American Flyer Displays & History


Classic Toy Trains S Gaugian Train Collector's Quarterly Other Sources

Classic Toy Trains Magazine


Date & Author


Bill Stulla Recalls his Years as TV's Engineer Bill

April 1992, pg. 110

Roger Carp

Four page article covering many details of Bill Stulla's career as Engineer Bill and how this children's television show came to be.   Also presents some information about the history of children's television in Southern California.  It features several photos related to the show and its layouts and discusses the role played by the local Gilbert representative in making this show.

The Marvelous American Flyer Display Layouts

August 1992, pg. 55

 Roger Carp

Six page article which tells of the work of Gilbert layout builder, Frank Castiglione and some of the other layout builders who worked in the Gilbert display department. Contains excellent photos of both the 1st and 2nd Floor Hall of Science layout, as well a layout constructed for Electra Webb. She and her husband were close friends of A.C. Gilbert.

The Magic of Bob James' American Flyer Window Displays

November 1993, pg. 88

Roger Carp


Six page article detailing the efforts of Bob James in creating spectacular window displays for the Bon Marche department store in Seattle where he worked. Includes photos of the spectacular 1948 & 1949 displays which featured three S Gauge loops and two HO loops.

Free Spirit of AC Gilbert Co.

March 1994, pg. 96

Jim & Mary Ellen Walsh


The Story of Marshall Frisbie, Gilbert's Chief Engineer

Roar of the Rails

November 1994, pg. 93

John Huster

Three page article tells the story of the production of what is probably the world's first "infomercial," Roar of the Rails, a 15 minute television program showcasing American Flyer Trains. The series used a combination of live actors and American Flyer Trains running on two different display layouts to tell railroad related stories. Photos of scenes from the production are included. 7 episodes of the series are available on a video created from recently discovered kinescopes (television images on film).

Travel back to the Washington Hall of Science

May 1995, pg. 102

Roger Carp

An overview of the history of the Gilbert Hall of Science located in Washington, D.C.   It includes some excellent and rare photos of the layouts in that facility.

Recreating an S Gauge Masterpiece

July 1995, pg. 59

Michael T. Kolosseus

Four page article presenting the efforts of Scott McAbee in recreating the 1948 Seattle Bon Marche Department Store layout for display in that store during the 1994 holiday season. Includes photos of the layout both in its completed state and during construction.

Bringing American Flyer to the West

September 1995, pg. 94

Roger Carp

This six page article presents an overview of A.C. Gilbert merchandising efforts on the west coast. Individuals highlighted include, Al Ormsbee, Al Auger, Mel Heininger, Raymond Losi, & Bob Schanzer. The article notes the work of these individuals in preparing store displays and obtaining product placement of American Flyer displays in television production. Several photos of custom displays are contained in the article.

Time to Watch The Boys' Railroad Club

March 1996, pg. 104

John Huster

A review of the TV series produced in 1950, an example of an early informercial. Also discusses the predecessor to this series, Roar of the Rails, which was broadcast in 1948 and 1949.

Flyer Survivor

May 1998, pg 84

Jeff Faust

Three page article which tells the story of how the Display layout from Sibley's Department Store in Rochester, N.Y. was preserved. The article also presents the track plan and notes that a virtual twin of this layout was used in the filming of the Boy's Railroad Club television programs.

Field Trip to Paradise

January 2008, pg. 66

Raymond Crapo &
Patrick De Marco

This article tells the story of visit to both the Lionel showroom and the Gilbert Hall of Science, complete with 3 of the 9 color photos De Marco took at the Hall of Science in 1957.   It shows the layout as it was after two major renovations, the first in 1953 and the second in 1957.   Compared to the 1950-51 photos in the Buckage Collection, major differences can be noted.

Working in Gilbert's Display Department

November 2010, pg. 68

Bruce F. Carter

This article focuses on Ray Palumbo, one of the workers in the display department who participated in the construction of the 2nd floor layout at the New York Hall of Science.  The article features 2 construction photos of the layout and a photograph of all 8 individuals who built the layout.    Unfortunately, only 4 of the 8 individuals are identified, Ledge Kastner, Frank Castiglione, Ray Palumbo and Art Mauzaka.

