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Pre War American Flyer Pictures - An Invitation

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Monday, April 7, 2008 9:11 PM
 spankybird wrote:

Here a great find that has been donated to The Western Reserve Model Railroad Museum. It is a Diecast Clock work engine.

We even have the track!

 

Hi Spankybird,

Thanks for posting the pictures of a great American Flyer donation to your museum.  I am not very familiar with the engines from this era, but let me give it a shot as to what it might be.  Your engine is a clockwork, which I have not been able to find.  The boiler casting looks like an electric engine boiler casting used in 1932-1934 known as the 915.  It was part of the Flyer lower priced Champion Line.

The tender looks like a #119 Type III tender.  Does it have the number 119 on the back?  If it has a hollow frame, it carred a battery to light the headlight in the engine.  The tender was used from 1930 to 1932. 

I am not entirely sure of the vintage of the cars but both versions are mentioned in the Schuweiler book, and I would guess they are circa 1927 or later.

I went to my catalogs and had the typical experience of becoming more confused, trying to find illustrations to match actual pieces.

These pictures are from the 1931 catalog, showing mechanical sets.

This illustration shows two of your cars, the baggage and the coach, the engine is similar but not quite right, the tender in the catalog looks to have a light on it. And look at all the fun accessories that came with the set.

This set shows a similar configuration of engine, tender(this time with no light) and two cars, but not the right color livery.

So, its American Flyer and its old.  How's that for a specific identification!

That is the best I can do, maybe mersenne6 will have some additional information or ideas.

Thanks again for posting.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Monday, April 7, 2008 9:39 PM
 x2000 wrote:

Hi Everyone,

 My first electric train was an American Flyer 3-rail set given to me when I was 4 years old.  I can't recall the numbers but it had a die-cast Atlantic with metal tender.  There was a plug-in tether connecting the engine and tender.  The cars included a white box car, a flat car with logs wrapped onto the body, and a caboose.  All of the cars were metal with link couplers.  Over the years, I have casually looked for this set at train shows but have never seen one.

It was an entry level set with no features other than a headlight, but I sometimes think it would be fun to own it again!  The train ran well with my Lionels.  It was probably among the last of the pre-war sets before Gilbert introduced 2 rail track.

Any information about the numbers of the rolling stock and where a set might be had would be appreciated.

Thanks, 

X2000

 

 

 

X2000,

Sign - Welcome [#welcome]

and welcome to the thread.

I've done a little research and this is what I have come up with on the equipment that you remember.  During the prewar era Flyer marketed new styles of O gauge trains from 1938, when Gilbert took over the company from Coleman, until 1942. During that time they marketed three Atlantics.  I assume you are thinking of the engine with the 4-4-2 wheel arrangement.

In 1940 there was the 545 with a 421 tender, and the 553 which is a gunmetal grey Baltimore and Ohio streamlined bullet.  You didn't mention remembering that the engine was streamlined so I am assuming it isn't that one.

In 1941 they marketed the 565.  It had a tender that was lettered for the Reading and it had a chugger in the tender(some versions didn't have the chugger).  It would have had the wire tether between the engine and the tender as you remember, where the 1940 engines would not have had that feature.  I think you will find that the engine you remember was the 565.  I don't have the 1941 catalog or I would post a picture for you.

The cars that you remember are the

478 box car, it is white and would have had a red roof and doors

482 log car

484 caboose

I don't own examples of these cars yet or I would post some pictures. Perhaps someone else does and will post the pictures.

If you check on eBay these cars show up quite frequently, sometimes you can even get them in their original boxes. In fact there is a set similar to this on eBay right now.

I hope this helps.  Every boy should have the train from his youth.  Good hunting.

Northwoods Flyer

 

 

 

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Posted by spankybird on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 6:46 AM
Thanks Northwoods. that was a great help!

I am a person with a very active inner child. This is why my wife loves me so. Willoughby, Ohio - the home of the CP & E RR. OTTS Founder www.spankybird.shutterfly.com 

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Posted by RockIsland52 on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 8:49 PM

This thread never gets old.  Thanks spankybird for the photos.  And kudos again to Northwoods and mersenne for the continuing blast from the past.... pictures, description, and history irreplaceable.

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 Tuesday, April 8, 2008 9:11 PM

 

  Spankybird,

    The engine is a type XVII (Greenberg classification).  It did not appear in any Flyer catalog (wholesale or retail)  it is similar to the Champion casting (see the #915 in the above post on the last (cast) iron horse).  The differences are as follows:

 Windup has full air pump on left side and short and long air tank on right.

 The electic version has a socket for a light bulb in the boiler front; the windup has solid front with a raised button in the center.

  The electric version has a solid pilot with steps from running board to pilot deck; the windup has a more V shaped pilot with open slots in the pilot and reinforcing ribs from pilot deck to running board.

  Based on your pictures I'd say this is your machine - no Flyer number known - construction early 1930's.

   Northwoods, I'm sorry I haven't posted anything recently. I've been out of action for awhile (nothing serious). I'll try to see if I can get back to holding up my end of the picture offerings this weekend.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 9:27 PM

mersenne6,

 I had a feeling that you would be able to identify spankybird's iron horse.  That era is still a bit unfamiliar to me. We have all missed your expertise.  I'm glad your abscence was nothing serious, and its good to have you back.

