American Flyer Unusual 3190 R/C Steam Engine
By Leon Sweet
Recently, I acquired an American Flyer “1349 New Steel Mogul” set that I am guessing is from 1931 that came with an unusual engine.
The Steel Mogul set first was cataloged in 1930 and in 1931 it was renamed the “New Steel Mogul” set due to it now featuring a remote control locomotive as compared to the 1930 version, which featured manual reverse.
The 1931 set includes a 3191 engine tender combination, which is described in the Greenberg’s Guide to Prewar American Flyer O gauge as a 2-4-0 cast-iron 9 5/16 inch long engine.
The Greenberg’s Guide goes on to detail the following features:
“Version A as having 3190 rubber stamped in white or green under the pilot and having remote control reverse, and a 3199 tender, and; Version B as having 3190 M/C rubber stamped in white or green under the pilot and coming with a 3189 tender.”
The engine that came with my “New Steel Mogul” set features a 10 15/16 inch long die-cast boiler with a 2-4-0 configuration and is rubber stamped 3190 R/C in red on the underside of the pilot.
This engine casting was more commonly found in the 1931 3302 engine/tender combination, which is a die-cast engine with a 2-4-2 wheel configuration, with 3300 R/C rubber stamped in green on the bottom. The one feature that denotes this casting to 1931 is the die cast visor over the headlight.
Although the boilers of my unusual 3190 R/C and 3300 R/C feature the same casting, the engines themselves are unique as noted by the following differences
1. Does not have a trailing truck and there are no holes in the engine frame to mount a trailing truck.
2. Does not have the red cab weight (which also includes the boiler light) which is found on the 3300 and the screw holes for attaching the cab weight have paint in them, with no wear from a screw being installed.
3. Does not have the rear copper pipe trim pieces, which is found on the 3300. More strikingly, the brass sand dome that the missing copper trim pieces would go into, does not have holes for the copper trim
4. The 3190 does not have the 3 brass pop valves and the holes for the missing valves are not threaded for their installation, i.e., they were never installed on this locomotive
After examining the engine and noting the differences, I recalled a fellow collector, Joe Kotil TCA 60-496, as having shown me a similar engine with no trailing truck and no means to install one. I called Joe and confirmed that the details of his engine matched the details of my 3190 R/C engine, down to the rubber stamping under the pilot.
I have talked with a couple of knowledgeable collectors about this engine and we are of the consensus that this engine was likely a substitute engine for the normal 3190 engine that came with the set, after the company ran out of cast iron engines. Since American Flyer was switching from cast iron engine cabs to die-cast engine cabs in 1931, it seems that if the company ran low on the cast iron cabs they would want to substitute something else that they had on hand instead of having more cast iron cabs made.