American Flyer Trains & Gilbert Toys Catalogue (1952)

This 1952 catalogue from Gilbert Toys showcased the ongoing refinement and expansion of the American Flyer brand almost 15 years after the company acquired it.

In addition to a variety of scale-model train sets, accessories, a la carte train cars, and track equipment, Gilbert outlined several features designed to appeal to collectors and railroader hobbyists, including:

  • Real Smoke: Smoke capsules could produce plumes of white smoke and a “realistic fire-box glow” thanks to the use of electric bulbs.
  • Two-Rail “T” Track: American Flyer trains ran on tracks that mimicked what was used by their full-sized counterparts. The design gave American Flyer trains increased traction, allowing them to pull more and climb higher.
  • Authentic Sound Effects: Trains emitted “Choo-Choo” sounds that self-adjusted based on the train’s speed.
  • Accurate Scale Modeling: American Flyer’s 3/16-inch scale reflected the length and sweep of real trains.
  • Knuckle Couplers: Individual cars were connected using knuckle couplers that were scaled to correct freight and passenger car proportions.

The back third of the catalogue was devoted to Gilbert Toys’ other offerings, including Erector Sets, Microscope and Chemistry Sets, Tool Chests, and Mysto Magic Sets.