Now who has the next mystery equipment?

American

Flyer

Trains

Priceless

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Posted by x2000 on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 8:26 AM

Thnks very much for the information on my dimly remembered AF set.  The engine was a non-streamlined 4-4-2 and had neither smoke nor choo-choo, but did have the plug-in tether from the engine to the tender.

 X2000

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Saturday, April 12, 2008 4:09 PM

Steeple Cab Additions

I recently added another Steeple cab to the collection, thanks to eBay. I now have a 1270 to join the other examples. I have edited the information back on page 9 of this thread to include this engine with some additonal information, and some additional pictures.

1270

Cataloged in 1927

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Posted by mersenne6 on Sunday, April 13, 2008 7:33 PM

 

  Sheet metal steam engines.

    In 1932 Flyer introduced electric steam engines with sheet metal and high pressure diecast superstructures.  The first sheet metal engine was Champion Type XVIII (Greenberg).

It was illustrated in the 1932 catalog heading up set #941T - the Dictator. 

The engine was offered in an 0-4-0 wheel arrangement as well as an uncataloged 2-4-2 wheel arrangement.

 In 1933 Flyer offered No. 614 which was part of the 617 engine/tender combination (Greenberg Type XIX).

 

  It was offered again in 1934 and 1935.  The initial offering was a 2-4-2 wheel arrangement but it was also offered as a 2-4-0 and as an 0-4-0.  The engine came with a number of different tenders and consists.  One of the consists is pictured on page 5 of this thread.

  In 1934 American Flyer introduced another type of sheet metal steam engine which would be the longest running of the sheet metal types.  This was the Greenberg Type XX and it had a number of different treatments with respect to paint, trim, and wheel arrangements.  The #4603 version of this engine from 1938 is pictured below. 

Northwoods Flyer gave a thorough description of the engine and its variations on pp 5. so I will provide only the single picture as well as a picture of one of the sets which this engine headed - The Blue Streak.

The last of the sheet metal steamers is a small uncataloged 0-4-0 which is believed to have been made in the early to middle 1930's.  It was not cataloged or numbered however in the Ameerican Flyer Electric Train Special announcement for 1936 it was shown heading up set #7467RT - Electric U.S. Fast mail train which was a consist of 4 wheel mail cars, a coach and an observation.

 

 ...and this where it gets interesting.  Many years back I purchased the set shown below.  

  It came in a nondescript box with no markings.  Given the time frame (well before the time of this original post) and my then general lack of knowledge about pre-war Flyer, my only interest was that it was a Flyer engine I had never seen.  In light of the Fast Mail special in the 1936 pamphlet I have to wonder if this set wasn't supposed to be the freight equivalent of the Fast Mail.  Since there is zero evidence of this, I'll just focus on the fact that it is a very interesting little set with no pedigree to speak of.

Streamlined Sheet Metal Steam

   The rest of the sheet metal steam lineup were streamlined steamers.  They were

     The "Minniehaha" (Type XXII) #561

     The PRR Streamliner #1686

     The NYC streamliner  #419

     and the Sheetmetal Hiawatha

  They were discussed and pictured on pp. 4 of this thread.

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Posted by mersenne6 on Monday, April 14, 2008 8:30 PM

  Down by the American Flyer Station I

  #96 and #104

  We've spent time trackside counting freight cars, there've been so many steam engines through the previous pages of this thread that I'm sure your keyboard is covered in soot and your ceiling is scorched from all of the sparks from the pantographs sliding along the catenary wires as the electrics sailed past.  With the exception of one brief pause at a few whistle stops awhile back (courtesy of Northwoods Flyer) we really haven't spent much time down at the depot so what's say we stroll down there and see what we can see in the way of American Flyer architecture?

 Back in 1923 American Flyer decided it was time to give the Rug Central Magnate a depot that was something more than a whistle stop and something less than a big city main station. 

Catalog Supplement

 

The result was #96, a respectable, all red brick station with a pleasing edifice, a smooth olive green painted roof and a matching all red brick chiminey. 

  #96 - 1923

 In 1925 Flyer decided changes were in order so the all red brick litho became a variegated brick, they modified the litho window treatment, changed the length of the litho window shades, and the color of the door and window trim. 

1925 Catalog Illustration

In 1925 they also introduced #104 which looked like #96 except it had an exterior electric light.

#96 - 1925

#104 - 1925

 

In 1927 Flyer published the prices of the #96 and #104.  The price difference, courtesy of a single light bulb fixture was $1.35 - a fair amount of money for the day.  The catalogs prior to 1927 illustrated both stations as having unbroken litho treatment.  In 1927 the catalog illustrations indicated that the baggage door was now die cut and bent back.

  #96 - 1927

 

 

 #104 - 1927

  In 1928 the stations received names and the roof changed from smooth sheet metal to embossed sheet metal.  #96 was now Flossmoor and #104 was Kenilworth.  Given the economic status of the two Chicago suburbs for which the stations were named the choice was appropriate - Kenilworth was a more upscale neighborhood.

