There have been numerous comments in threads in the Tinplate Forum concerning the lack of detailed information about pre-war American Flyer Accessories.  To the best of my knowledge, Leon Sweet was the first Tinplate Forum member to address this issue with his outstanding series of posts about the evolution of pre-war American Flyer Tunnels.  It was his effort in this regard that has motivated me to try to do something similar with the evolution of the small American Flyer Stations.  I hope what follows will provide you with some useful information and measure up to the standards Leon set.

In 1914 American Flyer cataloged the first of its very small stations. The initial offering in the 1914 catalog was designated M90 and was manufactured by KBN.

1914 M90 Catalog Illustration

1914_Catalog_M90

    The station below came with an early AF set and bears a strong resemblance to the catalog illustration.  It may have been sold by American Flyer as an M90 but at this late date it is impossible to tell so, in the interest of accuracy, it is best to say the pictured station bears a strong resemblance to the catalog illustration. 

   In the first post from NWL following this post is a picture of a station that exactly matches the M90 in the illustration above. The station pictured in his post is the one that should be used for reference purposes.

AF_Station_M90

  Starting in 1918 American Flyer offered the first of its home-grown very small stations: #90 Passenger Station and #93 Freight Station

1918 Catalog Illustration

1918_Catalog_90_93

#93 Freight Station

AF_Station_Freight_91_1918

#90 Freight Station

AF_Station_90_1918

    These stations, with various roof/base colors were offered in the catalogs between 1918 and 1923.

    In 1924 the lithographic treatment for the #90 passenger station changed, however the #93 freight station retained its original look and was listed in the catalog through 1926.

1924/25 Catalog Illustration

1924_5_Catalog_90_93

#90 Passenger Station - New Lithography

AF_Station_90_1926

  In 1928 the number 93 was resurrected and assigned to a new, non-lighted, passenger station which joined #90 in the catalog lineup. This station had a covered passenger platform and a smooth green enameled roof. To the best of my knowledge #93 was offered in this form from 1928-1930.

  Starting in 1928, along with station catalog numbers, American Flyer assigned names (in the catalog only) to the various stations.  #90 was now listed as Hyde Park Station and #93 was listed as Suburban Station.

1928 Catalog Illustration

1928_Catalog_90_93

  In 1929 the catalog text indicated the formerly smooth roof for the #90 was changed to an embossed roof (the catalog retained the old smooth roof illustration). While I've never seen an example of a #93 with an embossed roof, I would guess the roof for the 1929 version of the #93 was also embossed (Addendum - 4/10/20 - I guessed correctly  - see picture in post added by NWL below).

#90 Hyde Park Station with embossed roof

AF_Station_90_1929

    In 1931 a new small freight station, #91 Fast Freight Station, was offered and included in some of the set illustrations for that year. It was also listed for separate sale as a footnote under the illustration and listing for the #90 station in the catalog accessory section. The #93 Suburban Station was dropped from the catalog listings.

1931 Catalog Set Illustration with #91 in background

1931_91_in_set_not_listed_separately

1931 Catalog Listing of #90 and #91

1931_91_listed_under_90

  Note: as in 1929 the catalog text states "embossed roof" but it's still the same old illustration.

#91 Fast Freight Station

AF_Station_91_1931

   In 1933 #91 was dropped from the station listing. Joining #90 Hyde Park in the catalog in the 1933 catalog was Suburban Station #234 which was just a resurrection of the old #93 but with an embossed roof and a station platform light under the station roof.

1933 Catalog Illustration

1933_Catalog

1933 #234 Suburban Station

AF_Station_234_Punched_Base

  You will note the catalog illustration of the #234 station has a green roof and that it is the mirror image of the #234 station shown above. I've never seen a #234 with a green roof but I have seen both the "mirror" image pictured above and #234 with the illustrated build.  The reason for the two different orientations of the station has to do with the way the station base blanks were fed into the base edge bending press (we are assuming the holes were punched first).  Depending on the direction of the bend the station house will be either on the left or right side of the base.  This isn't the only station in the American Flyer line with mirror image construction - the long base #97 Freight Station suffered the same fate which is why you can find #97's with the crane either on the left or right side of the station.

  1933 was the year Flyer changed the lithographic treatment of the small station houses that were part of the watchman's shanties on the new-for-1933 # 235 Water Tank Set and #236 Crossing Set (see catalog illustration above).

