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August 17, 2011 - M.T.H.'s Lionel Corporation Tinplate American Flyer 4694 Steam Passenger Sets will begin shipping this August. Check out the locomotive and passenger car's details in the photos below or click on the video icon to the left to see it in action.
In 1928, Lionel and American Flyer jointly purchased the bankrupt Ives Manufacturing Company. Flyer, in need of a steam engine for its Wide Gauge line — so-called because Lionel had already trademarked the term “Standard Gauge” — almost immediately modified the Ives 1134 steam engine casting to fit its own motor and reintroduced it as the American Flyer Model 4694 steamer.
Flyer’s 1929 catalog writers, of course, took full credit for this “new” die-cast engine: “The 15” long locomotive and the realistic 10” tender follow exactly every element of design, construction and finish found in the real locomotive.” The following year, the former Ives engine was cataloged with a new Vanderbilt tender and appeared at the head of several sets, among them The Warrior, carried over from the 1929 catalog, and a new, less expensive set called The Iron Monarch.
Priced at $54.50 — a sum that only rich families could afford in 1930 — The Warrior featured illuminated club, Pullman, dining, and observation cars, all with Pocahontas letterboards. In contrast with Lionel cars, where an inserted window strip formed all the windows on one side of a car, the Pocahontas cars had individual brass window frames with individual clear “glass” inserts — requiring a much more labor-intensive manufacturing process. The catalog noted that “This passenger train… offers a full measure of value, quality and long life which has no equal elsewhere.”
At $47.50, The Iron Monarch featured the same style of cars as its more expensive stable mate, but without the diner. It was described with the same degree of modesty: “Its superiority is inbuilt. Long life and performance are obtained by building strength, efficiency and dependability into the individual units that make up this quality train.” New for 2010, Lionel Corp. revives the most beautiful steam sets from the 1930 Flyer catalog, updated with smoke and sound so you can have more fun than a boy of the 1930s ever dreamed of.