3/25/2012 - Thanks to Terry Cornelius, the Layout Memories section now contains a page covering the Meier and Frank Department Store in Portland, Oregon. Of special interest is a photo of the Monorail that circled the toy department.
3/8/2012 - The Static Displays section of the website now contains a fantastic photo of a rare 1938 HO roundhouse display, thanks to Bill Drake.
3/2/2012 - Thanks to a tip from Richard Trotter, I found photos of the Chicago Hall of Science layout which were already posted elsewhere on the internet. After that I found a photo of the opening of that Hall of Science which is a part of Andy Jugle's collection. He gave me permission to display it on the website and this led to the creation of a new section to cover the Chicago Hall of Science, complete with links to the newly discovered photos as well as comments by George Sorensen, who remembers visiting that Hall of Science as a child back in the early 1950's.
1/2/2012 - Since the last update, there have been several changes, thanks to contributions by Lonny Beno.
12/17/2011 - There a lot of changes, both in format and content. First of all, the format of the website has been changed to operate better on mobile devices, which had a little bit of trouble with the previous frame based website. If you liked the old format better, it is still available by simply adding "/f" after the url, as in www.americanflyerdisplays.org/f .
As to the content, thanks to Richard Trotter, I now have catalog illustrations of two of the 1958 layouts that I only knew existed from reading about them in Robert Tufts' book on American Flyer Sets (The Almost Complete Guide to American Flyer S Gauge Sets). They are the 28117 and 28119 layouts.
Finally, thanks to Ray Mohrlang, who provided me with scanned copies of several photos of the third and largest of the 1st Floor layouts at the New York Hall of Science plus a lot of information on that layout.
8/7/2011 - A new section has been added to the Store Layouts section covering the Bob James Christmas window displays at the Bon Marche department store in Seattle, WA in the late 40's and early 50's. Sorry there are no photos available for use on the website, but the section directs you to two excellent articles in Classic Toy Trains magazine, one on the original layout and the other on a 1995 re-creation of the 1948 layout by Scott McAbee. Just click on the Bon Marche link at the left.
8/5/2011 - After some discussions with Ray Mohrlang, the owner of the largest collection of Gilbert Display Photos, I think I have finally identified the location of the 1956 Catalog photo. You can find information on this in the Promotional Displays section. Thanks to Ray, I also have a new illustration in the page covering the number 250 static display and have also revised some of the information in the section on the First Floor layouts at the New York Gilbert Hall of Science.
7/24/2011 - With the help of Jeff Faust, I have added his excellent illustration of the Sibley track plan. You can see it by clicking on the link in the paragraph below.
7/22/2011 - I have added two videos of the Sibley Department Store Layout, which was on display earlier in the month at the TCA Convention and National Train Show in Sacramento. The videos cover areas of the layout not previously included in the Atlantic Coast S Gaugers video from Youtube. One video was taken at the TCA Convention and the other at the National Train Show. The National Train show video is almost 3 minutes long. In addition I have also added an album of still shots of the layout, mostly taken at the TCA Convention. I hope you enjoy them. Link to Sibley Layout Home Page
6/16/2011 - Thanks to George Sorensen, I have added his memories of the Chicago Hall of Science. Go here and then click on the Gilbert Hall of Science, Chicago box in the left frame.
5/12/2011 - I have expanded and revised the section covering the first floor layouts at the New York Hall of Science to include all the information I have on those layouts. It may be a bit sketchy at present, but I hope some of you can add to it from your memories. Be sure to let me know if you can by emailing me at email@example.com . Link to First Floor Layouts
5/4/2011 - Emil Suda brought another article to my attention which I added to the bibliograpy. It is a 1992 followup by Bruce Manson to his original article from 1980. Link to Bibliography
4/18/2011 - I have been continuing my research and have learned a lot, which has prompted me to change several pages. Thanks to information provided by American Flyer collector Emil Suda, I have added three articles to the Bibliography. The articles cover 1) A Classic Toy Trains article on the Washington Hall of Science, 2) An American Flyer Collector's Column from S-Gaugian that discusses a wide variety of promotional American Flyer layouts and 3) An article by legendary Gilbert collector Bruce Manson in the Train Collector's Quarterly that provides a great deal of information on the history of the New York Gilbert Hall of Science, including the first floor layouts. Link to Bibliography
That last article provided me with very persuasive information that the layout pictured in the 1946 and 1947 catalogs as the "Railroad Empire" was actually the second layout to occupy the first floor of the New York Hall of Science. I had previously categorized it as a "concept layout," because I was not convinced that it had actually existed. That left only one layout, "The Complete Railroad System" in the concept category, which I now felt was better termed "Other Promotional Layouts." Link to First Floor Layouts
Finally, Mr. Suda shared his own research and
recollections with me concerning the FAO Schwarz layout and designer Billi Bowen and that
section has been changed to reflect that. Link to
FAO Schwarz Layout
2/15/2011 - A new page devoted to the #98 display from 1949 has been added. There is no catalog illustration, but the page includes the instructions and photos of a restored display as well as a RRTrack file and views. On the main menu, under Factory Displays, click "Layouts" and select "98."
