American Flyer Water Tower with Bubbling Tube
The Gilbert American Flyer No. 772 Automatic Water Tower was introduced in 1950 to provide water pressure for the Gilbert American Flyer community. Along with the No. 769 Revolving Aircraft Beacon, the No. 774 Floodlight Tower and the No. 773 Oil Derrick, the No. 772 Automatic Water Tower was manufactured for Gilbert by the Colber Company. The base and the framework are shared among the different tower accessories.
No. 772 Automatic Water Tower
Made by Colber
The action feature on the water tower was provided by a light bulb in the base that made enough heat to cause bubbles to form in a tube filled with methyl chloride. The boiling point of the methyl chloride is within the range of the heat generated by a small bulb. The same substance and principle is used in bubbling Christmas tree lights.
While the 1950 catalog image appears to be a drawing, the 1951 image for the Gilbert American Flyer No. 772 Automatic Water Tower appears to be a photograph or at least a better drawing of how the accessory actually looks. The description has been edited and is different than the 1950 version.
The 1952 Gilbert American Flyer entry retains the image from 1951 but the description has been shortened.
No. 772 Automatic Water Tower with Checkerboard Tank and Bubbling Tube
Made by Gilbert
In 1953 Gilbert replaced the Colber manufactured water tower with one manufactured by Gilbert. The Gilbert American Flyer version has a larger tank at the top and shares the metal lattice work, base and hut with the other tower accessories made by Gilbert. The description is enhanced to emphasize the features of the Gilbert American Flyer version of the No. 772 Automatic Water Tower including the red and white checkerboard coloring of the tank at the top. The Gilbert American Flyer version retained the bubble tube from the Colber version, converted the plastic lattice support frame to formed sheet metal and added the standard red and white Gilbert accessory hut. As an added feature, the bubble tube pointed top extends through the top of the tank and is colored red, providing a warning light on the top of the tank.
The image and description for the No. 772 Automatic Water Tower were retained in the 1954 catalog. The popularity of this accessory is indicated by the ready availability even today and the metal framework seems to have done a good job of protecting the glass bubble tube.
The 1955 catalog continues the same image and description for the No. 722 Automatic Water Tower that were used in the 1953 and 1954 catalogs.
The Gilbert American Flyer No. 772 Automatic Water Tower image and description continue for 1956. The box changes from the familiar blue/yellow/white graphic to a red/black/white look.
1957 Brings the IBM accounting computer system and the change to the five digit numbering system – so the No. 772 Automatic Water Tower becomes the No. 23772 Water Tower. The image stays the same in the catalog but the description is severely curtailed.
The 1958 catalog retains the same curtailed description and the same image as the 1957 catalog.
The description and image are the same as the last few years for the catalog listing of the No. 23772 Water Tower
Although not described in the catalog, somewhere in here timing wise, the hut becomes plastic instead of the sheet metal hut. Catalog description and image remain the same.
No change in the listing for the Gilbert American Flyer No.23772 Water Tower for 1961.
The S gauge No. 23772 Water Tower image and description remain the same. An HO water tower in built up and in kit form are introduced in the catalog. The HO versions were made by Ideal and the packaging was changed to identify them as Gilbert products with Gilbert catalog numbers. The Ideal versions use the same oval logo – only the lettering is changed.
The S gauge and HO gauge water towers are listed in the accessories lists in the 1963 catalog but there are no images or descriptions.
The 1964 Catalog brings back the image and description that has been used for several years. This is the last catalog year for the Gilbert American Flyer No. 23772 Water Tower.
The Water Towers started in 1950 and ran until 1964 for 25 years of accessory fun for toy train layouts. The 1965 introduce All Aboard system had no place for the venerable water tower on its pre defined scenery.