1933 #235 Water Tank Set - note the shed lithography.

Accy_AF_235_Water_Tank_Set_2

  While the #234 Suburban Station pictured above is a good match for the 1933 catalog illustration it was not the only version of the #234 made at that time.  The second version is illustrated below and it has station side lithography that matches the lithographic treatment of the watchmen's shanties.

#234 with the 1933 watchman's shed lithography

AF_Station_234_All_Windows

One curious aspect of the #234 station pictured above is the station base

Punched_Base

As you can see it has a number of extra holes for metal tabs. In fact, the unused tabs match the tab pattern for the tabs on the sides of the #90 Hyde Park Station.  It appears American Flyer had a rather large number of leftover #90 bases which they reworked by feeding the bases into a hole punch press with settings for the tabs for the #234 Suburban Station (they also used these #90 bases for the crane base on the #97 American Flyer Long Base Freight Shed).

  For whatever reason American Flyer did not use up all of the #90 station bases before moving on with new product.  As a result you can find the #234 in all of its configurations and lithographic treatments with bases with hole punches just for #234 tabbing or with bases that are reworked #90 bases.

  In 1934 American Flyer dropped the #90 Hyde Park station from their catalog listings.

  A Momentary Digression - the NOT #90

   Just for the sake of completeness - I'm including a picture of a station many individuals have identified as an American Flyer #90.  For the record - it was made by Hafner and has the name "Glen Ellyn" on the station ends. It comes with the same lithographic pattern in a variety of colors and it can be found with and without the separate semaphore.  Admittedly, without the semaphore the station does bear a good likeness to the American Flyer #90 but it is Hafner.

Hafner Glen Ellyn Station

Hafner_Station_Glen_Ellyn

 ...Now back to the main point of this post.

The catalog illustrations for the #234 for 1934, 1935, 1936, and 1937 are the same as the 1933 illustration. However, in 1936 the catalog called the #234 the New Suburban Station and the small illustration in the catalog supplement, while still showing the old #93 station lithography, indicates the station platform light was relocated from under the roof to a hole in the redesigned roof support.

1936 #234 with new roof post and light location

AF_Station_234_All_Window2

  I suspect, but cannot prove, there is more to the "New" designation in the 1936 catalog besides the reworked support post and platform light.  I think the situation for the "New" Suburban Station was much the same as when the lithography changed the watchmen's sheds back in 1933 which is to say, old station lithography was used up before a truly "New" Suburban Station was manufactured.  My reason for saying this is because in the 1936 catalog American Flyer illustrated the #2004 New Crossing Set with Automatic Bell which sported a simplified green and white lithographic treatment for the watchman's shack.

1936 Catalog Illustration of #2004

1936_New_Crossing_Set

  Consequently, I think the the truly new New Suburban Station is the one illustrated below.  I've seen this station and it's mirror image, I've seen it with red and green enameled roofs, and I've seen it with bases punched for just #234 tabbing and with reworked #90 station bases.

1936 New Suburban Station

AF_Station_234_Modern

  The #234 station was last cataloged in 1938 and while the catalog illustration had the correct roof support and platform light position, it still did not have the correct station lithography. Sadly, by 1938 it was no longer considered "New" and was only listed as a plain old "Suburban Station."

1938 Catalog Illustration 

1938_Catalog

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Last edited by Robert S. Butler
Original Post

Robert,

is the M90 station marked ?

Bub had made colour variations too.

kbn-bf-zp01

kbn-bf-zp05

kbn-bf-zp03

KBN Made in Germany

kbn-bf-zp04

Only Made in Germany

kbn-bf-zp07

 

Arne

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Excellent historical reference material, thanks for putting this together.

There should be a special sub-forum where copies of these types of threads are housed so they can be easily accessed .

Interesting, as I think that Robert's M-90 station is the Bub version simply because of the base.  His base does not match the catalog image.

My experience is that the true M-90 version has this base and is noted by having a larger platform at the front of the building and a longer roof overhang at the front of the building.  

NWL

 That works for me NWL.  I agree your station is an exact match for the catalog illustration.  The station I have came with the set I purchased way back. As far as I know it was original to the set but there's no way I could confirm that now. 

   Since I would like this thread to be as accurate as possible (and since all of the posts to the thread should remain with the thread) I'm going to edit the wording in the original post and refer the reader to your post and the picture of the station you have posted.  I'd prefer to delete my picture but I know from bitter experience it would mean having to delete the entire post and start over.

