American Flyer Displays & History

About Us

I didn't start the website because I am an expert on the subject, but rather a student of Gilbert and American Flyer History. This website is a product of the cooperation of many Gilbert American Flyer collectors and historians. They have made this website what it is today, but more information is needed. No one knows everything about Gibert and American Flyer History, but by combining our collective knowledge we can provide a repository for that knowledge and preserve the history of this fascinating company.

If you have information about Gilbert displays or history, please share it by contributing to this website.  Some of the topics about which we need more information and photos are shown below.  You can contact me at

Information on the following would be particularly appreciated.

  • The Washington D.C. Hall of Science

  • The Miami Hall of Science and its owner, Leroy Jahn

  • Identifying the Mystery Layout

  • Copies of Newspaper and Magazine Ads, expecially those showing uncataloged sets

  • More stories for the Layout Memories Section

Finally, my thanks go out to the many individuals, especially those listed below, who have already shared their knowledge and resources to make this website what it is today.

  • Jim Auld, who provided photos of his restored #98 display
  • Lonny Beno, who provided many, many scans of hard to find display catalogs and also helped me find things I didn't even know existed.

  • Bob Bubeck, who helped sort out information related to the catalogs

  • Clay and Charlie Buckage for providing their fantastic photos of the second floor Gilbert Hall of Science layout and for their support and assistance in creating the section on the Sibley Department Store Layout

  • Terry Cornelius, for his reminiscence of the Meier & Frank Department Store including a photo of the toy department

  • Bill Drake, who provided high quality photos of an early American Flyer Displays including an HO roundhouse display

  • Jeff Faust, who provided his detailed track plans for the Sibley department store layout

  • Bob Giardina, who gave me permission to use illustrations from and provided a reminiscence of a 1957 visit to the 2nd Floor layout at the New York Hall of Science

  • Chuck Harrington, who gave me permission to use illustrations from his website,

  • Bob Horton, who provided photos of his rare Gifts Galore Store Display

  • John Huster, who gave me permission to use still shots from the Boys' Railroad Club and Roar Of The Rails videos

  • Andy Jugle, who provided scans of department store layout photos

  • Mike Leahy, for his reminiscence of Gold's Department Store in Lincoln, Nebraska

  • Jeff Madden, for his reminiscence of Hudson's Department Store in Detroit, Michigan

  • Ray Mohrlang, who provided several scans of photographs from his collection, including those of the large 1st floor layout in the New York Hall of Science and also much useful information concerning the Hall of Science layouts and the location of the 1956 catalog cover photo.

  • Daryl Olszeski, who researched and colorized our logo and reviewed the narrative, and acted as a sounding board from the earliest days of this website.  Daryl is also responsible for most of the photo and image restoration of many items that appear on the website

  • Mike Schmidt, who provided information on his rare 1951 display layout and who has provided many excellent tips that have helped develop the website

  • Bill Sheneman, who provided photos of parts of a beautifully preserved Scenarama set as well as the instructions that came with it

  • George Sorensen, who provided information on the Chicago Gilbert Hall of Science as well a reminiscence of that facility including his photo taken with the store "Engineer"

  • Emil Suda, who provided background on A.C. Gilbert History and helped me identify important articles and other source material

  • Richard Trotter, who shared his vast knowledge of the Ray Mohrlang Collection and acted as a great consultant on a variety of topics, especially photo analysis.   He also provided scans of a hard to find brochure covering the otherwise uncataloged 1958 factory displays

  • Doug Wynne, for his reminiscence about the Jordan Marsh Boston Layout, including the fact that he appears in the photo of that layout

  • Paul Yorke, who allowed me to incorporate the relevant portions from his website related to the Sibley and FAO Schwarz layouts

Dale Smith