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Pre War American Flyer Pictures - An Invitation

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Posted by Sturgeon-Phish on Sunday, May 4, 2008 6:27 PM

I am continually impressed with the content of this awesome thread.  It is a veridible museum of American Flyer Pre-War.  I find myself going back and looking at the photos again and again.  If we ever go over into Post-War, I think it would of interest also, but for right now, please keep them coming!!!!

For now, just a tickler!

Jim

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Posted by SCD on Sunday, May 4, 2008 7:14 PM
 mersenne6 wrote:

 

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.

I tried to use the delete button, but I am getting a message that says "denied permission" to delete the post. Maybe I broke it?Sign - Oops [#oops]

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, May 4, 2008 8:39 PM

Sturgeon-Phish,

Thanks for the compliments Jim. It's great fun coming up with items to post and doing the research.  I think that you should start a Post War thread.  You certainly have plenty of equipment and photos to share.  I'd be more than happy to contribute, but managing one thread is enough for me for right now.  The auto transport car is a tickler alright, lets see some more.

 SDC

Sign - Welcome [#welcome]  to the thread and thanks for posting some great pictures of your set.  I am sure we will figure out a way to get that one post deleted.

Zephyr   - additions

After reading mersenne's post I had to go dig my examples of the Zephyr out of their storage boxes and examine them a bit more closely.

With mersenne's information I am now sure that I have the 3 unit 1934 version of the cast Zephyr.

I have the version with the slot and the switch.  I could never figure out what it was supposed to be for.  I know there is a whistle version and I thought my whistle had been removed somehow.  Now I know what it does.

The vestibules and lighting connections are pretty impressive too. I think this is the same system that is used on the streamlined cars for the Hiawatha and others.

My lithographed version of the Zephyr is one with the 6 window cars, and the power car does not have a trailing truck.

 

The pin at the top of the power car fits into a hole in the top of the following car.  You can see that there is a pin lower on the brace in the body.  This is the same as for the Comet and Green Diamond, but the Zephyr does not have anything to hook into on the cars.

The tail car has two sets of trucks.

And there is a bit of a mystery about the tail car.  What are the slot and the holes for that have been punched in the body?  The slot and holes appear on both sides.

Northwoods Flyer

 

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 1:08 AM

Zephyr Excursion Run

Well the day finally arrived.  I was down at the coffee shop for lunch today, and the old guys were having quite a heated discussion about the arrival of the long awaited Zephyr excursion.  It seems that she was being run up from Chicago out of the Museum of Science and Industry to take some big wigs on a tour.  Why they were coming through this part of the country no one seemed to know, but they were traveling along the old Milwaukee Road for some reason.  From their discussion I realized that she was due soon.  I jumped into the car and headed out to see if I could intercept her before she got to town.  I was in luck, I ran into her just south of town.

There is no doubt about it, the sleek look of the engine and cars was a real sight.

I hurried back to town to catch her pulling into the station.

The Zephyr was due to be at the station while the big wigs made some speeches and celebrated something.  I didn't listen much.  I wanted to grab a chance to get a good look at this engineering marvel of the 1930's.

As she sat there idling, I realize how different she sounded. Powerful yes, but with the throbbing power of a diesel, not like the steady chuffing and "breathing" of a steamer that makes it seem like a living thing.

It seemed like the train had just arrived and before you know it, all the big wigs got loaded up and she was moving out of town again.

I hung around down at the station just soaking up the experience, listening to the Zephyr growling away into the distance.  Just about the time that I couldn't hear it anymore I heard a similar growling from behind me.  I turned around just in time to catch a second train coming into town.

I'd heard rumors that someone had been restoring a second Zephyr, and here it was now.  I found out later from the guys at the coffee shop that the big wigs had been here to announce that the second train was being put into excursion service and would be working up here in Wisconsin.  I guess I should have paid more attention.  This train had a character all its own.

I grabbed a couple of pictures while she sat at the station.  Her stay wasn't long today.