S Gaugian Magazine

(AFCC = American Flyer Collector's Column)


Date & Author


Article on Boys RR Club

Jul-Aug 1984, pg. 29

AFCC-Gilbert Display Layouts (including Boys' Railroad Club Layout)

Jan-Feb 1985, pg. 33

Paul C. Nelson

An overview of all the promotional layouts used by A.C. Gilbert to promote American Flyer trains, including department store layouts, factory prepared display layouts, Hall of Science layouts, and an update on the status of the original layout used in the Boys' Railroad Club television show.

AFCC-Roar of the Rails

Nov-Dec 1994, pg. 40

Paul C. Nelson

Detailed description of series and a typical episode.

AFCC-AF Badlands Display

Jan-Feb 2000, pg. 37

Robert J. Tufts

Brief description and photo of 1960 Badlands Display No. 28135 and variations in unit owned by Mike Vana


Jul-Aug 2001, pg. 33

Robert J. Tufts

Information on the tunnels used on displays 28113 and 28119. Column also contains information on when Boy's RR Club programs aired

Recreating the Gilbert #401 Display

Jul-Aug 2002, pg. 18

Gene Probasco

Outlines the construction process for re-creating this popular display.

AFCC-Action Displays

Sep-Oct 2002, pg. 40

Robert J. Tufts

Brief description of similarity and differences between displays 28113 and 28119 displays

AFCC-AF Dealer Displays

Jan-Feb 2004, pg. 37

Robert J. Tufts

AFCC-Flyerama displays

May-Jun 2004, pg. 40

Robert J. Tufts

AFCC-AF at New York City Hall of Science, Part I

Mar-Apr 2006, pg. 32

Robert J. Tufts

AFCC-AF at New York City Hall of Science, Part II

May-Jun 2006, pg. 31

Robert J. Tufts

Train Collector's Quarterly

(available online to T.C.A. members at   


Date & Author


The Gilbert Hall of Science

Fall 1980
(Vol. 26, No.5)
pg. 11

Bruce Manson
with Maury Romer

An excellent article on the New York Hall of Science including stories of its opening and several photos of the rarely photographed first floor layouts, including the o gauge layouts of the early 40's.  It also presents Bruce Manson's theories concerning the "Railroad Empire" layout pictured in the 1946 and 1947 catalogs.

The Gilbert Hall of Science - Update and Then Some

October 1992
(Vol. 38, No.5)
pg. 28

Bruce Manson

An update to the Fall 1980 Article including new information.

A Gilbert Store Display Layout

October 2007
(Vol. 53, No.4)
pg. 10

Charlie & Clay Buckage

A brief article about the Sibley Department store purchased and restored by Charlie and Clay Buckage.  Includes color photos of the layout on display.

"Gifts Galore" - Galore

Fall 2013, (Vol. 59, No.4) Page 12

Paul Ambrose

An article covering the Gifts Galore promotions organized by the Druggist's Service Council, many of which involved toy trains.

Other Sources


Date & Author


A.C. Gilbert's Heritage

Heimburger House - 1983

Donald J. Heimburger

An excellent source including past articles from S Gaugian magazine as well as reproductions of various Gilbert publications, including the D1511 display catalog.

Greenberg's Guide to American Flyer S Gauge - 3rd Edition - 1988 - Overview at Page 16

Greenberg Publishing Company, 1988 (Similar article in 1984 edition.  Article in 1980 edition does not cover Frank Edgcombe material on department store & other Gilbert layouts.

Linda Greenberg

(Frank Edgcombe)

An interesting general discussion of some of the department store and other TV and public display layouts.  Also discusses the Hall of Science layouts.

Scale Modeling at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad

Published by Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, 2000

William H. L. Dornette

Reviews the model railroad layouts of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad over the years and also provides a set of plans for various B & O rolling stock.  Used in researching the origins of the 1956 catalog cover, but did not establish any B & O connection.

The Man Who Lives In Paradise Published by Heimburger House (2nd Printing)

A.C. Gilbert with Marshall McClintock
An autobiography of A.C. Gilbert with asides by Marshall McClintock.
The Uses of Real Estate Published by Eli Whitney Museum

Steve Ebinger
An online article available at: