Skip to main content

Christmas came a few weeks later for me this year but it was worth the wait! Thanks to Dave Corbett I am the proud owner of this beautiful original wide set. When we talked about it he said it was an uncatalogued version of the Century Olympian set that he pulled out of an attic in Chicago. I looked through the Greenberg Guide to American Flyer Wide Gauge and also Russel Parks book but I see no reference to this set. Any info would be greatly appreciated. The set has a 4682 engine\tender combo with the 4671 tender and 4680 steamer without the ringing bell manufactured in 1933. The cars are in great shape, they are the same 4350 Club, 4351 Pullman, and 4352 Observation car that are in the Stadium set except the engine isn't a Saint Paul 4683 or Century set except there is one less Pullman car  and the Steam engine isn't the 4694 combo used in that set. Once I get done adding my trestle bridge to my layout I'll get some video of this beauty.

     Thanks,

          Jon



Last edited by Jon Edwards
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

I have an identical set in the original box.  I always thought it was the Century set, but I re-read the 1933 description of the Century set in the catalog and it clearly describes the set having a bell ringer and the extra pullman.

Sadly, my setbox does not have a readable number or name on the label.

Mine came from the Bloomington-Normal area.

NWL

Last edited by Nation Wide Lines

I have an identical set in the original box.  I always thought it was the Century set, but I re-read the 1933 description of the Century set in the catalog and it clearly describes the set having a bell ringer and the extra pullman.

Sadly, my setbox does not have a readable number or name on the label.

Mine came from the Bloomington-Normal area.

NWL

Update: After talking with Dave and combing through the Parks AF book he realized it was an uncatalogued version of the Century set. Such a beautiful color for a set.

      Jon

I have an identical set in the original box.  I always thought it was the Century set, but I re-read the 1933 description of the Century set in the catalog and it clearly describes the set having a bell ringer and the extra pullman.

Sadly, my setbox does not have a readable number or name on the label.

Mine came from the Bloomington-Normal area.

NWL

@Jon Edwards posted:

Update: After talking with Dave and combing through the Parks AF book he realized it was an uncatalogued version of the Century set. Such a beautiful color for a set.

      Jon

@Rob English posted:

I have had 2 of these, and they are more populous than the Stadium set that the cars were also in. Interesting the car configurations between the years and sets.



Oh, the infamous century set that is often talked about in American Flyer circles.  The set everyone wants to own, claims to own, yet often doesn't necessarily understand.  Rob and I have discussed (or perhaps argued?) this set several times, so its time for me to finally write this up and share.



Let's take a little trip through the catalogs:

1931.  The only year the #1479 "Stadium" is cataloged with the 4683 St. Paul type electric locomotive and the 3 blue/red roof cars discussed and pictured above (4350, 4351, & 4352).  These passenger cars were also offered for separate sale in the back of the catalog.  This set is known to exist and can be found, although not very often.  Probably because it was offered right along side the "Lone Scout" with blue litho cars, the two sets looked very similar (in color anyway), but the Stadium was $4.00 more expensive.  Most customers and wholesalers likely purchased the Lone Scout instead.



1932.  The 1492 "Century" set appears for the first time in the catalog.  Upon reading the description, you'll note that this set comes with a 4694 Loco/Tender 27" long, with firebox light (new in this lower trim line model for this year), and "fascinating connecting rod and valve action"

So, a triangle valve gear locomotive with the firebox light, and a Vanderbilt tender (note no bell ringer).

Cars specifically note that each car is a distinctive design and the model numbers are 4340, 4341, 4343, & 4342.  Although no color description is specified, the catalog is clearly describing the "Pocohantas" type cars in tan with green roofs and 4 different body types.  The cars in this set in 1932 likely have the new fixed or set grey trucks and truss rods underneath instead of the air tanks (both features introduced in 1931).  This set is known to exist in catalog correct form and while very scarce, can be found or put together with some effort.  The cars are the easy part, compared to finding a nice correct locomotive that dates to this period and has the right details.

It is important to notice that the "Pocohantas" set was not offered this year with the 4637 locomotive and these passenger cars.

Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 10.02.16 PM

Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 10.44.09 PM





In 1933 we get set 1492RC "Century" set.  Seemingly unchanged at first glance from the 1932 catalog, we now notice that the locomotive comes equipped with the bell ringing mechanism.  Sweet!   Under car descriptions it now says "latest color is light blue sides with red roof.  Color scheme of cars subject to change.  Club, observation, and two Pullman cars".  Huh.... what exactly does all that mean?  No car numbers are mentioned?  So it would seem that you should get 4 cars, and that there are two pullmans, plus an observation and a club car.  Logically, this would seem to describe a 4 cars set of the blue 4350, 51, & 52 leftover cars from 1931.... however the color scheme is subject to change...

Go ahead.  Search around.  Let me know how many 4 car sets you find of blue/red roof 4350-51-52.  The answer is basically zero.  They are always (in my observation) found in 3 car sets.

