American Flyer Rotary Beacon 769 Instructions
These are the installation instructions furnished by the A. C. Gilbert Co. to customers to aid them in the installation and operation of American Flyer equipment. Specifically, this bulletin is for the American Flyer Accessory 769 Rotary Beacon installation instructions.
The 769 Beacon was made for Gilbert American Flyer by a company named Colber. Colber sold them as well but the nameplates are different and the colors of the plastic molded parts are different. The structure is all plastic.
The 769A Beacon was made by Gilbert American Flyer and has a metal superstructure along with plastic pieces. In addition, it has one of the ubiquitous Gilbert huts alongside the base of the tower.
Early Colber manufactured units have a rotating assembly that uses the vibrations induced by an electric coil to rotate the beacon. Later Colber units and the Gilbert American Flyer units use a very hot light bulb with a dimple in the top. The beacon part has a pin in the center whose point rests in the dimple. The top of the beacon has vanes and when the heated air coming off the top of the bulb hits the vanes, it makes the beacon turn. Marx and Lionel had similar heat driven beacons.
Many of the heat type beacons jumped or were bumped off of the top of the bulb and the plastic lens came to rest against the side of the very hot lamp resulting in a melt spot. Rare to find an original top without the melt. Reproductions of the tops have been available for a long time and Lionel, MTH and the current company using the Marx (Ready Made Trains) tooling all make beacons with the heat lamp driven tops.