But I bet we will see more of this engineering marvel in the days ahead.

When I got back home tonight I did some thinking about the items in my collection and I remembered that some time ago I had picked up a piece of mail that had been carried on the Zephyr during her inaugural run back in 1934.  It took a while but I found it and the clipping that talked about all the mail carried on that run.

Not bad for a day of tinplate railfanning I'd say.

Northwoods Flyer

 

 

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Thursday, May 8, 2008 11:20 PM

Accessories -2218/4218   Block Signal

Flyer made a wide variety of trackside accessories.  This is their prewar block signal made from 1936-1939.  There is an earlier version made from 1928-1931.  The Block Signal came with two special track sections that had a forth rail to provide the contact to trip the accessory.  The flanges of the wheels of rolling stock contact the fouth rail to operate the accessory.  When it came with two pieces of Narrow Gauge track it was known as the 2218.  When it came with two pieces of Wide Gauge track the identical signal was known as the 4218.

Side view

Catalog illustrations show a sign on the signal that says BLOCK SIGNAL, but all of my examples and the ones that I have observed have a sign that says STOP ON SIGNAL

The only variation of which I am aware is a red version.  I know that I have read somewhere that the red version was only available for one year but I can't put my hand on that reference at the moment.  It does show up less frequently than the red version.

I do not have the special track sections yet.  They tend to get seperated from the signal very easily.

Northwoods Flyer

Edit - 5/16/2008

Scroll down a few entries and you will find some pictures of a mint in the box version that I found after I posted this entry.

 

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Posted by SCD on Saturday, May 10, 2008 5:53 PM

I am still trying to master this photo listing process. Let's see if I can actually post some photos without deleting anything.

 








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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 9:27 AM

SCD,

Thanks for the great pictures of some of the trains in your collection. I particularly like that Wide Gauge Steamer.

Wide Gauge Passenger Cars  - I

During their production of Wide Gauge trains American Flyer produced two sizes of passenger car. There were a variety types of passenger cars in the consists, but lets begin with a basic size comparison.

There were 14 inch passenger cars.

And there were 19 inch passenger cars.

Here are some comparison shots of the two sizes of coaches.

Now take a look at how they compare with a small passenger coach from the Narrow Gauge (O gauge) line of trains.

And for those of you whose frame of reference is HO, take a look at this one.

It took a lot of space to be able to have a Wide Gauge railroad empire in the 1920's and 1930's. And it still takes a lot of space just to store and display them, but there is a charm to these large trains and the incredible sound they make as they rattle down the track that is hard to resist.

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Posted by RockIsland52 on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 9:44 AM

SCD....pics turned out great.  When I click on them they enlarge to full screen!

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 Northwoods Flyer on Friday, May 16, 2008 7:24 PM

Accessories - Boxed 2218 Block Signal

When I posted the entry on the 2218/4218 I was pretty sure that I had a boxed example of it somewhere too.  After I did a little hunting I found it.

The lable indicates that it is made by The A.C. Gilbert Company so this example is from 1938 or after.

It is pretty exciting to open up a box like this and find the item in almost like new condition.

The track even has its original shine and finish.

The two activating pieces from between the tracks are still there too. I removed one so that you could see what it is like.  I have seen these pieces on occasion and was not aware of how they were used.

Now all I need is a copy of the instructions.

I don't have many items in this near mint condition.  It makes me think of how it must have been to be a child receiving these items on Christmas morning or for a birthday. I look at the evidence of use over the last 70 or more years on most of my collection and I realize how well loved most of these items were.  It makes me wonder why this block signal never had the chance to be played with.

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Posted by envfocus on Sunday, May 18, 2008 7:19 PM

OK, here's my first AF piece. I picked it up at the MN Fairgrounds on Saturday.  From going through this thread, on page 8 you show a number of variations of the #93 and #234 stations.  This appears to be another variation of the #234.  Any more info on it would be appreciated.  By the way, what type of bulb goes into it (18W?).  Thanks....

