Here is a teaser

Jim

Jim,

The Miner's Work Train set (No. 5300), as you already know, was cataloged by Flyer in 1953 and 1954 and didn't change at all between the two years.  It really is a fun little set. The handcar all by itself is a lot of fun to watch.  Those two guys pumping like crazy to fly around the track always makes me smile.  On the ocassions that I have run the hand car at shows or times I have displayed the trains for local historical societies it has always been a real crowd pleaser.  I usually run it in front of a steamer and the kids just love watching the engine overtaking the handcar.  It reminds me of some old movie with Abbott and Costello.

Here are some pictures of the page from the 1953 catalog

 

Nice tease so far.  Keep those pictures coming.

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Posted by Sturgeon-Phish on Friday, February 29, 2008 1:22 PM

I aggree, the handcar is fun to watch.  I have a reversing hand car on the back of the layout that goes back and forth and when I set up our layout at shows, the hand car is a crowd pleaser.  The reversing 742 is on the left.

Jim

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Saturday, March 1, 2008 12:06 AM

 3207

Gondolas, Sand Cars and Coal Cars

 Flyer used several terms to refer to their gondola cars over the years.  They used the term "coal car" in some of their earliest catalogs.  Through the years they used the terms "gondola" and "sand car" interchangeably.  mersenne6 has posted pictures of the lithographed versions of the 9 1/2" sand cars.  Flyer produced enameled versions of the 9 1/2 inch cars from 1928 to 1938.  A few of the variations are pictured here.  All of them are numbered 3207.

This is the earliest version that I have.  It is has two brass plates on each side, one reading "American Flyer Lines", and the other "3207".  Notice that the steps at the ends of the car are long, and are actually spot welded to the frame.  These trucks are known as type VII

 

 The next version has two "American Flyer Lines" decals per side and the steps are a part of the frame of the car.  This is sometimes refered to as the new style of frame.  The trucks are known as Type VIII.

This verison is from 1938.  It also has two "American Flyer Lines" decals per side. The style of truck is known as XII.  The trucks and the sheet metal knuckle coupler known as the "Curly Q" coupler are the identifying marks for production from this year.

 

 

 

The 407 as cataloged in 1939.  It has the same style frame with steps and the same style truck as the 1938 version but it is equiped with Gilbert's link and pin coupler.  I was sure that I had this variation and when I went to look for it I discovered that I did not own it after all.  So now I have discovered one more item to put on my "to get" list.
 
Edit:  By now - 13 years later - I am sure I must have a 407.  I will evenutally add the photo.

Here are the versions that I have, illustrating the difference in trucks, and the variations in colors of green that were used.

Notice the middle and closest cars each have decals but there are two styles of decal used.  Just one more detail that adds some variety.

The vast majority of the 3207s are some shade of green.  There is an orange variation that is very difficult to find.  I have heard of other variations as well including a grey variation, but I have not seen them.  One of the things that I have noticed is that it is difficult to find one of these cars in really excellent condition.  I think it is because it has so much play value, hauling around stones, and building blocks or Tinker Toys, or scrap metal, or Erector set parts, and other items.  It really is the work horse of the freight cars.  When I have sand cars running on display they always carry candy.

If there are other examples available to see please post them.

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Posted by mersenne6 on Saturday, March 1, 2008 11:59 AM

 

  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 6 1/2 tank car shown previously with a few additional identification markings.

 6 1/2" tank car

 

9 1/2" tank car

 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 Sunday, March 2, 2008 1:11 AM

Wide Gauge Tank Cars

Flyer first cataloged the 4010 tank car for their Wide Gauge line in 1928.  They appeared in the catalog until the Wide Gauge line was discontinued in 1936.  Greenberg lists a total of 9 variations during those years including the presence or abscence of ladders, the color and number of bands holding the tank to the frame, and the variety of brass plates attached to the tank.  I only have one example of the Wide Gauge tank car.  There is one difficult to find variation and that is a car with a dark blue tank, the same color as the bands on my tank car.

A few detail pictures:

 

I posted pictures of my 6 1/2 and 9 1/2 inch cars earlier.

Here are some pictures for comparison.

 

It has been interesting to see how Flyer used similar colors, and shapes in both the Wide Gauge and Narrow Gauge (O gauge) lines.  They did the same thing later under Gilbert ownership when they developed an HO line.  The cars were just smaller versions of the S gauge trains.

Northwoods Flyer

 

 

 

 

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Posted by 37fleetwood on Sunday, March 2, 2008 3:21 AM

Ok, not too informational but I had a train day with the nephew and broke out my Flyer stuff. it ran great and was received with excitement. so much for realism being important with kids! here are a few photos:

 

 

thanx for the great post it has been wonderful!

Scott 

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Posted by mersenne6 on Sunday, March 2, 2008 6:57 PM

 

   Dual train sets - clockwork

   Updated July 2021

    Over the years the various toy train manufacturers offered high end sets which included more than one train.  One of the earliest entries in this category was Flyer's set M20.  I don't know the first year that Flyer offered the set but this catalog cut is from 1914 and indicates the set sold for $7.00 that year.