It is also important to note that the "Pocohantas" is back after its one year hiatus with the 4637 Saint Paul loco & 4340, 41, 43, 42 cars found in last years (1932) "Century" set, most likely now with the grey fixed trucks and truss rod details.

Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 10.22.00 PM



So what came in a 1933 1492RC "Century" set?  Well, that's a great question.

Here's one example in a correct 1933 "1492RC" box, but it basically looks like a leftover 1932 set with the pocohontas cars, but it has the correct 1933 locomotive with the bell ringing mechanism.  So why not 4 blue 4350 cars?  Well, the car color scheme is subject to change...  and the dining car isn't labeled "dining car" or "4343 observation" like the normal pocohantas dining car is.  It just has plain "American Flyer" plates.  I guess its a pullman and the set meets the catalog requirements.  The 1933 catalog version of this set is very scarce.  I don't believe many of this set # were put together or sold.

Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 11.26.54 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-14 at 11.27.08 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-14 at 11.28.23 PM





Interestingly enough, AF also released a similar set to the set described above (in the original post) in 1933.

Set 1479RC "Trojan" came with a cheaper, lesser trimmed model steam locomotive that was new for this year (#4682).  The 4682 triangle valve gear loco came with the smaller coal tender and had no firebox light or bell ringing mechanism.  This locomotive also still has the old cast in headlight visor (painted gold), instead of the new brass cap over the bulb.  Cars are described as #4331 x 2 and 4332 obsv.  This set is known to exist in catalog correct form and can be found.

Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 10.21.22 PM



So what about the mystery set that Jon Edwards posted about originally?

I've heard it described as a "century", "stadium", "trojan", and now "olympian"?

This set shows up reasonably often and consists of a "bare bones" 1933 era 4682 Loco/ coal tender and 3 blue/red roof cars (4350, 4351, & 4352).  Most of the time if it has a set box, the number is not legible.  Twice I have seen this set with a number for a 1931 "Stadium" stamped on the box (1479), but it's hard to say if that was the original box or not.  So what exactly is this set that consists of leftover 1931 cars and a new for 1933  #4682  locomotive?  Well, since it doesn't really fit the catalog description for anything, perhaps it is an uncatalogued set.  Perhaps a department store set.  Or a variation of the "Stadium" or "Trojan" sets?  Perhaps AF didn't have enough extra Pullman cars to make a 4 car "Century" with blue/red cars.  Perhaps they just wanted to get rid of the leftover blue 4350 cars?

I honestly have no idea, but perhaps as collectors we should stop referring to it as a "Century" set.

Whatever you want to call it, it is a beautiful train that is highly prized by the people who own it.

Attachments

Images (9)
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 10.22.00 PM
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 10.02.16 PM
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 10.02.16 PM
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 10.22.00 PM
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 10.21.22 PM
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 10.44.09 PM
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 11.26.54 PM
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 11.27.08 PM
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 11.28.23 PM

Ives1122,

That is a great summary of the set in question.  I am more into Flyer O gauge and I know that one has to read the catalog descriptions, as Flyer often re-used catalog artwork and simply changed the descriptions, so the pictures do not always match what came in the sets.  There is also the issue of the vague color combinations that came in sets. 

I also have never seen the 4 car set that features the blue/red car combination and have wondered if it exists. 

Oddly, Flyer also re-used set names. 

The 1935 Century set is in fact a desirable O gauge Flyer set, which features a cast aluminum engine and cadmium plated cars.

NWL

@Ives1122 posted:


Oh, the infamous century set that is often talked about in American Flyer circles.  The set everyone wants to own, claims to own, yet often doesn't necessarily understand.  Rob and I have discussed (or perhaps argued?) this set several times, so its time for me to finally write this up and share.



Let's take a little trip through the catalogs:

1931.  The only year the #1479 "Stadium" is cataloged with the 4683 St. Paul type electric locomotive and the 3 blue/red roof cars discussed and pictured above (4350, 4351, & 4352).  These passenger cars were also offered for separate sale in the back of the catalog.  This set is known to exist and can be found, although not very often.  Probably because it was offered right along side the "Lone Scout" with blue litho cars, the two sets looked very similar (in color anyway), but the Stadium was $4.00 more expensive.  Most customers and wholesalers likely purchased the Lone Scout instead.



1932.  The 1492 "Century" set appears for the first time in the catalog.  Upon reading the description, you'll note that this set comes with a 4694 Loco/Tender 27" long, with firebox light (new in this lower trim line model for this year), and "fascinating connecting rod and valve action"

So, a triangle valve gear locomotive with the firebox light, and a Vanderbilt tender (note no bell ringer).

