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Catalog No. 433
Category Steam Locomotive
Description 0-6-0 Pennsylvania
Catalog References at 1955 1956

According to Charles Sommer's American Flyer HO Price Guide and Checklist, the silver stamping on the bottom identifies the unit as being from early 1955 production.

At the time of the transition of the entire American Flyer line from 3 digit to 5 digit numbering, there was also another transition going on in Gilbert HO and that was the transition from cast drivers with the familiar white sidewalls and steel rims to plastic drivers with cast aluminum rims. This affected the 433, 443, and 446. In theory, these should all have had the cast drivers with white sidewalls and steel rims, but numerous examples have been found of 3 digit locomotives with plastic drivers and aluminum rims. Given Gilbert's penchant for always attempting to utilize old stock before producing new, this suggests that the factory may have run out of old mechanisms before they ran out of shells.   It could also indicate that Gilbert was experimenting with chassis revisions.

There appear to be 4 variations of this locomotive.  

The first two constituted the bulk of production and vary only in that the Type 1 has the Gilbert stamp on the bottom and Type 2 does not.   Type 2 is by far the most common.  Type 1 locomotives would be date stamped in 1955 and Type 2 in 1956 and early 1957.

The aluminum driver 433's are of two types.

Type 3 has the old Gilbert motor, a slightly modified chassis with "ears" beneath the motor mounting area, and aluminum rim drivers on plastic wheels without Pull-mor.  The rims have a tendency to separate from the plastic wheels.  Date stamps would be from late 1957 (October in examples found)

Type 4 has the new Pitman motor, further chassis modifications under the motor mounting area, and aluminum rim drivers on plastic wheels with Pull-mor tires on the geared axle wheels.  Date stamps are usually from late 1957 (October in examples found).  Recently, however, a type 4 locomotive has been found with a 1958 date stamp, but the month is not readable.

See the photo below for distinctions in the various types.

A 433 with plastic drivers and aluminum rims (Type 3) is also pictured below.  A photo of a Type 3 (based on appearance of motor in photo) can be found on page 242 of David Doyle's book "Standard Catalog of American Flyer Trains." No mention is made in that book that this is a variation.

Special thanks to Joe King and Dom San Giovanni for the research to complete this page.

433do.jpg (191912 bytes)
Type 1 or 2 - Daryl Olszeski Collection

Gilbert HO stamped unit
Type 1 - Dom San Giovanni Collection
433 with aluminum drivers
Type 3 - Dom San Giovanni Collection
433 type differentiation
Photo and annotations by Joe King 
433.jpg (95226 bytes)
433cap.jpg (75273 bytes)
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