  In 1933 the catalogs illustrated the two stations as having a die cut and bent waiting room door, however, based on what I have seen I think this change in cut doors occurred before 1933.  Along the way there were other small changes, the litho brick chimney changed from small to large and the embossing on the roof became less elaborate with the elimination of embossing around the region of the chimney. 6

 

  #96 ca. 1933

 

 

 #104 ca 1933 - small brick litho chimney

 

 

 

  #104 ca. 1933 large brick litho chimney 

  In 1935 American Flyer completely changed the litho treatment for the two stations.  The brick gave way to a clapboard and stucco look, the windows were punched out and frosted and, in the case of #104, the electric light was moved inside the station.

#96 - 1935

 

#104 - 1935-1939 - red enamel roof, green chimney 
 

 From the beginning it appears that Flyer tried to provide a color code for the two stations.  More often than not #96 has some kind of a green roof and #104 has some kind of a red roof.  The greens on the earlier version are more olive, followed by a dark green, followed by a medium green enamel.  The #104 had, at first a more maroon colored roof followed by a dark red, followed by a lighter red ....and then with the advent of the last version in 1935 there was an explosion in the roof paint shop!  Suddenly we had smooth enamel and crackle enamel.  I've seen smooth enamels in green and red and crackle in green, orange, and red.  The crackle roofs usually have a chimney attached that is painted the same crackle finish as the roof.  As for the smooth enamels the chimney colors that I've seen include red, yellow, green, and orange.

 

  #104 - ca. 1935-1939 - Crackle Orange Roof and Chimney.

 

 #104 - 1935-1939 - Crackle Red Roof with Crackle Red Chimney 

  

  and now for an error....

If we take a close look at the front of the station above we note what appears to be a rivet in the bottom center of the front of the building.  If we lift the roof we find the collectors daydream - a factory error. The litho sheet was fed into the die upside down so the tabs for the floor are on the ceiling (centered in the gray squares).  To hold the front onto the base Flyer die punched a hole in the front and riveted a sheet metal "coffee dunkin' doughnut" (a thin metal washer with a tab - centered in the bottom gray square) to the inside so that the front could be tabbed to the base.

 

 Sold as Shopworn

  The station below has a red roof which would suggest, for the time period of construction (ca 1933), it should have had an exterior light.  Other than this the station does not appear to be anything out of the ordinary.

  However, if we look at the underside we find this rubber stamp

    

 When I wrote this post back in 2008 (this is the 2021 upgrade Smile )I not only didn't have this station but I had also not met Nationwide Lines (his first posts can be found around page 25 of this thread) who is a very knowledgable collector of pre-war American Flyer.  

  Based on his research and some articles which appeared in The Collector and the TTOS journal it looks like Flyer began selling "seconds" at the company store in Chicago around 1931.  These "seconds" could be anything from an assembly error to something that had been refurbished at the factory.  My guess is this station had been re-worked in some manner and was therefore not considered to be acceptable production product.

Well, so much for the ten cent tour.  The limited is due in any minute so let's get out on the platform and watch her roll in.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 2:59 PM

After reading mersenne6's last post I had to wander down to the #104 Kenilworth station and check into those soot belching steamers and spark showering electrics.  I didn't have to wait very long before two of those thundering iron horses came by.  What are the chances of a duel gauge meet right there at the station?  Wow, tinplate railfanning doesn't get much better than this.  Wink

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Saturday, April 19, 2008 3:43 PM

Wide Gauge  - Electric Outline Locomotives III

St. Paul type

The third type of electric-style locomotive was first offered in 1928 and called the St. Paul type.  It appeared in the catalog for a number of years in several variations.  It headed up some of the most popular sets.   It came in the following numbers: 4633, 4635, 4637, 4683 and 4685. This style of locomotive appeared in catalogs until 1934.

4635

Available in 1929 and 1930

4685

Available in 1929 and 1930, it has a remote control motor.

 

Other than the remote control option present in the 4685 there is very little difference between these two engines.

 

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Posted by mersenne6 on Saturday, April 19, 2008 5:22 PM

 

  Down By the American Flyer Station II

  Well, the limited was looking mighty fine and what about that double headed red electric consist that zoomed past on the main just a few minutes later?  I thought we'd take a walk over to the freight shed but as long as we're out here we might as well take a look at the passenger platform first

  Flyer made two station platforms.  The first was #91.  It is 15 ½" long with an enameled base and supports and a lithographed roof.  The roof supports are fragile and easily bent.  This platform was made ca. 1922-25.

 

 #91 Passenger Platform

  

   View of the top of the #91 Station

 

  The second passenger platform, #586, was introduced in 1939 and was carried over into the postwar period.

  #586  Passenger Platform

   Freight Stations

   M93 and 93

  American Flyer's first freight station was, like many of its early accessories, imported from Europe.  M93 is illustrated in the catalog cut below. 

 

 

 

  The freight station below came with an American Flyer set but it differs from the catalog cut in several features.  To be on the safe side we'll just call this station a typical European export from the period.

 

  Unmarked European Export freight station

 

  In 1917 American Flyer introduced #93, its own litho freight station and in 1931 it was replaced with the #91 Fast Freight station. 

 #93 Freight Station

 

 #91 Freight Station

 

 

  Freight Stations #95 and #97

1926-1934

  In 1926 Flyer introduced their large freight station.  It used the same red enameled roof that was being used for some of the stations in the 97,98,99 series (more on these later).  The freight station was cataloged as the #95. Except for the roof and the gray enamel base everything else, was litho.  The doors opened and the ramp up to the raised platform was wide enough to put figures or loads of freight for the next train.  The front and the back were identical so the station had two doors and two platforms.