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Posted by mersenne6 on Monday, May 19, 2008 8:33 PM

 

  American Flyer Clockwork II

  No. 2

  American Flyer's first clockwork trains were made by Edmund-Metzel in 1907. The first engine was a very basic 0-4-0 with a small #328 tender.  There was a band of colored paint beneath the cab window which could be either red, gray, light green, yellow, or dark green. The bell and top of the smokestack were painted gold and the cast drivers had an iridescent red finish to the spokes.  The windup key was formed from wire and solid rod and it screwed into the side of the motor.  There were no boiler rivets or drive rods.

 In 1908 Metzel introduced an improved lineup which included a deluxe version of the 1907 engine with side rods, handrails and a brake. The most noticeable feature of the deluxe engine were 4 thin boiler bands and an abbreviated cab overhang.  This engine was made from 1908 to around 1911. 

  In 1911 the cab roof overhang was extended, the 4 thin boiler bands were replaced with two thick ones, and there were no handrails.  Around 1915 the boiler casting was again modified. Now, in addition to the boiler bands there were three rows of boiler rivets one course between the headlight and the smokestack, one course between the two bands, and one course between the rear band and the engine cab.

 

 No. 2 ca. 1911 

 

  No. 12

  In 1910 American Flyer introduced No.12.  The locomotive had a lower and longer profile compared to No.2  The engine was offered through 1917 and was also cataloged as M12.  Flyer referred to the engine as having a "Bull dog type construction" ....whatever that was supposed to mean.

 

No. 12 ca. 1910

  In the 1910 catalog Flyer also introduced the No. 0 which was a selectively compressed version of #12.  It had all of the same boiler features but it was shorter.  It also had no side rods.

 

  No. 15

  This engine was the largest of the clockwork engines between 1914 and 1922.  

 

  No. 13, 1,3,1, and 2

  Between 1914 and 1922 American Flyer offered a number of mid sized 0-4-0 clockwork engines (Greenberg Types VII, VIII, and IX). Their superstructures were similar and differed with respect to the presence or absence of boiler rivets, sand dome size and headlight shape.  Their one prominent feature was the cast iron open roof vent in the cab.  The last of the series was the catalog No.1 and 2 from 1920-1922 an example of which is shown below.

 

 

  No. 16

  In 1922 Flyer introduced their new large sized cast iron locomotive.  It came with a center mounted headlight and the cast letters "A.F. 16" under the cab windows.  The bulky boiler casting with the cast center mounted headlight is very distinctive.

  No. 16 ca. 1922

  In 1929 the engine was painted bright red with silver highlights and headed up the Prairie State Set.  The cast number under the cab window was removed and only the letters "A.F." remained.

Prairie State Set

 

  No. 1,2,10,11,12

  In 1922 Flyer introduced a series of cast iron clockwork engines with tapered boilers.  The engine came with a number of different sets and had either the letters "A.F. 10" or just "A.F." under the cab windows.  Other versions had no lettering at all.

 

  No. 10 with "A.F. 10" cast under the cab window

 

  Each of these engines came with a number of different tender styles.  As you can see from the numbers - Flyer wasn't too particular about order with respect to engine catalog numbers as a means of uniquely identifying their clockwork locomotives. Consequently, the key to collecting Flyer clockwork is superstructure shapes.  I don't have pictures of every rivet and headlight variation but the above pictures do cover the range of the superstructure types offered by Flyer for its large and mid-sized clockwork trains.  The smaller types of cast iron superstructure clockwork engines were illustrated in the first clockwork installment above.

 Sheet Metal Clockwork Engines

   In 1932 Flyer introduced a sheet metal clockwork locomotive.  Greenberg has designated this as Type XVIII. The engine comes with an electric light and the tender has a place for a battery.  The Flyer price list for 1932 does list two clockwork sheet metal engines and gives them the identification of No.25 (headlight) and No. 125 (headlight and bell).  This engine was offered in sets through 1933.  It came with all red enamel or with red enamel boiler and tender and black enamel chassis.