Robert S. Butler's listing mentioned the #93 later passenger station, but did not show a picture of it.  The #93 late station is simply the precursor to the 234 station.  It is an unlighted version of the 234 Station.

NWL

How about a circa. 1936 No. 234 New Suburban Station variation with a green roof, red upright roof support, green base, and no door?

And with Uncle Lou Redman, Sr. and fellow passengers.

234-1234

Bob

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Last edited by Bob Bubeck

Looks good Bob.  All of the "New Suburban Stations" have the all window shed - can you imagine having to crawl through a window every time you had go to work as a station agent?

 With your contribution to the "New Suburban Station"  variations we can put together a color chart for roof and support as follows:

Base Color      Roof   Color         Support  Color

 Gray                Green                   Green

 Green              Red                        Red                         (I have this one I just didn't provide a picture)

 Green             Green                    Red  - yours

...so I guess the question is...who has a Red Roof with a Green Support?  ....and what's keeping all of those possible base variations?

Again, thanks for the addition.

  

Last edited by Robert S. Butler
Robert S. Butler posted:

Looks good Bob.  All of the "New Suburban Stations" have the all window shed - can you imagine having to crawl through a window every time you had go to work as a station agent?

 With your contribution to the "New Suburban Station"  variations we can put together a color chart for roof and support as follows:

Roof   Color         Support  Color

Green                   Green

Red                        Red                         (I have this one I just didn't provide a picture)

Green                    Red  - yours

...so I guess the question is...who has a Red Roof with a Green Support?

Again, thanks for the addition.

  

Robert,

I think you have to include base color in there too.

Note the late building with green roof and red support has a green base, where your late building with green roof and green support has a gray base.  

I don't believe I have every seen a red roof with green support 

 

If we are going to go down the color combination route,

How about late building, red roof, red support, green base

How about the Hyde Park station, with green underside of roof and red top of roof  (see left station below and note roof lip on right)

To round this off, how about some box variations.  From Upper Left to Right  c. 1918 1/12 dozen #90 Passenger Station, #93 Freight station, #91 Fast Freight, late #234 Suburban Station, and then Lower Left to Right c. 1920-21 #90 Station, #93 Suburban Station, #90 Hyde Park Station, and another 234 Suburban Station.  

Robert S. Butler posted:

Looks good Bob.  All of the "New Suburban Stations" have the all window shed - can you imagine having to crawl through a window every time you had go to work as a station agent?

 <snip>  

A shack intended for a No. 214 Watchman's Tower serving double duty, no doubt. I own a No. 214 with a shack that is identical to that for my No. 234.

Bob

Last edited by Bob Bubeck

Lastly, there is Iris' (Iris was the original owner, per the note from Santa on the original box top) yellow #93 station c. 1917-1918?

I have a yellow roof early #90 station somewhere too!

NWL 

 

 

 

More Variations.

Yes Robert, the 93 Suburban Station does come with an embossed roof in later years

Mine also has the rare red underside of the roof 

Here is a photo of the #90 Station with Yellow Roof

Lastly, the one image that has not been captured yet, the early end sign

NWL

 

I have a 1936 New Suburban Station. Roof, Post and building are Green. Base is Gray. The base is reversed punched like a #234. Roof and base need paint.

I noted a small oddity when photographing my early 90 passenger station with the yellow roof yesterday and decided to take a second look at the 93 freight station with yellow roof this morning to confirm the difference.

What I noticed was that the roof lip is crimped along the edge, instead of being bent over like all of the later versions I have seen.  To me this definitely indicates the yellow roofed versions represent the earliest production.

Yellow Roof - crimped edge

Gray Roof - non crimped edge

These variations can drive one crazy! 

Last edited by Nation Wide Lines

Ok this has been great.  My stations generally conform to all the above with perhaps a few odd small details.

1.  My No 90 Hyde Park has the red embossed roof from 1929 and a grey base and the 1924 "new" lithography.  It also has the name "Hyde Park Station" printed under the clock on the ends.

2. My No 93 Freight Station has a smooth green roof and unlike the end picture on NWL's 93 with a yellow roof mine is imprinted "No 93" on the end in black letters directly under the name..."Flyer Town Depot" in white letters on a red background. Mine also has "Made in U.S.A." printed in black under the window.  