 

  #95 ca. 1926

 

  In 1928, the freight station, like all of the other stations, got a facelift.  The enameled roof was replaced with a litho tile roof with a litho dormer indicating that this was now the American Flyer Inbound Freight Station. The first year the station was listed as having an interior light. This became an exterior light in 1929.  The catalog listed the new and improved #95 as #97 - so there are actually two Flyer stations with this identification number - a freight and a passenger.  While the number changed the litho number on the building side did not- through the entire run #95 appeared on the station ends.  The freight station was dropped from the catalog in 1935.

 #97 Freight Station

 

   #97/98 Long Base Freight Station

    1936-1939

  In 1936 Flyer re-introduced the #97 but now it was part of a much larger accessory.  The new #97 station was mounted on a long metal base which it shared with the #3025 O gauge wrecker car body mounted on a turntable base.  The early turntable bases were reworked bases of the #90 Hyde Park Station complete with tab slots for the Hyde Park walls.  The earliest version came with a tan base.  This was replaced with a red base.  Chimney colors can be found in yellow, green, and orange. The crane can be found mounted to either the right or the left of the freight station. (For a list of all of the variations of which I'm aware see page 3 of this thread). The freight station, which had had a front and a back door (both operating) as well as a front and rear ramp now only featured a front ramp and door.  The rear station litho treatment was left unchanged.  The result is a very odd looking back with a brownish black blank where the door entrance would have been die cut and lithoed freight that now gives the appearance of floating in the air.

 

 #97 tan long base, left hand crane, ca. 1936

 

 

 

#97 red long base, right hand crane 

 

  A.C. Gilbert's purchase of American Flyer resulted in changes in everything in the Flyer line.  Just as with the transition from cast iron to die cast and sheet metal old inventory was used up first. In the case of the #97 it would appear that the wrecker bodies were used up before any other part of the station.  It was replaced with the #514 crane cab but, as far as I've been able to determine, it was still being shipped in boxes marked #97.

 #97 with the A.C. Gilbert crane

 

  In 1940 Gilbert cataloged the last remnants of the Chicago Flyer station line.  #98 Freight Station with Crane was shown with the #514 crane body and a mint green crackle enamel roof.

  #98 Freight Station with Crane

 

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, April 20, 2008 12:58 AM

mersenne6,

After supper tonight I decided to take a walk down by the freight station after reading your most recent post.  I took my trusty Kodak Brownie with me in case I ran into something interesting to take some pictures of.  I'm glad I did, because I recognized that here on the Blueboard Division of American Flyer Lines we have a #97 station that must have been designed by the same architect as the one who designed your stations.  As I walked along the track from my house, I couldn't help but notice the string of box cars waiting to be unloaded.

It looks as if they have the old crane ready to start unloading.

I've paid closer attention to the cars that rumble through town since I started reading this thread.  I was surprised to see that no two of those box cars were the same.

I must say though, its nice to see those cars bringing components into town to keep things going at Wausau Widgets.  We don't seem to be noticing any down turn in the economy here.

I decided to finish up my evening walk and go back and investigate those box cars later.  I'll have to report back to you on the differences between them.

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Posted by mersenne6 on Sunday, April 20, 2008 9:35 PM

 

  Down by the American Flyer Station III

   #97, #98, #99

 

  American Flyer introduced the #97 and #98 passenger stations in 1923. These two models, along with the no. 99 introduced two years later, were the same building but with different features.

 

  #97 consisted of a chimney of lithographed brick mounted on a flat olive green enameled roof. The rest of the station featured sides lithographed in smooth yellow (perhaps to represent stucco) and brick and stone framing of the corners, windows, and doors. The lithographed door was cut and bent back. On the ends appeared the lettering, "FLYER TOWN STATION NO. 97."   The station had no lights.

 

  #97 Passenger Station

 

  #98 was identical except that it had punched-out windows with acetate inserts and a single interior light.  I've often wondered about the nature of this "interior light". Every non-illuminated station from this period that I've seen as well as what I assumed to be a #98 do not have an actual interior light fixture.  Instead they have a base that has been die punched with a small circle with two "ears". The size and shape of the circle is the footprint of a small porcelain light base and the ears would provide clearance for the wires.

 

  Base with cutout for internal lamp socket

 

  The deluxe station, #99 (first cataloged in 1925) had all of the features of the #98 except that its roof was a bright red and it had two exterior lights in addition to the interior one. All three passenger stations appeared in the catalog in 1926 and then were dropped.

 

 

  #99 ca. 1926

 

  #105

   In 1927 Flyer introduced #105, which was an amalgam of the three earlier stations. This new passenger station, still lettered "FLYER TOWN STATION NO. 97," had two exterior lights, the red roof and lithoed windows.

 

 #105 ca. 1927

  In 1928, American Flyer upgraded the 105, which it assigned a new number (107) and a name ("Terminal Station"). Improved features included modified stampings and colors for the chimney, roof, and base. The chimney was now green enameled sheet metal. The embossed roof was a bright orange and included a dormer made of dark green enameled sheet metal. The front of the dormer had a brass plate riveted to it that bore the inscription "American Flyer Terminal Station".