1/30/2011 - The 1948 display catalog has been added to the catalogs section. In
addition, some new static displays from that year have been added to the static displays
section. Finally, thanks to Andy Jugle, photos of department store layouts at
G. Fox in Hartford, Connecticut and Wanamaker's in New York City have been added.
New catalog G. Fox layout Wanamaker's layout
1/9/2011 - I have added copies of the 1951, 1954, 1955, and 1957 display catalogs to the catalogs section. To view them, simply go the the catalog list and click on the link in the catalog number column. The new catalogs are highlighted in yellow. Click here to view the catalog index.
12/16/2010 - I have added RRTrack layout plans for some of the layouts recently added to the website.
12/11/2010 - I have added a section on what I call "Concept Layouts." These are the layouts that we can't be sure ever actually existed, other than in the mind's eye of the artist who created the catalog illustrations. Two cases in point start this section, The Complete Railroad System, suggested as a display by Gilbert, and the Railroad Empire, otherwise known as the "1946 Catalog Layout." Click here go to the Concept Layouts home page.
12/10/2010 - Thanks to information provided by Mike Schmidt and some research in Robert Tufts' book, The Almost Complete Guide to American Flyer Sets, some additional factory display layouts and static displays from as early as 1951 have been added. These layouts have no factory illustrations and there is very little information other than a catalog number and a general description. From some of those descriptions, though, I have been able to determine that some of them are probably just alternate numbers for previously described layouts and have included illustrations of what they probably looked like. In any case, if any of you have information, especially illustrations, I would welcome your assistance in completing the pages on these layouts. They are easily found by their absence of an illustration or the presence of a probable illustration. Click here go to the layouts section. Click here go to the static displays section.
11/26/2010 - Additional factory display layouts and static displays from 1957 have been added, including the Flyerama Display from catalog D2016. Click here go to the layouts section. Click here go to the static displays section. Look for the 1957 layouts or static displays in the index at the left.
11/25/2010 - Additional factory displays layouts from 1955 have been added. Click here go to that section. Look for the 1955 layouts in the index at the left.
11/19/2010 - Additional factory display layouts from 1954 have been added. Click here go to that section. Look for the 1954 layouts in the index at the left.
11/12/2010 - A new photo of a wider view of the left side of the layout from 1953 has been added to the section on the 2nd floor layout at the Hall of Science. Click here go to that section. Select the photo from the menu on the left.
10/20/2010 - Two major sections containing many new photos of the 2nd floor Hall of Science layout have been added. In addition, the overview section has been revised to include newly obtained information about the layout. The section related to changes in that layout over the years has also been revised with new photos and text. The new and revised sections are listed below.
10/16/2010 - Three additional Factory Display Layouts from 1957 have been added to that section. They are 28113, 28114, and 28115.
9/20/2010 - Additional display catalogs have been added to the display catalog listing and sources of reprints for catalogs not available online have been added. Click here to see the revised catalog listing.
9/9/2010 - New information on the rotating layouts has been added, including a link to a Popular Science article on how to construct one. Click here to go to that section.
9/4/2010 - The 1951 American Flyer layout at the Jordan Marsh department store in Boston has been added to the Store Layouts section. There is a link in that section to a photo which appears on the Bettman Archive website picturing the layout as it appeared in 1951. This photo would definitely like company, so if you have any photos of that layout or any others that you think your fellow Flyer fans might enjoy, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org .
8/20/2010 - A section devoted to the studio layout used in the filming of the Boys' Railroad Club TV program has been added. Click here to go to that section.
8/18/2010 - A section of still shots of the 2nd Floor layout captured from the Boys' Railroad Club TV program has been added. Click here to go to that section.
8/13/2010 - The Hall of Science 2nd Floor Layout Changes page as been updated to illustrate of the changes between the layout as shown in the Boys' Railroad Club and at the time of the Buckage photos.
Where we go from here
Slowly, but surely, the website is expanding thanks to the help of fellow collectors.