 

 

 According to a handwritten 3x5 card that came with the set containing this engine the set number is 174 and the set was purchased by the original owner (who is the author of the information on the card) at the 1933 World's Fair.  Greenberg does not list a set #174

  The other sheet metal clockwork locomotive was a clockwork version of the small sheet metal (0-4-0) Hiawatha pictured in the discussion of streamlined steam on page 4. 

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Wednesday, May 21, 2008 12:38 AM

envfocus,

Congratulations on your aquisition!  I don't know how to tell you this, but to quote an old potato chip commercial...No one can stop at just one.  You may find that you want more Flyer items to add to your collection.

You do indeed have a #234 Suburban Station.  It was cataloged by Flyer from 1933-1938. I posted the variations that I own on page 8.  You have an uncataloged variation.  Alan Schuweiler in the Greenberg guide to Wide Gauge identifies it as being uncataloged, and if you follow his listing it is the 234(B). There is no picture of it shown, but apparently the example that he used came in its original box and from that evidence he places the date of production in the mid to late '30's.

One of the caveats of collecting seems to be that you may not see an example of an item for a while and then suddenly there are multiples of it.  I have noticed that on eBay.  I had never seen an example of your 234 until recently on eBay, and then recently there have been 3 of them, and yours is now the 4th.  Most of them went for pretty high prices.  I think all of that economic stimulus money has found its way into buying trains.  I don't have that variation yet, so I congratulate you with just a bit of an envious eye.

I do have a similar variation with the same red roof and green base, but a different station shack.

The 234 came in lighted and unlighted versions, with the light being placed in at least two locations.

The pictures above and below show the bulb sticking out through the end support.

Some versions have the bulb further back under the canopy, coming out of the shack.

And then some of the variations have no light at all.  I would assume this was an economy measure.

This unlighted version does have the neat lithographed end piece.

The versions that I have came with bulbs, and they appear to be 18v.  You will notice that one has a white bulb that is most typically used in streetlights.

You have a nice example of a typical small Flyer station.  I'll be looking for an example for myself.  I hope it leads you to add more Flyer to your collection and layout.  Thanks for posting your find. 

Northwoods Flyer

 

 

 

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, May 25, 2008 10:09 PM

Wide Gauge Passenger Cars - II

14 inch Passenger Cars - Body Stlyes

During the years of production of Wide Gauge Trains Flyer used 5 (possibly 6) different body styles to produce a large assortment of trains.  Each set of cars had unique characteristics and details that make collecting these cars fun and at times a challenge.  The details changed from year to year and it can be difficult to find cars where all of the details match if you happen to collect them piecemeal instead of in an original intact set.  The different details include: lithography vs enamel paint, style of door : swinging spring loaded, solid brass, or decal, flex trucks vs rigid trucks, style of roof, whether the roof slides on or has a locking cam device, type of air tank, and there are other detail differences

For now lets focus on the styles of the bodies.

I will be illustrating these body styles by using the first Wide Gauge passenger set Flyer produced and a top of the line later set called the Pocahontas.

Flyer called this body style its Mail/Baggage (1)

The Pocahontas had a Club car (2), which had both baggage and passenger areas

This is the Pullman (3)

For now just notice the similarities between this pullman and the pullman from the Pocahontas set

The Pocahontas had a Dining Car (4)

And of course last but not least, the Observation (5)

The Pocahontas also has an observation, but its windows are obviously very different, so this could be considered a seperate body type (6).

So the 5 body types are:

     mail/baggage

     club

     pullman

     dining

     observation (2 styles)

From these body types Flyer made a large array of cars.

Northwoods Flyer

 

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Tuesday, May 27, 2008 10:49 PM

1939 Double Header

In 1939 American Flyer was now owned by the A.C. Gilbert Company.  It was clear that Gilbert had a new direction in mind for the look of his company's trains. 1939 was still a transition year, so many old items from the days of Chicago production were still listed and available. One of the sets that has always intrigued me appeared on the cover of the 1939 catalog along with the symbol of the 1939 World's Fair.

