American Flyer Displays

Preserving History

I didn't start the website because I am an expert on the subject, but because I am interested in this aspect Gilbert American Flyer history and want to learn more about it.  Since I started this project I have learned a lot, but there is a lot more to learn. Sometimes the best thing you learn is how much you still have to learn.  The response by American Flyer collectors and Gilbert historians has been fantastic and has enabled me to make more historical information, photos, and Gilbert paper available on the website, but more information is needed.  That's why I am asking you for your help. If you can provide further information on anything related to American Flyer Displays and their history, please contact me at the above email address.  Together we can preserve this history.

Here is some of the information I would like to add to the website and maybe you can help.

  • Additional photos of the third 1st Floor Layout at the New York Hall of Science, sometimes referred to as the "super layout.  In particular, we need photos of the inside loop on the right side of the 5th Avenue window.  With this information, it may be possible to recreate a track plan of the layout.
  • A track plan of the 2nd Floor Layout at the New York Hall of Science, preferably one that can be posted on the website, showing it either before or after the 1953 changes.  The photos of the track plan, which appear on are helpful, but a real printable track plan would be a nice addition.
  • We have information on the New York and Chicago Halls of Science, but photos and information on the Miami, and Washington, D.C. Halls of Science would be welcome additions.  Photos of layouts and track plans would be much appreciated as would any information related to reminiscences of visits to these Halls of Science.
  • Thanks to recent contributions from Lonny Beno, the Factory Displays section covering both layouts and static displays is well documented, and our display catalog collection is almost complete.  The only catalogs still needed are dealer display catalogs for 1963(X863-41), and for 1964-65(X464-19).  Since I have layout numbers for other years, so there may also be other catalogs or dealer information sheets out there, hopefully for 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1958 at least.  If you can provide scans of any of such catalogs or information sheets, please let me know.
  • I would also like to obtain more information and photos of other public display layouts, so that I can present them in their own special section in much the same way as the FAO Schwarz and Sibley layouts are presented.  Even if such detailed information is not available, I would like to feature additional layouts in the Layout Memories section, so send me your recollections for inclusion there.  Maybe something you remember will provide a clue to sources of further information.

    Finally, some of the information on these pages, has led to further questions.  If you want to tackle some of these, scroll down some more.

Do you have the answers to some of these perplexing questions about the 2nd floor Gilbert Hall of Science Layout?

These construction photos appeared in the Gilbert News, a publication produced by Gilbert for his employees, but the individuals are not identified.  Based on other photos, Frank Castiglione can be identified in some of the photos, but not the other workers.

1. Did the real water lake disappear at some point as a result of later revisions?  Was it during the 1953 revisions when the ferry could no longer operate because of the obstructions of the trestle bridge supports?  That might have also made sense because the track running under the waterfall would have been a risky thing to do with real water running over the fall.

2. Can you identify the individuals in these construction photos which appeared in the Gilbert News? Click on the images for a bigger view.

In the first photo, both of these individuals are not easily identifiable due to their faces being hidden, but if you have some ideas please let me know.

In The Second photo, the gentleman pictured also appears in an article about Ray Palumbo and his work on Gilbert display layouts.  The photo is in the November 2010 issue of Classic Toy Trains on page 70.  He is at the far left of what could best be called the middle row.  In any case, I think he may be the same individual pictured on the left in the far left photo on this page, based on his very dirty lower portion of his coveralls.

In the final photo, the individual on right may be Frank Castiglione based on the fact that he is working on scenery.  

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