 The base of the #107 became an embossed piece of sheet metal finished in bright red and  later bright maroon enamel. The embossing resembled slabs of concrete. 

 

  Since Flyer made sure they used up old inventory one variation of the #107 station for 1928 has the plain gray base of the #105.

 

 

#107 ca. 1928

   The illustrated station for 1928 also has an example of the vagaries of the Flyer assembly line.  The brass plate on the dormer should read "Terminal Station" but, as you can see this example has the brass plate for the #102 "Central Station".

In 1929 the #107 was given cut out and frosted windows and a permanent interior lamp to go along with the two exterior lamps. This extra detail probably explained why the price of this passenger station increased 25 cents from the previous year. As the Terminal Station with three lamps, the 107 was cataloged until 1932.

  

  #107 ca. 1929

 

  #100, #101

  #100 was catalogued in 1922-1923.  It had the same general brick litho treatment as the #101 but the telegraphers bay was a separate piece of litho and the sides were higher with a black and orange half-timbered section between the brick facade and the roof.  The gabled roof was a single piece of stamped sheet metal.

  #101 appeared in 1925 and was cataloged through 1927.  The height of the station was reduced with the elimination of the half timbered section and the roof changed from gable to hip and the separate telegraphers bay was now just part of the litho treatment of the flat station wall.

  #101

 

#102 Central Station

   102 Central Station was made from 1928-1938. It came with either an orange or a red base, operating brass doors, two external and one internal light and a lighted dormer.  

 

#110 Union Station - 1928

  This station was huge - 17 ¾ x 29" wide base with a 17 ½" high clock tower.  It wasn't, however, tin litho.  It was wood and composition board construction and painted in red with white trim and green roofs.  It had 4 interior lights and one light in the clock tower.  Reproductions of this station have been made.

  Catalog illustrations of #110 Union Station

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Posted by mersenne6 on Monday, April 21, 2008 7:14 PM

  Down by the American Flyer Station IV

  Whistle Stops 

   M90 and 90....and a stranger

  The first of the American Flyer #90 stations - M90 was, like the freight station, an import from Germany.  The station has the subdued look of the stone edifices of the real stations of the day.  The roof was multicolored enamel and the base was a light green/grey.  The station below is from a Flyer set and it is an excellent match with the catalog cut.

Station M90

 

 

 Catalog illustration

 

  About the same time Flyer started making its own freight stations it also began making its first whistle stops.  The brick is a bright red litho and the base and the roof are usually found in black enamel paint. Other colors have been observed - dark gray for the base and a dark brown for the roof.  This version was manufactured from 1916-1924.

 

  #90 ca. 1916

 

  Starting in 1925 the litho treatment for the sides became very bright and colorful.  The roof was a flat piece of sheet metal painted a bright green. 

 

  #90 ca. 1926

 

In 1928 #90 became #90 Hyde Park and the roof changed from flat sheet metal to embossed and the color from green to red.  In this form it was cataloged until 1933

 

  #90 Hyde Park ca. 1928

 

.....and then there is this other station.....

  The station below has been exhibited and sold as being an American Flyer #90 - it isn't - it is the Glen Ellyn and it is the product of Hafner.  The semaphore is mounted on a removable steel rod and, as a result, is often missing.  

 Hafner Station - Glen Ellyn

  Since Northwoods Flyer has already covered the suburban stations, the watchmen's shanties, the #237 station complex, the #235 Water Tower complex, and the #236 Watchman Shanty, crossing gate accessory, I think this concludes our walking tour of American Flyer railroad architecture.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 12:46 AM

mersenne6,

The evenings here have been absolutely beautiful the last few days, so I decided to take your suggestion and go for another walk along the tracks.  I had heard down at the coffee shop that the Oriental Limited was going to be doing some commuter duty around town tonight, so I decided to hustle down to the station after supper and see if I could get around to a few of the stations you have been mentioning with my Brownie. 

I live close to the Central Station so I decided to see if I could catch the Oriental Limited there. Sure enough, I got there just as she was pulling in.

She pulled into the station and I knew I had a few minutes to take a few more pictures.

Here is a picture of that big impressive sign out front.

I managed to snap this one just before she was ready to pull out.

There are a couple of residential areas along the line, manily homes of the employees of Wausau Widgets.  We made a stop at one whistle stop, just long enough for me to jump out and click the old shutter.

We traveled down the line a ways and before you know it we were pulling into the other whistle stop.  Not many frills at either of these stops, but good places to get in out of the rain or snow on bad days.

I got back into the coach "Paul Revere" and settled back to enjoy the ride and the scenery and before you know it, we were headed into Terminal Station. It sits almost at the edge of town, you can see the corn fields from the platform and when the wind is right you can smell the dairy herds.  I guess the city fathers really expect town to grow out this direction.

You have to admit its a beautiful station, with tasteful architecture and colors.

And another impressive sign out front.

Well I guess its time to head back into the coach and settle down for the trip back home.  A nice cup of tea, the paper, and off to bed when I get back.

I know there are a few more stations with some interesting architecture around town and down the line.  One of these evenings I will have to take a tour of them.  I've heard that the Zephyer is going to be passing through one of these days on an excursion run.  I have to see if I can get some tickets for that ride.

