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American Flyer #0 & #1 engines c. 1907 to 1917

Fatman recently posted photos of an early Flyer Metzel type #1 engine that he found in Australia, wondering about its origins, so I thought I would post and discuss the variations of these engines and provide a timeline of the various changes that occurred to the castings/motors of these engines.

The first variation is the #0 from 1907

Features about this engine:

1) Red painted smokestack

2) Red stripe below the cab window

3) Red painted wheels, which have short flanges.  These wheels are significant, as they are only found on the 1907 engines.  The 1908 engines have wheels with taller flanges.  Also note that both the 1907 and 1908 wheels are red painted, as opposed to iridescent purple, as described in Greenberg's.  The red painted wheels are correct for the early engines.

4) 4 boiler bands (OK the front one is missing in this photo).  One thing to note about these 4 bands is that when compared to the later bands, they are narrower.

5) Although not shown, the motor does not have a speed governor.

The 1908 versions did have some carryover features from 1907, on some engines.  Here are 3 different 1908 engines

First off, these 3 photos show the difference between the #0 and #1 engines.  The #0 engine is the first photo shown, which does not have drive rods, as there is no hole in the rear wheel to install them, and more importantly, there is no hole drilled in the steamchest for the drive rod to insert into.  Additionally, the #1 engine has the handrail along the top of the boiler, versus the #0 which is missing the handrail.

The various features of the engines:

1) Note that the middle engine has the remains of a red painted smokestack, versus the other engines, which do not have the red smokestack

2) Note that all wheels have taller flanges than the 1907 engine and are still red painted.

3) Note the key pictured on photo 3's engine.  This is a correct 1907-1908 key.  I have two of them and they both came on my 1908 engines.

4) Although not pictured, the 1908 and later motors all have speed governors.

5) Note the 2 piece drive rods.  This type of drive rod is found on the engines that date from 1908 to c. 1910. 

6) Note the colors of the stripes below the cab windows.  In particular, I want to point out the gold painted stripe on the engine in photo 3.  Greenberg's does not report a gold painted stripe on these engines, yet here it is.  This engine came out of a boxed set that I purchased from the original owner's family, so I have no problem stating that it is original, due to the provenance of who I purchased the set from and the condition of the rest of the set.

I can only guess as to the dates of the next grouping of engines as being from c. 1909 to 1910.  Here are photos of the engines.

The primary differences between the above 2 engines and the 1908 engines are the iridescent redish/purplish wheels.  Again, these would be #0 engines, because they do not have drive rods.  They also have different color stripes below the cab windows.

The following engines date from approximately 1910 to 1911/12.  I cannot say for certain when the casting or number of boiler bands change on these engines, but those appear to be the approximate periods, so I leave the dates of these engines to being approximates.

So in approximately 1910 the boiler casting was changed on these engines.  Note that the cab roof is longer and extends beyond the end of the cab.  Also note that the steam chest changes to incorporate a guide for the drive rods.  The engines pictured are both #0 engines, as the rear wheels on them do not have a means to attach a drive rod.

Somewhere around 1912, the boiler again changes, but this time the change is very slight.  The 1912-1913 engines are pictured below

The change of the casting relates to the number of boiler bands, going from 4 bands to 2 bands.  There is also a change to some of the castings to include 2 holes below the cab windows.  My understanding is that Flyer thought of having number/nameplates below the windows, but opted not to do it for some reason.  I cannot provide any dating to when the holes below the windows occurred, other than to say that they do not appear on engines with 4 boiler bands and do not appear on the engines with later wheels.

A note on the top photo.  The engine has a set of brass boiler bands over a set of steel boiler bands.  I suspect that someone added the brass boiler bands at some point, but do not want to remove them.

The following engines date to 1914-1915

Each of the above engines have cast iron, machined, 6-spoke drivers, which are characteristic of 1914 and 1915 engines only.  I know that the #15 engines of 1914 & 1915 had red wheels one year and black wheels one year, but do not know if that is the same for the #0 & #1 engines of this era.

On to 1916 - 1917

These engines represent the last use of the Metzel type casting.  The casting again changes, this time to incorporate cast rivet detail.  The motors also get new 10-spoke cast iron wheels, which are no longer machined.

There are two different colors noted on the engines in my collection.  The red painted wheels appear to have come with 1916 sets and the black painted wheels appear to have come with 1917 sets.  Note also that the drive rod design changes for the engine with the black painted wheels.


Last edited by Nation Wide Lines
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