There at the top of the front page is a double headed train.  The page inside the catalog featuring the set describes it as "Railroading's most impressive sight"  and names it the "Mountain Red Ball  2-4-2 Double Header."

This is the only double headed set that Flyer produced during the prewar era.  It consists of a powered 420 . 

and a dummy type XX engine

 It has always been one of my collecting goals to own and run this set.  I have owned three of the four pieces that make up the motive power for a while and I was just recently able to obtain the unpowered type XX engine.  It is the only really unique part of the set. 

The set of engines is impressive when sitting on the track or speeding along the rails.

Both of the engines have headlights that function, with the dummy having its own set of pick ups.

The set makes use of the sheet metal knuckle couplers from 1938 to lash up the tender of the  420 and the dummy XX, the tender accompanying the dummy has the link and pin coupler that Gilbert was transitioning to in 1939.

The dummy XX has the "curley cue" coupler in the front and a frame with the motor removed, but it maintains the two pick ups to power the headlight.

I wonder what the old guys down at the coffee shop will have to say when these beauties make there way into town.

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Posted by M636C on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 3:48 AM

 Without trying to sound stupid, the dummy "XX" locomotive is clearly a 2-4-4 rather than a 2-4-2, so why did the catalogue refer to "2-4-2"? Was there a particular reason that the powered and dummy locomotives were not similar except for the motor?

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Posted by Eriediamond on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 6:39 AM
 M636C wrote:

 Without trying to sound stupid, the dummy "XX" locomotive is clearly a 2-4-4 rather than a 2-4-2, so why did the catalogue refer to "2-4-2"? Was there a particular reason that the powered and dummy locomotives were not similar except for the motor?

M636C

Catalog reference to the 2-4-2 was because it was the powering lead loco of the set. As to why the "dummy" loco was different, I can only answer that Mr. Gilbert wanted it that way. I would offer this though, and it's just a wild guess. The powered loco is cast iron. It's weight provides traction. The dummy is tin, less weight and cheaper to make. As for the wheel configuration, refer to Mr. Gilbert. Ken 

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 7:12 AM

Sign - Welcome [#welcome]  to the thread M636C and Eriediamond,

I wondered the same thing M636C when I first investigated the catalog page for the set. It would seem to be a good idea to list the configuration for both engines, and in fact when you read the copy describing the set it does mention the two wheel configurations.  I agree with Eriediamond that it is probably because the powering loco has the 2-4-2. 

The type XX 2-4-4 is listed in only two other sets for that year and they are an entry level passenger and freight set, both coming in at a whopping $5.00, $7.50 if you want a transformer with it.

My suspicion is that Gilbert inherited a lot of the type XX engines with the purchase of the company and this was one way to clear them out quickly. I don't have the 1940 catalog, but by the 1941 catalog all evidence of the producion from the Chicago era is gone.

Thanks for posting the question.

Northwoods Flyer

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Posted by Eriediamond on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 8:38 AM
Thanks Northwoods, what you say makes sense. Ken
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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Saturday, May 31, 2008 7:47 AM

3016 Sand Car  -  Addendum

There is another posting for the 3016 back on page 5.  I have edited a picture into that post.

I just picked up another variation of the 3016.  I have noticed that most of these sand cars/gondolas have a lot of play wear.  They must have carried lots of loads of toys and stones around their previous owner's railroad empires.

This version has the American Flyer Lines decal, so I assume that it is from later in the years of production of the 6 1/2" enameled sand cars -   1930-1932 and 1934-1935.

And here is a comparison of the lettering and trucks used on the sand cars that I have up to this point.

I ought to be able to haul plenty of Tootsie Rolls around the Blueboard Central Division of American Flyer Lines in these.

