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Old 07-23-2018, 01:58 AM   #12
Decapod401
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Originally Posted by miningcamper1 View Post
American Flyer O-gauge? Wow. Didn't know there were such animals 'til now! Sounds like something super-rare.
American Flyer was a Chicago-based company that made O and standard gauge trains starting in the early teens. In the mid thirties, besides having some low-end tinplate offerings, AF had a broad selection that included midrange and high-end items. Most notable were passenger trains that included several variants of a Zephyr, a City of Denver UP streamliner, and a Hiawatha train that rivaled Lionel's.

The Great Depression wasn't kind to American Flyer, and the company was sold to the A. C. Gilbert company (the Erector Set folks) of New Haven Connecticut in 1938. While living with some of the legacy AF line, Gilbert immediately embarked on the introduction of a series of rolling stock that was scaled to 3/16" proportions while rolling on O gauge trucks and running gear. There were pressed steel freight and passenger cars, and high-end die-cast freight and heavyweight passenger cars. To pull them, Gilbert introduced a series of die-cast steam locomotives, including a RDG 4-4-2, a PRR K-5 Pacific, a B&O streamlined Royal Blue 4-6-2, an NYC Hudson, and a UP 4-8-4. In 1941, Gilbert added an NKP 0-8-0. Unfortunately the company was experimenting with metallurgy, and much of the year's die-cast production crumbled, so any extant 0-8-0's are basket cases.

After the war (toy train production was halted during WWII), AF's line was retooled with S-gauge running gear and 2-rail track. . All of the steamers returned, but inly the die-cast Virginian hopper and the sheet metal auto unloader were not converted to bakelite or plastic.

The so-called 3/16 O is a very collectible niche of American Flyer. I've managed to pick up many of the pieces over the years, but I still don't have an 0-8-0.
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