Introducing the Gilbert American Flyer HO Index
A Catalog Reference with Photos and Commentary

This website was originally conceived to be a simple reference to the Gilbert American Flyer HO trains that appeared in the catalogs, with links to the online catalogs from the MyFlyerTrains.org website.  Chuck Harrington, who created that site, and those who contributed catalogs, have provided a great resource for collectors of the trains manufactured by the A.C. Gilbert Company.  From that modest beginning things sort of took off, with interested Gilbert HO collectors offering me photos of their collections to put on the website.    After much work by these individuals taking the pictures and by me putting them on the website, it grew into an almost complete photo collection of all the HO items manufactured by the A.C. Gilbert Company.   At present, there are only 2 items of rolling stock (both of questionable existence) and 1 accessory (a tunnel) that are not illustrated with a photo.  Our photos of track and power items are not quite as complete with about 50 items remaining un-illustrated by photos.

More recently several collectors have provided information and photos about production variations and these have also been added.  In addition to these variations, collectors have also provided photos of some production prototypes and other one of a kind or unusual items and we now showcase these in a special section.  One thing that was missing was information concerning uncataloged sets.  After obtaining a copy of Maury Romer's list of 5 digit production, I have created a list of potential uncataloged sets based on what was planned by Gilbert.  Thanks to generous collectors, we have documented several of these sets and now have photos of many of them in their own section on the website.

For some reason, Gilbert items have been imitated by many manufacturers, even down to using the Gilbert catalog numbers on the cars.  The HO examples have also been documented, with the assistance of several collectors.

Finally, thanks principally to Joe King, we have a section devoted to the reproductions and "what if" items he created several years ago.

As you can see, this website has grown far beyond what it started out as and now serves as a place for the recording an preservation of the vast storehouse of information possessed by a community of dedicated Gilbert HO collectors and enthusiasts.  It is really their website.

This index is not intended as a replacement any books that are available on the subject of Gilbert American Flyer HO, some of which are not easy to obtain.  To my knowledge, there are 3 books available that cover the subject of Gilbert American Flyer HO.

The first of these works is Gilbert American Flyer HO, 1938-1963 by Gary Klein.  This book, which is now in its 5th edition, is available as a Kindle book at Amazon.com.   You can click here for information on how to order this book.  The first edition was in hard bound form and the second edition was available on CD ROM, complete with color photographs and 3 dimensional views.  The 3rd & 4th editions were spiral bound with plastic covers.  A 6th and possibly final edition is being planned.

The second book covering Gilbert HO is The Standard Catalog of American Flyer Trains, by David Doyle, which devotes a chapter to them, but lists only rolling stock and accessories with no separate listing of the sets.  This book is currently available from many bookstores and online merchants.

The third book is a reference work by Charles Sommer, which appears to be out of print.  It is surprisingly short, consisting of only 38 pages in text only format, but contains a lot of information that is not available elsewhere.  There are no plans for revision or reprint of this guide.

All of these books are valuable references and I strongly recommend them to anyone with a serious interest in A.C. Gilbert HO trains. 

I wish to thank Chuck Harrington for allowing me to use images from his website to illustrate the items on this website.  I also wish to thank Daryl Olszeski whose contributions of photographs of his collection helped this website to become more than just the catalog index it started out to be.  I also wish to thank Gary Klein and Paul Beno who helped immensely by providing photos of some of the harder to find items.  It was their work that transformed this website in its early years.  Dom San Giovanni also contributed a great deal to the coverage of variations and oddities with photos of his collection.  Joe King's contributions were significant, not only as to his reproductions, but as to production variations.  With each new photo, I learn more about these interesting trains and will attempt to share that new knowledge with you.

I welcome your contributions in the form of additional photos, new information, or correction of errors.  Even though the pages were thoroughly checked before putting them on the web, there are bound to be errors.  You can contact me at gilbertafho@att.net.  I hope you enjoy using these pages.

 

Dale Smith