Cars specifically note that each car is a distinctive design and the model numbers are 4340, 4341, 4343, & 4342.  Although no color description is specified, the catalog is clearly describing the "Pocohantas" type cars in tan with green roofs and 4 different body types.  The cars in this set in 1932 likely have the new fixed or set grey trucks and truss rods underneath instead of the air tanks (both features introduced in 1931).  This set is known to exist in catalog correct form and while very scarce, can be found or put together with some effort.  The cars are the easy part, compared to finding a nice correct locomotive that dates to this period and has the right details.

It is important to notice that the "Pocohantas" set was not offered this year with the 4637 locomotive and these passenger cars.

Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 10.02.16 PM

Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 10.44.09 PM





In 1933 we get set 1492RC "Century" set.  Seemingly unchanged at first glance from the 1932 catalog, we now notice that the locomotive comes equipped with the bell ringing mechanism.  Sweet!   Under car descriptions it now says "latest color is light blue sides with red roof.  Color scheme of cars subject to change.  Club, observation, and two Pullman cars".  Huh.... what exactly does all that mean?  No car numbers are mentioned?  So it would seem that you should get 4 cars, and that there are two pullmans, plus an observation and a club car.  Logically, this would seem to describe a 4 cars set of the blue 4350, 51, & 52 leftover cars from 1931.... however the color scheme is subject to change...

Go ahead.  Search around.  Let me know how many 4 car sets you find of blue/red roof 4350-51-52.  The answer is basically zero.  They are always (in my observation) found in 3 car sets.

It is also important to note that the "Pocohantas" is back after its one year hiatus with the 4637 Saint Paul loco & 4340, 41, 43, 42 cars found in last years (1932) "Century" set, most likely now with the grey fixed trucks and truss rod details.

Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 10.22.00 PM



So what came in a 1933 1492RC "Century" set?  Well, that's a great question.

Here's one example in a correct 1933 "1492RC" box, but it basically looks like a leftover 1932 set with the pocohontas cars, but it has the correct 1933 locomotive with the bell ringing mechanism.  So why not 4 blue 4350 cars?  Well, the car color scheme is subject to change...  and the dining car isn't labeled "dining car" or "4343 observation" like the normal pocohantas dining car is.  It just has plain "American Flyer" plates.  I guess its a pullman and the set meets the catalog requirements.  The 1933 catalog version of this set is very scarce.  I don't believe many of this set # were put together or sold.

Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 11.26.54 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-14 at 11.27.08 PMScreen Shot 2021-01-14 at 11.28.23 PM





Interestingly enough, AF also released a similar set to the set described above (in the original post) in 1933.

Set 1479RC "Trojan" came with a cheaper, lesser trimmed model steam locomotive that was new for this year (#4682).  The 4682 triangle valve gear loco came with the smaller coal tender and had no firebox light or bell ringing mechanism.  This locomotive also still has the old cast in headlight visor (painted gold), instead of the new brass cap over the bulb.  Cars are described as #4331 x 2 and 4332 obsv.  This set is known to exist in catalog correct form and can be found.

Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 10.21.22 PM



So what about the mystery set that Jon Edwards posted about originally?

I've heard it described as a "century", "stadium", "trojan", and now "olympian"?

This set shows up reasonably often and consists of a "bare bones" 1933 era 4682 Loco/ coal tender and 3 blue/red roof cars (4350, 4351, & 4352).  Most of the time if it has a set box, the number is not legible.  Twice I have seen this set with a number for a 1931 "Stadium" stamped on the box (1479), but it's hard to say if that was the original box or not.  So what exactly is this set that consists of leftover 1931 cars and a new for 1933  #4682  locomotive?  Well, since it doesn't really fit the catalog description for anything, perhaps it is an uncatalogued set.  Perhaps a department store set.  Or a variation of the "Stadium" or "Trojan" sets?  Perhaps AF didn't have enough extra Pullman cars to make a 4 car "Century" with blue/red cars.  Perhaps they just wanted to get rid of the leftover blue 4350 cars?

I honestly have no idea, but perhaps as collectors we should stop referring to it as a "Century" set.

Whatever you want to call it, it is a beautiful train that is highly prized by the people who own it.

Wow, I'm almost sorry I posted this except for all the awesome details and insight you have given me into these sets! Thank you for helping to clear it up.

     Jon

Ives1122,

That is a great summary of the set in question.  I am more into Flyer O gauge and I know that one has to read the catalog descriptions, as Flyer often re-used catalog artwork and simply changed the descriptions, so the pictures do not always match what came in the sets.  There is also the issue of the vague color combinations that came in sets.

I also have never seen the 4 car set that features the blue/red car combination and have wondered if it exists.

Oddly, Flyer also re-used set names.

The 1935 Century set is in fact a desirable O gauge Flyer set, which features a cast aluminum engine and cadmium plated cars.

NWL



Oh yeah.  I had forgotten about that.  Everyone seems to have just nicknamed it "The Aeolus".

Kudos to you for studying the O gauge.  That is a challenge I'm just not quite ready to take on yet.  

Add Reply

Post
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×