You guys also didn't mention one of the coolest details on the No 93, if you look at the address on the wooden crate sitting on the baggage cart on the platform the address is..."American Flyer Manufacturing Company, Chicago, Ill"  (I had to use a magnifying glass but it is quite clear once magnified).

In addition, the platform of my No 93 appears as grey not black and it has two seemingly factory punched holes equally spaced on each side of the front platform about 1/2 way between the front wall and the platform edge.  I say factory punched because these are perfectly formed holes and appear to be precisely spaced.  Note holes in the picture below.

Flyer Town Depot - front view

 

Here is the end view of my No 93, note that the number is clearly lithographed under the name of the station as well as "Made in U.S.A." which is printed under the window.   This number and country of manufacture does not appear in the NWL picture of the end of his station with the yellow roof.  Hence if the Yellow Roof is the earlier vintage, then the number and country of manufacture must have been added when Flyer went to the smooth green roof.

Flyer Town Depot - end view

3. My 234 looks just like the one in NWL post above EXCEPT - it has a red embossed roof and a grey base.  The end sign is identical and the house is the one with the door, not the later "all window" house.  Mine is also illuminated with one bulb under the extended roof.

Here is my No 234 with a Grey Base and support and Red embossed roof.  It also has the earlier house, with a lithographed door. 

 

Flyer Suburban Station 1

End view which is identical to the one in NWL's photo (absent the green paint splash ) but it shows the grey base.

Flyer Suburban Station 2

  Thanks guys, this has allowed me to finally date these little guys.

Don McErlean

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Don,

Very interesting #93 variation. 

First, I don't believe the holes in the platform are factory punched.  They do not appear to be perfectly spaced in your photos.  They are close, but not perfectly spaced 

Second, I was not aware of the differing end lithographs.  Not sure if I have one with the actual number and Made in USA on it.  I will have to look.  

NWL

Wow NWL I never thought I would have something you don’t 😄 I agree on the holes I was focused on their near perfect shape clearly machine punched not pierced but their placement indicates non factory action. 

Robert thanks please let us know what you find out. 

Don McErlean

Don McErlean posted:

Wow NWL I never thought I would have something you don’t 😄 I agree on the holes I was focused on their near perfect shape clearly machine punched not pierced but their placement indicates non factory action. 

Robert thanks please let us know what you find out. 

Don McErlean

Don,

Good News!  I discovered I do have one of the 93 Stations with the number on the end.    Turns out it was packed away in a boxed #19 Set.  I looked at my others and realized that if I had one, it would be in that set.  Sure enough, there it was.  Similar to yours, gray base and green roof.

A couple more things to add to this thread.  The American Flyer #90 versus the Hyde Park #90

And finally, the bottom of the Hyde Park station pictured above

Not sure why an unlighted station would be "Sold as Shopworn" but here it is.  

NWL

 

NWL. Glad you found a 93 like mine it reinforces the originality of the markings on mine. I was curious if yours was packed in Set #19 do you think it came in that set?  About what year would that be?My Hyde Park is like the one on the left in your picture. The American Flyer marked one seems to also have some coloration changes to the lithography as well. The bricks seem more red and the window panes have a blue tint.

Why marked shopworn I don’t know but some dealers used that marking to make price cuts under the “fair trade” rules  or perhaps it was on the dealers Christmas display.  Interesting to think about. 

Thanks for posting the new info

Don McErlean 

Don,

My #93 station did come in the boxed #19 set that dates to c. 1924.  The #19 set (excluding the late 1930s Gilbert era Switcher set) included a windup engine, tender, two 6.5 inch 4-wheel cars( baggage and coach), tunnel, #93 station and single arm semaphore.  The set was cataloged from 1916 or so through 1931. 

The #93 station was replaced by the #90 station in the set in 1925, with the components/set generally remaining the same over the years, but the cars reflecting whatever was being produced in the year it was sold.

As for the difference between the American Flyer and Hyde Park #90 stations, I noticed the difference in coloration between the bricks/windows and if one looks at Robert Butler's initial pictures of the #90 and #90 Hyde Park, you will note the difference in color as well.  It is easier to spot the color difference when they are shown side by side.  

OH, the "Sold as Shopworn" markings are from the factory only and not from any dealers.  I believe that the items sold from the factory store on Halsted Street were marked this way.  This is a known marking for American Flyer items, but it is infrequently found on accessories.  The item certainly could have been on a factory layout, or returned for another reason.

