American Flyer 727 Curved Rubber Roadbed and Track With "Sharp As Nails" Track Pins - Can Anyone Identify These Items?

In doing a bit of reorganizing I located a box with American Flyer Rubber Roadbed including (American Flyer 727 Curved Roadbed) and, curved and straight track with steel pins that are sharp as nails.  [These track don't seem terribly safe for children.] There is also the straight AF Rubber roadbed, although I didn't copy the product number.  

The roadbed is marked "THE A. C. GILBERT CO. NEW HAVEN. CONN. U. S. A."  There also appears to be the designation, "PA - 1138[?] PAT PEND".  I recall obtaining this track and roadbed with some Super "0" track from a local hobby store that was closing about 25 years ago.

Can anyone identify this track and roadbed?

Cordially,  Dennis

The Water Level Route

Original Post

Well the roadbed is for the 2 rail S gauge  American Flyer track. lots of info and pictures found here. Surprised to hear the pins are that sharp. It is thinner than Lionel O gauge track pins and does have an angled tip. Sounds like you have some run of the mill American Flyer track and roadbed.

Mark

Those sharp pins are scary and could potentially cause a nasty puncture wound. I hadn't seen them before on AF track until about a year or so ago when my dad picked up some track and and switches on Ebay. If I recall correctly, the one '40s era #720 switch that he got had those sharp pins, as did a couple of the pieces of track.

Not only are they dangerous, but the seem to slide relatively easily back into the track.

C W Burfle posted:

American Flyer wasn't alone in using sharp track pins. Over the years I've seen plenty of tubular track with track pins that looked like the pointed end of a nail. Judging by the way the pins were inserted, they did not look to be user installed.

I had also concluded that the pins were shipped this way by the manufacturer, although, as you state, each of the pins literally looks like the point of a nail.

Cordially,  Dennis

The Water Level Route

  As a kid I managed to puncture my thumb a few times with Super O pins, so thinner ones for AF, did a number on some other thumbs, I'm sure.  I didn't care; once the pain and blood stopped anyhow, I was always right back at it. But per Capt. Mom, I only got new tubular O-27 from then on in

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Interestingly, I brought the roadbed to the local hobby store, since I wanted it to be preserved if the roadbed could be useful to an AF aficionado The first question asked, was, "Do you have any straights?"  When I said no, he indicated that the only reason he bought curves from someon was to get the straight sections of the roadbed.  He has plenty of curved sections.

I laughed to myself, now understanding why a hobby shop that was closing had only 53 sections of curved roadbed!!!

Having been in business since the early 1980's, the hobby store owner was also familiar with the older, 3-rail AF track with the nail-like pins -- obviously an antiquated design, but probably very effective in holding the track together for "floor" layouts.

Cordially,  Dennis

The Water Level Route

Dennis GS-4 N & W No. 611 posted:

Interestingly, I brought the roadbed to the local hobby store, since I wanted it to be preserved if the roadbed could be useful to an AF aficionado. The first question asked was "Do you have any straights?"  When I said no, he indicated that the only reason he bought curves from someone was to get the straight sections of the roadbed.  He has plenty of straights.

 

Did you mean to say he had plenty of curved sections? And wanted straights?

This is the typical thing about AF track and the rubber roadbed. There were most likely three times as many curves as straights available for resale. Why? Because sets were usually sold with track to run the trains. Included would be 12 curves (to make a circle) and maybe 4 straights (to change the circle into an oval).

Layout builders were always searching for the straight sections to make long straightaways and re-sellers sometimes charged a lot more for the straight sections. The same probably goes for the roadbed as you would need 3X as many curves as the straights to make the oval.

Finding straight sections of the roadbed is a bit harder to do.

Mark

banjoflyer posted:
Dennis GS-4 N & W No. 611 posted:

Interestingly, I brought the roadbed to the local hobby store, since I wanted it to be preserved if the roadbed could be useful to an AF aficionado. The first question asked was "Do you have any straights?"  When I said no, he indicated that the only reason he bought curves from someone was to get the straight sections of the roadbed.  He has plenty of straights.