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Posted by M636C on Saturday, June 7, 2008 10:18 AM
 Northwoods Flyer wrote:

1939 Double Header

In 1939 American Flyer was now owned by the A.C. Gilbert Company.  It was clear that Gilbert had a new direction in mind for the look of his company's trains. 1939 was still a transition year, so many old items from the days of Chicago production were still listed and available. One of the sets that has always intrigued me appeared on the cover of the 1939 catalog along with the symbol of the 1939 World's Fair.

I thought (as a foreigner) I might ask some general questions, knowing very little about American Flyer generally. This thread has generally covered the pre-Gilbert products to date, with some references to pre (and post) WWII Gilbert era products.

The comments I have quoted above suggest that the semi scale products were Gilbert's preference and I'd like to draw some comparisons with Lionel (with which I am only slightly more familiar) who had adopted scale models about the same time.

To some extent both were exploiting the improvements in reproduction using die castings to meet a demand for more accurate models. What is of interest is that I assume that this catalogue cover shows how what were O-27 models in the form of the pre-Gilbert models led initially to 3/16" scale models on O gauge (the NYC Hudson, UP 4-8-4 and I guess the 0-8-0 just visible at the spine fold).

Meantime Lionel had produced the scale Hudson (and the PRR B6 switcher) to 1/4" scale, but hadn't produced a "full line" of scale O models, and had also produced the 1:76 OO Hudson (again never expanded to a full line, and not produced post WWII).

Post WWII Gilbert basically converted their whole line to S gauge while retaining the smaller scale bodies. Lionel produced both 1/4" and somewhat forshortened O-27 models.

Having thus summarised the history of the whole industry, my questions are:

Were Lionel or American Flyer the first with these scale models? In particular, since both had scale NYC Hudsons, who produced the first Hudson?

Is it possible that Lionel adopted the two scales either side of American Flyer's scale intentionally to remain distinct, rather than competing head on in the emerging scale model field?

Was there a transition period with American Flyer producing the same models in both O and S gauges?

M636C

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, June 8, 2008 12:43 PM
 M636C wrote:

Having thus summarised the history of the whole industry, my questions are:

Were Lionel or American Flyer the first with these scale models? In particular, since both had scale NYC Hudsons, who produced the first Hudson?

Is it possible that Lionel adopted the two scales either side of American Flyer's scale intentionally to remain distinct, rather than competing head on in the emerging scale model field?

Was there a transition period with American Flyer producing the same models in both O and S gauges?

M636C

I'm not very familiar with Lionel's production.  My knowledge of Flyer comes from reading the resources out there and some personal observations.  Let me quote some sections of the Greenberg Guide to American Flyer PreWar O Gauge by Alan R. Schuweiler.

From Chapter 4 - Electrically Powered Steam Locomotives

Pg 65

"American Flyer's production of O Gauge electrically powered steam locomotives began in 1918 with cast iron shells used for windup locomotives. These locomotives quickly gave way to electric-outline models.  Steamers returned in 1930, again with shells from windups, and little conformity to scale.  When this line ended 10 years later the models had die cast boilers, a reasonable approximation of scale, and a much greater degree of detail.  Streamlined sheet metal locomotives completed the offerings of electrically powered steam locomotives.  The 1930's represented a fascinating and productive period in the evolution of toy manufacturing.  There were extraordinary developments in the toy train locomotive during these years, and this progress is especially apparent in the development of American Flyer steam locomotives....

The electrially powered steam engines appeared in American Flyer catalogs until 1924 and then returned in 1930, remaining in the product line until World War II.  The year after A.C. Gilbert aquired American Flyer (1939) 3/16 inch scale were offered, and by 1941 these scale engines were the only electrically powered steam engines in the catalog."

A typical die cast engine from the Chicago Flyer era

Chapter 14 - 3/16 Locomotives and Rolling Stock

pg 216

"After the A.C. Gilbert Company of New Haven Connecticut, purchased the American Flyer Manufacturing Company in February of 1938, the new owners began phasing in an entirely new line of toy trains in a different scale from those that had been made by American Flyer in Chicago.  The new trains were built to a scale of 3/16 inch to 1 foot, instead of 1/4 inch.  But the first new trains were designed to run on existing O gauge tinplate track; after World War II, they were retooled to run on smaller two-rail track (S gauge) to match the new train scale.

