The American Flyer Complete Railroad
Catalog illustration Courtesy of myflyertrains.org
|This illustration is from the 1946 American Flyer Consumer Catalog. Click on the illustration to examine it in greater detail.|
The Dealer Display Suggestion
"Moreover, experience proves that there is virtually no limit to the amount of cars, track, equipment, etc., the scale model railroader will buy once you have planted the "system" idea in his head. The more he has, the more he still wants." A.C. Gilbert Co. - 1947
The consumer catalog wasn't the only place this layout was presented. In the Dealer Advance catalogs of 1946 and 1947, its virtues as a store display were were presented. The illustrations below are from the 1947 Advance Catalog and give you and idea of the pitch Gilbert made. It looks like he had us pegged.
One major drawback to Gilbert's suggestion is that it required a bit of work on the part of the store to make a display that rivaled the artist's conception shown in the above illustration. Of course the stores had a wide latitude and could make the display simple by just setting up the equipment in the 4622 Complete Railroad System set on a table. Another even more major drawback to this display idea was the fact that the 4622 set was not produced until November 1947. This delay came about because of labor problems, material shortages, the diversion of resources to the development of the smoke in boiler units, and production problems related to the number 14 Rectiformer, which was essential to the operation of the DC 0-8-0's and Northerns. In fact even AC 0-8-0's and Northerns were rare in 1946 with the only supply being the models that were made for the 1946 New York Toy Fair and the Gilbert Hall of Science. In order to produce a two train set, the factory did release an uncataloged 4624 set in 1946, substituting a Hudson and a Pennsy K5 as motive power with a few car and accessory substitutions. 1 This set could also have been utilized as a display.
I think it is possible that one or more stores tried something along these lines, probably in 1947. If anyone knows of any relics of such a display, please let me know, so we can perhaps feature it on the website. In any case, this display could be the inspiration for a recreation with a classic touch. Build your own faux history.
Catalog images below courtesy of Lonny Beno
1 In The Almost Complete Guide to American Flyer S Gauge Sets, by Robert J. Tufts, Flyernut Publishing, Chantilly, VA, 1999, Mr. Tufts has noted that the 4624 was also referred to as the 4622A (Page 8), but does not list that nomenclature in his full listing of sets. (Page 48) After considering other information provided by collector Lonny Beno, it appears unlikely that the 4622A nomenclature is a reference to the 4624 substitute set. While an A suffix was normally used to indicate an AC powered set, as the 4624 certainly was, that set contained totally different locomotives and also some different rolling stock and accessories. The nomenclature of 4622A can be found on a late 1946 version of the Eastern zone price list but it is unlikely that the set referred to on that price list was the substitute 4624 set, as the price shown was much higher than that charged for the substitute set. In that price list, the 4622A had a price of $187.50. An advertising mat for what is obviously the 4624 set shows a price of $139.50 It is possible that Gilbert had planned an AC version of the 4622 set, but never produced it, settling instead on the 4624 substitute set for the rest of 1946, with the DC 4622 set released in 1947.