Northwoods Flyer

 

 

 

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Posted by Sturgeon-Phish on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 10:39 AM
This is my favorite thread!!!!!!
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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Wednesday, April 23, 2008 10:19 AM

Thanks Sturgeon-Phish, It may not come as a surpise that it is my favorite thread too.  Wink [;)] Its nice to see that you are still checking in on us.  Have you been lured into venturing into Flyer O Gauge yet?

 Type XX Steam Engine - new addition

The mailman brought another package the other day bearing an ebay purchase.  I aquired another example of a Type XX engine to add to the collection. I have edited some photos into the original posting about Type XX engines on page 5, and added a few more here.

This is the 401, part of the 403 engine/tender combination offered in 1939. It has a 2-4-4 wheel arrangement.

It came with a Type IV tender.  My example came with a Type IV tender - which should be a #402 to go with Flyer's numbering of equipment in combination. 

The tender has a sheet metal "curly Q" coupler which I think is correct for this model and year.

I think she looks pretty nice making her maiden run on the Blueboard Central Division.

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Posted by RockIsland52 on Wednesday, April 23, 2008 11:23 AM

This is one of my favorite threads too even though I have nothing AF except a water tower I mentioned a couple of thousand posts back.

What I have come to enjoy in this thread is your approaches to the condition of the pieces you have acquired.  Cosmetic restoration seems confined strictly to preservation, and only when critical.

Drool.  Slobber.  Pant.  Nice stuff.

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 Sturgeon-Phish on Wednesday, April 23, 2008 1:28 PM
 Northwoods Flyer wrote:

Thanks Sturgeon-Phish, It may not come as a surpise that it is my favorite thread too.  Wink [;)] Its nice to see that you are still checking in on us.  Have you been lured into venturing into Flyer O Gauge yet?

Lured mentally but not made the financial commitment yet.  What is your ebay user name so I don't compete with you?

Jim

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Posted by mersenne6 on Thursday, April 24, 2008 6:29 PM

 

  Stock Cars

   #1119, #535

 

  Carl Sandburg said it best -

   Chicago

    "Hog Butcher for the World,
     Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
     Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;"

   Huge stockyards were an everyday fact of life in the Chicago that was home to American Flyer.  The stockyards figured in poetry, novels (The Jungle - Sinclair), and even in U.S. paper money where one can find the names of Chicago banks with the word "stock yard" in their title and on their bills.  (There is a series of U.S. currency known as National Bank Notes - basically, if you met Uncle Sam's criteria he would provide you with U.S. money with an ad for your bank on the bill front).  Those stock yards meant any train watcher of the period would have seen a lot of stock cars.

 With all of this practically on their front doorstep one would think American Flyer would have had a really impressive stock car offering.  Sadly, for whatever reason, it wasn't to be.  The best American Flyer could do was a drab, nondescript, 4-wheel stock car.

  #1119 was introduced into their lineup around 1921 but it was not part of any of the cataloged train sets.  The first cars were yellow, tan, or green and came with or without doors.  The doors can be found either painted or lithographed.  Later colors were dark blue green, dark red, dark, brown, and maroon.  The roofs can be either smooth or ribbed. Most of the cars are not marked.  The car was produced until 1932. 

 

  #1119

 

  Flyer's second stock car, #535,  is a small, Hummer style, all litho affair whose lithography is such that many people don't even realize they are looking at a representative of a stock car the first time they see one. It came with or without a door.  The door colors I've seen have been either green or cream. It was made from 1933 To 1935.

 

  #535

 

  Even more depressing, for those of us who like American Flyer pre-war, is that every single competitor of Flyers offered really impressive stock cars. 

 

 

  Bing - Upper left - made the same generic litho in both 4 and 8 wheel - dark but very realistic.

  Ives - Upper right - made the 6 ½" car in several litho treatments and turned out a spectacular 9½" version with the same variety of litho treatment.

  Lionel - lower left - no litho but a 6 ½" car in several different enamel color combinations as well as a 8 7/8" car with equally interesting paint variations.

  Marx - lower right - litho - logo - UP label - 4 or 8 wheel. - what else can you say.

  And there were others

Fandor

 

Hafner

 

Hornby

....and on and on.

   The irony is that none of these manufacturers had anything approaching the Chicago stockyards to fire the imagination and motivate the people designing their product lines.

  Oh well, I guess I'll just take some solace in the fact that at least Flyer offered their cattle car in more color variations than any of their competitors.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Friday, April 25, 2008 10:38 PM

Wide Gauge Stock Cars

Flyer did not do any better with their Wide Gauge line then they did in the Narrow Gauge line when it came to honoring the industry in their back yard.  There are only two styles of Stock Car offered in Wide Gauge.

4005

In 1926 American Flyer first offered freight cars in their Wide Gauge line. There were four styles of car offered, but none of them were manufactured by Flyer.  The 1926 catalog shows a 4005 stock car using a Lionel 13 body.  The car had black American Flyer flex trucks, without journal boxes.

These are pictures from the 1926 catalog

4020

In 1927 Flyer introduced freight cars of their own design.   The 4020 Stock Car was introduced in 1928 and continued in the line until the end in 1936.

The Stock Car did not change significantly during its run.  The main variations consist of whether the sliding doors match the color of the body of the car or the roof.  Variations also include the types of plates used on the body of the car.