The 1939 catalog included two new 3/16-inch locomotives, and seven die-cast freight cars, and two die-cast passenger cars. Apparently much of the new die work was done in 1938, so that the trains would be ready in the new year for the New York Toy Fair.

Gilbert issued annual catalogs from 1938 to 1942 (the 1942 catalog is the same as that for 1941....). By 1940 the new 3/16 trains dominated their offering.  The 1941 catalog showed O gauge trains that were switched completely to 3/16 versions.  It is not known how long or to what extent American Flyer was able to supply trains once material restrictions were imposed by World War II. While there is a 1942 catalog it seems reasonable that the 1942 sales were from previous years production.....

The 1945-1946 O gauge locomotives were not illustrated in a consumer catalog.  However, collector reports have verified 1945 and 1946 sets - although availability appears to have been limited...."

That is lot of reading but my impression is that Lionel produced the first true scale hudson (isn't that in 1937?), since the transition to more scale trains did not occur for Flyer until Gilbert took over the company.

I think that Flyer was always the one to be in competition with Lionel, I doubt that Lionel followed Flyer's lead except in a very few instances.

It appears that for a very short time Gilbert marketed both O and S gauge trains after the war, but my assumption is that the O gauge trains were left over production from before the war, and that the intention of the company was to be more competitive with Lionel with their "realistic two rail track".

If anyone has other information or opinions please feel free to post them.

Northwoods Flyer

 

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Posted by ogauge on Sunday, June 8, 2008 8:21 PM
But Gilbert was the first of the two companies to produce an 8 drivered loco scale or otherwise when they first came out with the 4-8-4 Northern in 1939.....and a sweet loco it was and is!
Dennis H. W. Lafayette, IN Too many trains feels just right....
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Posted by M636C on Monday, June 9, 2008 6:33 AM

Thanks for the detailed answer to my questions.

The date of 1939 for both new locomotives (4-6-4 and 4-8-4) means that Lionel were first with the Hudson in both 1:48 in 1937 and 1:76 in 1938.

The reception for the Lionel scale O Hudson, both 700E and 763, may have influenced the decision to go for nearer scale models, but the high price of the 700E and the large radius required might have influenced the choice of 3/16" scale by Gilbert.

As things turned out, the 700E Hudson was really a one-off, and Gilbert's models formed their standard range, and were a better investment in the long run. I would guess that the change to S scale may have been part of the plan from the beginning, in the same way as Lionel tried out OO scale from 1938.

It is interesting to consider what would have happened had Lionel concentrated on OO post WWII - it is possible that HO might not be the main scale today, and O may have been less important as well.

On the subject of the 4-8-4, I believe the AF 3/16" chassis was used for a PRR Electric similar to a GG1. There were two prototypes for this, the classes R1 (rigid) and DD2 (articulated), but I believe it was generally thought of as a GG1.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Thursday, June 12, 2008 8:08 AM

Street Lights - Addendum

Back on page 9 I posted a number of pictures of Flyer street lights.  Since that posting I have come across another version of the 2110 that I did not have at the time.  This is the version that has a rectangular base that is supposed to simulate grey concrete.  It is missing a finial, although I am not sure that all of the streetlights had finials.

And a closeup of the base with the American Flyer Lines sticker.

Some of the other versions of the street lights produced and marketed by Flyer are back on page 9, but it isn't all of the versions that that they produced.  The hunt continues.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, June 15, 2008 5:38 PM

3208   9 1/2 inch Enameled Box Cars

Back on page 10 I posted some pictures of a string of 9 1/2 inch box cars that were bringing supplies into Wausau Widgets.  I promised to post some additional pictures and I am now finally getting around to it.