 

Did you mean to say he had plenty of curved sections? And wanted straights?

This is the typical thing about AF track and the rubber roadbed. There were most likely three times as many curves as straights available for resale. Why? Because sets were usually sold with track to run the trains. Included would be 12 curves (to make a circle) and maybe 4 straights (to change the circle into an oval).

Layout builders were always searching for the straight sections to make long straightaways and re-sellers sometimes charged a lot more for the straight sections. The same probably goes for the roadbed as you would need 3X as many curves as the straights to make the oval.

Finding straight sections of the roadbed is a bit harder to do.

Mark

Thanks Mark.  I did mean to say that the hobby store owner had plenty of curved sections, and amended my above post.  Your explanation as to why there is a shortage of AF straight track and AF straight roadbed makes perfect sense.  Was that more likely to occur with AF track because a large percentage of Postwar AF sales involved sets rather than individual track sections?  I don't recall a similar problem with Lionel  O-27 or O gauge track.

Cordially,  Dennis

The Water Level Route

Dennis GS-4 N & W No. 611 posted:
 Was that more likely to occur with AF track because a large percentage of Postwar AF sales involved sets rather than individual track sections?  I don't recall a similar problem with Lionel  O-27 or O gauge track.

Could be. Flyer S gauge track first appeared in 1946. Prior to that there simply wasn't any AF straight track in S scale. As to Lionel their track remained essentially the same pre- and post- war. So there could well have been lots of Lionel straight track to be found.

From '46 on if you wanted more AF straights you were more likely to get them from a hobby shop than elsewhere. Straights were sold as a separate sale item in lots of 12 usually. I guess if an owner was going to build a layout they would usually need more curves than straights. This page from the original 1946 catalog shows suggested layout configurations and nearly all of them require more curves than straights:

So after you bought your set (which had more curves than straights) and began to build your railroad empire you would need to acquire more curves than straights ....again leading to a shortage of straights in the future.

Mark

 I don't recall a similar problem with Lionel  O-27 or O gauge track.

The same issue is present for Lionel 027, 0 and Super 0 track. Curves are plentiful and hard to sell. Straight tracks are what most people want.
Might as mention, in my experience, the same is true for slot car track made by Lionel or Atlas in both HO and "standard" scales.
I imagine its no different for Aurora .

C.W. Burfle

I had quite a lot of the AF track with rubber roadbed, but I don't remember ever stabbing myself with the track pins. Later my dad bought flexible 3-foot brass track sections with fibre ties and matching closed-frog switches with which to build a permanent Layout. I also had a variety of construction sets, some with small plastic parts and others with lots of small metal parts including nuts and bolts, but I don't remember ever choking on them or trying to eat them. I guess these things could be classified as "potential" hazards, but I don't recall any actual problems from playing with them.

I have crates full of Gilbert S gauge track, none of the track pins are sharp pointed and even as a small child I never cut myself or punctured a finger with a piece of track. Most all the track pins are slightly rounded off at the ends.

Mark's post of the Gilbert catalogue page eloquently makes the point of the straight versus curve track ratio. In a system that uses 12 curves to complete a circle it requires a lot of space to use more straight pieces than curves. An around the walls would be the easiest. My dad picked track plan #9 for our layout. Adding 14 more pieces of straight track would have made it a really large layout.

Tom

Thanks, great info!

Did Postwar Flyer ever make 3' straight sections?  

As to the original post, the track with the sharp pins was 3-rail American Flyer track.  The following post is an excellent description, and is identical to my initial examination and evaluation of the track:  C W Burfle posted:

       "American Flyer wasn't alone in using sharp track pins. Over the years I've seen plenty of tubular track with track pins that looked like the pointed end of a nail. Judging by the way the pins were inserted, they did not look to be user installed."

I honestly thought someone had run out of track pins and fashioned them from nails -- Obviously a different era.

Cordially,  Dennis

The Water Level Route

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