 

Catalog cut from 1916

The set consisted of a passenger train and a freight train.  The engines and cars changed over the years the set was offered.  In addition to the two trains the set has a very interesting track plan.  It consists of an inner and an outer loop connected by two manually operated crossovers or "Double Track Switches" as the catalog termed them.  The inner and outer loops had curved track of different radii.  The curved track of the inner loop makes a complete circle in six segments whereas the outer loop curves need 8 for a complete circle.  Included in the track is an "automatic brake section" which, according to the catalog "can be used with interesting results where our large locomotive is part of the equipment." 

The Set

 

...and the trains

  In the time since I made this post (2008) I have learned a few things.  First - the gondola is too late with respect to manufacture to have been original with this set. The acutal gondola should be brown with just car numbers for identification - no other lithography.

  Second - The two engines in this set happen to be the two lesser engines featured in the sequential Flyer ads at the beginning of this post.  Based on the catalog cuts one of the engines should have been an early version of #15.  I suppose someone could have substituted one or the other of the engines in this set for a missing #15 or this could be a case of an error during set assembly.  Either way I don't have an answer. 

  So, in the interests of accuracy I will state all of the cars save the gondola are correct for this set as is all of the track.  Both engines are correct for the set but based on the ads they shouldn't be in the same set together.

 

 
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Posted by billbarman on Monday, March 3, 2008 3:02 PM
Does anyone have pictures or just know what American flyer's 1st set was? And by the way, I checked the engines and cars I was trying to identify, they had no numbers. Also the tanker in tthe set looks exactly like the smalest one out of the group that Northwoodsflyer posted.

"No childhood should be without a train!"

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Posted by mersenne6 on Monday, March 3, 2008 5:57 PM

 

  The first American Flyer trains were manufactured by Edmonds-Metzel Mfr. Co. in Chicago in 1907.  The first engine and tender combination looks like the bottom engine in the picture of the dual train set.  The engine in the set picture is the second version of that engine.  The first version has 4 thin boiler bands instead of the two broad ones, it has a handrail along the boiler, the overhang of the back of the cab roof is shorter and the connecting rods are a two piece hinged affair instead of the single piece metal stamping. It was manufactured in its first form from 1907-1910.  The second version was made from 1911-1914, and the third, which looks like the second except it has the addition of three rows of rivets around the boiler. The first cars were 4 1/2 inch, 3 window passenger cars with the lettering "Pullman" above the windows and the lettering "Chicago" below them.  The windows were either punched or unpunched.  Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of these cars.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Monday, March 3, 2008 10:57 PM

Suburban Station

Flyer cataloged two different Suburban stations.  The #93 was cataloged from 1928-1931. The #234 was cataloged from 1933-1938.

From descriptions that I have read I believe that this is the #93. It is unlighted.

 

 

A version with a red roof and this lithography appeared as one of the variations of the #234

The following are different variations of the #234

 

And a view of all the variations I have at this point.

The last two years (1937-1938) that it was cataloged the Suburban station appeared only in the #210 Equipment set. which included the Two arm semaphore, Banjo Signal, Danger Signal and Crossing Gate.

NorthWoods Flyer

 

 

 

The Northwoods Flyer Collection

of

American Flyer Trains

"The Toy For the Boy"

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Posted by mersenne6 on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 7:01 PM

 

 Electrifying Steam 

Electricity finally came to O gauge American Flyer rails in 1918.  Ives had gone the third rail route in 1910 and Lionel had followed with O gauge in 1915.  The first Flyer electrically powered steam locomotives used the shell of the large #15 clockwork engine.  This style of engine lasted through 1924.  From 1924 to 1930 electrified steam disappeared from Flyer rails and all of their electric trains were pulled by electric outline locomotives.

  According to the Greenberg guide the choice of an electrically powered steam outline engine was a good business move because there was less competition.  Lionel didn't offer one and because of World War I none of the German firms who had been providing steam outline electric trains were exporting trains to the U.S. As for price- the difference between the clockwork and the electric steam engines was substantial.  The 1922 catalog indicates that, for the engine only, the clockwork #15 was $2.25 whereas the electric version (without headlight) was $4.00.  The steam engine with a working headlight was $4.50.

  Greenberg indicates there is some doubt concerning the actual catalog number for these first engines.  The guide indicates the engine without the headlight is #1094 and the engine with a working "headlight" is #1216.

 The treatment of the working headlight is definitely unique to American Flyer.  The headlight was referred to as a "protected headlight" ...and it certainly was. They took the clockwork boiler casting and left the cast iron representation of a headlight mounted on the top of the boiler.  Then they hollowed out the boiler front and installed a stamped steel reflector and a bulb that occupied the entire boiler front area. 

 

 

 The engines came in a number of different sets which varied in terms of number and types of cars. The #1216 below heads up a 4 car passenger set.  This set was new in the box when I saw it and it has a feature that may be deliberate or it may just have been the result of the desires of the individual who purchased it.

 

  If you look at the picture of the box cover of this set

 

  you will notice that the baggage car in the consist has a different color.  In the late 19th century it was common for the real railroads to paint some of their head end express baggage cars in colors that contrasted with the rest of the train.  In the case of the box art the different color is used to frame part of the American Flyer ad but I can't help but wonder if the different color of the baggage car in the consist above is an attempt, either on the part of Flyer or on the part of the original purchaser, to recreate, in toy train form, a passenger consist that resembled trains that had been running some 20 to 30 years earlier.

 

The set below, with 4 wheeled passenger cars, is headed by #1094.

 

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