Flyer produced the 3208 box car from 1928 to 1938, and Gilbert continued to carry it into 1939 and 1940 but numbered as 408.  The enameled cars were intended to replace the 3008 which was the lithographed version of the Box Car, of which mersenne6 has posted the variations available. The 3208 has a variety of colors on the body from light orange or cream to light yellow or tan. Greenburg's guide lists a total of 12 variations.  When I have tried to identify my examples using the descriptions in the book I rarely can identify my versions.  I think this is another example of being able to make a mini collection out of box cars alone.  This comes from Flyer's willingness to use up old stock as they were making transitions to new catalog descriptions and not being too worried about quality control, or what collectors 75 years in the future might think.

Here are the 6 examples that I have to date.

 

I believe this is the earliest example of the enameled freights that I have.  It has the older style of frame painted black, brass steps, type VII trucks, brass tags for number identification and "American Flyer Lines".  It also has a peacock blue roof and door, very similar to the color used on the Wide Gauge stock car.  It also has two brake wheels, but mine is missing the one on the left side even though the supports is still there.

This example shows a shift to a newer style of frame with the steps being integral to the frame, the door color and roof color are now actually a dark green and the identification tags have now switched to decals. It has the Type VIII trucks that followed the Type VII trucks.

The details on this 3208 are the same except for one major one.  Can you see what it is?

If you guessed that it was the brake wheel being on different ends you are very observant.

This is a variation noted in the Greenburg book and comes from using old stock or stamping from old dies.  The majority of the box cars were constructed with the side and right end stamped as one piece.  The less common variation is with the side and left end stamped as one piece.

This version is similar to the variations listed above with the new frame, and Type VIII trucks, and decal identification tags, but it has a light green roof, and a dark green door.  The light green roof matches the color used on some tank cars and other pieces in the 6 1/2" freight car line.

In 1938 Flyer introduces its sheet metal coupler - Type X, and Type XII truck.  The color of the body becomes much more orange.

Gilbert takes over in 1939 and that year and 1940 it catalogs the box car as #408.  It is still a dark orange and has Type XII trucks but now comes with the link and pin Type XI coupler.  My example had the link and pin couplers but my father converted it to the new Gilbert knuckle couplers some time after they introduced them in 1957.  He did this to a number of prewar cars that we owned.

This is the original box it came in so I am certain it is a 408.

These are the variations that I have to date and of course having a collector gene I am still looking for others.  If you have additional variations please post them.

Northwoods Flyer

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Posted by billbarman on Sunday, June 15, 2008 7:51 PM
Quick question, Are the numbs of the cars stamped on the bottom? The ones I hae=ve have no numbers on the side but some on the bottom.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, June 15, 2008 8:02 PM

Hi billbarman,

None of the examples of the box car that I have are stamped on the bottom. In fact the only one that has a number on it is the first example that I show, and that is because it has the brass number tag.  I don't know what the pattern is for Flyer stamping the numbers on the bottom of box cars, but I have seen examples shown on eBay where the number is stamped and sometimes the inspector number is stamped as well. I have also seen some for sale that have the patent date sticker on the bottom and even one that had the "how to oil" sticker.  Some of the other types of freight cars (and some passenger cars) that I have do have the number rubber stamped on the bottom.  Also, some of the box cars make use of the caboose frame with the hole stamped for the light fixture.  I don't have an example of that one either.

Northwoods Flyer

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Posted by billbarman on Sunday, June 15, 2008 9:09 PM
Wasnt takling about just the box car, I was talking about prewar flyer cars in general. But I do have a 4 wheeled orange box car that looks like a smaller version of the one you posted.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, June 15, 2008 9:18 PM

I have not been able to detect a pattern for how Flyer stamped the numbers on the bottoms of their freight cars or their passenger cars.  My observation is that the shorter freight cars tend to show up more often with the numbers stamped on the bottom.  I have some 6 1/2" freight cars with 8 wheels that are stamped.

Northwoods Flyer

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Posted by billbarman on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 7:19 PM

Nice! So if I posted some of the numbers do yuo think you would be able to identify them?

"No childhood should be without a train!"

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