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Posted by mersenne6 on Saturday, April 26, 2008 2:59 PM

 

 American Flyer Clockwork I

 Hummer

 

Hummer....once upon a time meant small and inexpensive.  

  The first Hummer trains were introduced by American Flyer in 1916 and were listed in the catalogs through 1926.  The sets were not identified as American Flyer (even though you can see the engine in the cover art above says "American Flyer"). The first engines were sheet metal with clockwork motors and the tenders were simple 4 wheel affairs with a dark green wrapper and either "No. 50" or "No 513" lithoed on the side in yellow inside a yellow rectangle.  

  The sheet metal engines came in an earlier style from 1916-1918 and then were changed to a slightly larger engine with a few embellishments such as hand rails and gold highlights.  The second version was offered through 1926.  The second also came with two types of motors.  The first had close wheel spacing and the second had the wheels further apart.  Engines with close wheel spacing run well on straight track but have a real problem going around curves.

 Second version of Hummer engine - narrow wheel spacing

The first cars (1916-1918) said simply "The Hummer" on the letterboard. 

 

  Around 1920 this changed to one of three railroad names "Continental Ltd" with "Canadian National Railways" in a rectangle under the windows or  "New York Central Express" or "Pennsylvania Lines" on the letterboard above the windows.

  Empire Express

  In 1924 Flyer changed the name of the Hummer line to Empire Express.  The first offering under this name was a No. 9 cast iron engine pulling a 999 Type 1 tender and a larger type 515 passenger car with "New York Express" on the letter board.  As with the Hummer cars these cars were simple one piece stamped and lithoed steel with hook and loop couplers that were part of the stamped sheet that made up the car body.

 

  In 1926/27 Flyer catalogs offered New York Express sets but the engine (still identified as No. 9) was new with a straight boiler and a plain black No. 509 tender.  The cars were the same shape and size as the earlier Hummer cars but the now bore "Empire Express" on the letterboards.  The Express line became part of the Flyer clockwork line but disappeared from the consumer catalogs and were listed only in advanced catalogs and catalogs sent to wholesalers. They were listed in these documents through 1933. 

                                                

     In 1928 Flyer the Express lineup included a clockwork electric outline locomotive which came with cars lithoed with either 517 or 515.  The 517 cars are the shorter Empire Express cars whereas the 515's are the larger New York Express style.

Clockwork Electric Outline 

The picture below illustrates the similarities and differences of the three car types.

 

  The 1928 consumer catalog offered sets similar to the Express sets but the cars were the longer 515 style and carried "American Flyer Lines" on the letterboard. The engines in these sets were of more substantial construction (it should be noted that in its literature Flyer would not guarantee the quality of the clockwork motors for the Hummer and Express engines).  The 1928 set was cataloged as "the Bearcat" and the 1930 set was cataloged as "The Niagara".

 

  Niagara Set - 1930

The Niagara and came with a No.34 engine, the American Flyer #119 tender and two of the #515 cars with the new logo on the letterboard.  The #515 came in a variety of litho treatments. Two of them are illustrated in the pictures above and below.

  One aspect of these inexpensive cataloged American Flyer sets that is of interest to collectors are the #509 tenders lithographed with the names of real railroads.   The railroads were: C&NW, Rock Island, UP, IC, SP, B&O, GN, NYC, Nationwide Lines, and PRR. 

  Set with Union Pacific #509 Tender

  One of the last Empire Express sets to be offered was the set below headed by a red, cast iron engine.  Earlier in this thread I made reference to electrified cast iron, well this engine could be called electrified clockwork.  The engine has a small light bulb and a wire which connects to the tender.  The underside of the tender has a space for a small battery...so it is possible to have a battery powered wind up train.

 

 

   Set from 1933 - I have no explanation for the two wheel sizes on the tender.

  Underside of tender showing battery housing

 
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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 9:51 AM

214 - variation

Back on page 8 of this thread I posted some information and pictures of the 92 and 214 Watchman's Tower.  I recently came across another version of the 214. The main variation is that it has a green pole and a green roof.  The light inside is positioned a bit differently than other towers that I have, but it is almost identical to the tower used on the 236 Crossing set except for the roof color. The style of bell and striker are identical to the 236 set as well, which puts this version at 1933-1935.

The light sits in a corner, and the windows are roughly cut out. It all appears to be factory original.

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Posted by mersenne6 on Friday, May 2, 2008 9:01 PM

 

  The West Wind

     The American Flyer Zephyr

 

  American Flyer's cast aluminum Zephyr was first cataloged in 1934.  Flyer pursued two different approaches to the model - die cast or sand cast and sheet metal.  Early in the development effort Flyer discovered die cast technology couldn't produce the kinds of models they wanted so they focused on sand cast aluminum.  The sand cast bodies had a mold seam down the middle of the body which had to be ground off and then polished - the result a very bright smooth finish to the roof of the cars and the power unit.  Decals were use for identification numbers and car and power car lettering.

  According to the Greenberg book the effort involved in the grinding and polishing was expensive and dirty - no one wanted to walk through the final polishing room where polishing rouge was flying in every direction.

 

The 1934 set came with either 3 or 4 cars.