NWL

 

 

Last edited by Nation Wide Lines

Well I thought that I might add something to this thread that Robert S. Butler started.  I noticed what I might call a "small" although perhaps not a "very small" American Flyer (clearly Chicago Flyer) lithographed station that I had and thought I might put some photos of that station in this thread.  If I am in error, I apologize in advance.

I am thinking of the "Flyer Town Station" # 96.  It contains lithographed "signs" for the Flyer Town Station and for the "American Flyer R. R. ".  It also includes the number (No. 96) on the Flyer Town Station sign.   It is interesting in that it has a different litho pattern on all 4 sides.  Front, Back, Left, and Right are all different.  Roof is embossed and Green as many of the somewhat later buildings discussed above are and the platform is cream on top and seemingly unfinished underneath.  It is lighted although I would think that very little light would escape.

Here is the front view, what I envision as the "track side"  Note one partially open door.

Flyer 96 Station -front

Here is the Right Side with two large windows and the sign "American Flyer R.R."

Flyer 96 Station- rt side

 

Here is the left side, with the sign " Flyer Town Station No. 96"

Flyer 96 Station - left side

Here is the rear or "street" side.  Only one center door.

Flyer 96 Station - rear

So there you have it.  Hope this was of interest and not too far off the subject. 

Keep Healthy

Don McErlean

 

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Don McErlean posted:

Well I thought that I might add something to this thread that Robert S. Butler started.  I noticed what I might call a "small" although perhaps not a "very small" American Flyer (clearly Chicago Flyer) lithographed station that I had and thought I might put some photos of that station in this thread.  If I am in error, I apologize in advance.

I am thinking of the "Flyer Town Station" # 96.  It contains lithographed "signs" for the Flyer Town Station and for the "American Flyer R. R. ".  It also includes the number (No. 96) on the Flyer Town Station sign.   It is interesting in that it has a different litho pattern on all 4 sides.  Front, Back, Left, and Right are all different.  Roof is embossed and Green as many of the somewhat later buildings discussed above are and the platform is cream on top and seemingly unfinished underneath.  It is lighted although I would think that very little light would escape.

 

 

Don, 

The 96 station would be a different class of stations that would be grouped with the 104 station, which is the lighted version.

I suggest we start a new thread on the 96 station, as I know Robert S. Butler has studied them extensively.

NWL

NWL and Robert : I thought that this No 96 might be in a different class and starting a new thread to talk about this class station would be great. Candidly I don’t know how to do that but given a few instructions I will try. 

Don McErlean

Don McErlean posted:

NWL and Robert : I thought that this No 96 might be in a different class and starting a new thread to talk about this class station would be great. Candidly I don’t know how to do that but given a few instructions I will try. 

Don McErlean

I started a new thread for the 96/104 stations

I'll head over to the 96 thread, but here are my small Flyer stations:

2 American Flyer #90s and one Flyer Town Depot. Last picture is my favorite detail and is on all the Flyer Town depots I've seen , the, "By American Flyer Mfg. Co. Chicago Illinois". I love how they fit that in there and I feel it really differentiates that it was indeed CHICAGO FLYER. 

Also, I saw the discussion above regarding the resemblance between a Chicago American Flyer station and a Bub station. Love that stuff. Think how Ives was the template for Bing tinplate and the similarity wwith the Ives 116 station. Everyone knows William Hafner worked at American Flyer with William Coleman Sr. and left in 1914 tostart his own company. After Hafner departed there was a period in which Hafner, or Overland Flyer, and American Flyer put out very, very similarly styled trains .  While not on the best of terms, had to have some influence on each other in terms of designing toy trains and running a toy train business.  Further,Per TCA west, Hafner and/or Flyer might have bought from Bing into Post-WWI after the ban on German imports was lifted, which would further explain product similarity. There was a post-WWI "boom" for ty train innovations in Germany, despite the dysfunction, revolutions recession, and hyperinflation the Weimer Republic suffered. There was always a large amount of cooperation among the train companies in Nuremberg in which they'd produce items for each other, and given that Bing was eventually acquired by Bub in the early 30s, those 2 stations are awesome representations of the pre-1920 international train scene. 

Flyer Depot and 90 station p2 frontFlyer 90 and Depot p1Flyer depot p3 close

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