Catalog No. Description
8 American Flyer Train in Action Display
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1940 AF Display
Photo courtesy of Bill Drake
Full Image

This collection of display components was available to dealers as the Number 8 Display and is shown in dealer catalogs of 1941 and 1943.  The shelves are essentially five 60 inch Number 4 Displays placed end to end for a total width in excess of 25 feet.  The center portion with the train was called the "Action Display" and supposedly gave the impression of movement through the lighting and shadows in the illustration.  To the left and right of the "Action Display" are 10 foot photo murals which are mirror images of each other.   This display appears to completely display the 1940 American Flyer product line.  Bill Drake, who provided this photo believes that it may have occupied the space on the second floor of the Hall of Science later occupied by the large sales layout built in 1949-1950.  This is consistent with other early photos of the Hall of Science which show widespread use of these display components.  It may well have been one of the initial displays in the New York Hall of Science which was dedicated on September 17, 1941.  We know that the building actually opened at least as early as March of 1941 because that issue of Playthings magazine contains a Gilbert advertisement for the Hall of Science. 1  2  This earlier opening date would explain why the 1940 product line would be prominently displayed.  The side mural photos of the train yard appear to be a version of the mirror image photos later used in the 150 display.  On this display, however, the photos are switched from side to side with the train on the curved track occupying the outside edge of the photo rather than the inside edge, as is the case on the 150 display.  These photos definitely show a wider view of the side murals than the photos shown in the 150 catalog illustration, but it is most likely that the 150 contained these same murals.  The 150 display was 27 feet wide and I would estimate this one to be approximately the same size.  Click on the image to see a high resolution version of this photo.


1 The Gilbert Hall of Science, by Bruce Manson, with Maury Romer - Train Collector's Quarterly, Fall 1980, Vol. 26, No. 5, page 11 at pages 16 & 17  Link to this issue and article in the TCQ (available to TCA members only)

2 The Gilbert Hall of Science - Update and Then Some, by Bruce Manson - Train Collector's Quarterly, October 1992, Vol. No. 5, page 28 at pages 32 & 33  Link to this issue and article in the TCQ (available to TCA members only)