  1934 set

 The 1934 power car shape was a reasonably accurate representation of the actual Zephyr.  It came with a manual reverse motor with the reverse lever mounted on the underside.  Because of the way the train was coupled together with the close fitting hinged vestibules and the top mounted latches it was difficult to reach under the power car to work the reverse lever. 

  In 1935 Flyer introduced a longer and wider power car.  The extra length and width gave clearance to the remote control reverse unit. The front of the new unit doesn't have the smooth streamlined look of the earlier version

 1935 power car #9914 

 

The 1935 set had 5 cars

 Set 1935

 

  In 1936 Flyer put a whistle in the baggage car.  In order to operate the whistle the train had to run on special 4 rail track.  The power pickups on the car trucks had problems going over switches.  In 1937 Flyer dropped the on train whistle and substituted a whistling billboard.

Whistling Baggage

  According to Maury Romer in a TTOS interview in 1983, Jack Olds, the advertising manager of American Flyer took the very first American Flyer aluminum Zephyr to the Burlington offices and set it up in one of their conference rooms.  They were impressed and the CB&Q bought enough sets to put in every station on the line where the first Zephyr ran....and before you get your hopes up - they were just standard Flyer production - no special markings or details.

 

  1934 Baggage Car - something different

  The first production 1934 baggage cars had a manual light switch with the lever protruding from a milled slot in the side of the car.  The switch unit was held in place by a single screw on the top of the car (arrow pointing to screw circled in the picture). 

 

 

  The switch allowed the engineer to turn off the lights in the passenger cars.  I suppose if you were running the set using dry cells this would extend their life and hence your running time but most people would have probably preferred to see the train zoom across the broadloom prairie with all lights ablaze.  It is obvious that this feature was dropped early in the manufacturing cycle and it is also obvious that many baggage cars had already been milled and drilled for the switch when the decision to eliminate this feature was made.  The end result is that one can find baggage cars with a slot milled in the side and a hole drilled in the roof for no apparent reason. 

  I think the process for machining was drill the hole in the roof first and then mill the slot.  The reason I say this is I've seen baggage cars with a slot and a hole in the roof and ones with just a hole in the roof but I've never seen one with just a slot milled in the side.  The baggage car below is from the 1935 set and it has one of those leftover screw holes (circled in the picture).

 

 

  Lithographed Sheet Metal

  The sheet metal Zephyrs were offered in the 1935 catalog and in special promotional paper in 1936 and 1937.  The train was made of thin sheet metal and it is very vulnerable to denting and crushing.  The trains are articulated and the cars are mutually supporting.  In the first version of the set the power car has no rear wheels. Rather it has an extension of the roof which pins into the passenger car which has a supporting truck on one end.  This repeats for each car until the observation which has two sets of trucks.  The passenger cars in this set have six windows.

  The second set, probably manufactured after the introduction of the Comet in 1936, has 4 window passenger cars in the same pattern as the Comet cars.  The power car now has drive wheels and a rear truck and the order of the pins and mutual support are in the reverse order of the first set with the observation now having only a single truck.  The nose of the power car in this later set is silver painted stamped sheet metal.

 Second sheet metal set ca. 1936

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Saturday, May 3, 2008 12:00 AM

 90 Passenger Station

It has been much too cold lately to take my evening walk along the tracks.  You would think that Spring was never going to arrive and break Winter's hold on the Midwest. With all of the rain recenlty it feels like Wisconsin is going to have its own monsoon season.  The weather has finally cleared a bit and I decided to hunt down some of the architecture that mersenne6 mentioned.  I knew that I had seen a station somewhere nearby that resembled the #90 passenger station. I was describing it to some of the old guys down at the coffee shop and they assured me that it was in the little town to the north of here called Brokaw.  Its a paper mill town and lots of folks from Wausau travel up there to work in the mill. I decided to motor up there this evening and take a look.

While I was coming into town I spotted the station right away.  I jumped out of the car with my Brownie and caught the engine for the last commuter run back to Wausau just pulling into the station.

There weren't any folks waiting around tonight, but being a friday night I guess no one was going to hang around.  They must have headed home earlier.

That station is a nice sturdy looking building, no frills, but built to last.

The #90 looks like thousands of other passenger stations across the country from the Plywood Prairie to the Broadloom Basin, to the Deckturf Ocean.

I had to stop and take one more picture of the station at Brokaw and the steamer waiting to head back to the roundhouse for the night from the ridge above town.

I'm still hoping that the excursion run with the Zephyr will be coming through soon.  The town folks and locals are all excited to see the speed demon, and hoping to take a ride on her. 

Northwoods Flyer

 

 

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SCD
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Posted by SCD on Sunday, May 4, 2008 9:58 AM

This was a recent find. It includes the original instruction sheets, and it runs.










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SCD
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Posted by SCD on Sunday, May 4, 2008 3:58 PM

Let me try that one more time. This is a recent find. The instruction sheets are there and the engine runs. (Admins, feel free to delete my last post. I made an error uploading the photos).

IMG]http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b241/orchidhouse/100_5031.jpg[/IMG]








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Posted by mersenne6 on Sunday, May 4, 2008 6:16 PM

 

SCD - you have control over editing and deleting your posts.  Next time you drop by just look at the control buttons in the upper right hand corner - one of them is a delete post.  I used this earlier in the thread after I discovered I had posted some incorrect information in one of mine.

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