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What is S-scale?

The different model railroading scales.

This is S-scale

S scale (sometimes called S gauge) is modeling in 3/16th to the foot or a proportion of 1:64 to the real full size model. In other words, the real model is 1:1 and 64 times larger than S scale models in all dimensions.

The above picture (compliments of Kalmbach Publishing Co.) compares some of the most common scales. "O" is 1/48th scale or 1/4" to the foot. "S" is 1/64th scale or 3/16" to the foot. "HO" scale, currently the most popular, is 1/87th scale or 3.5mm to the foot (a little over 1/8").

A Brief History About "S" Scale Railroading

The earliest recorded 1/64th models were in England before the turn of the century, a larger scale common at the time known as #1 (1/32nd) became too large for some modelers, so they decided to make locomotives and rolling stock 1/2 this size. They called it H-1 which is one half of #1 scale trains. In about 1937 1/64th trains with track was marketed by "CD Models" called CD scale.

Separately Mr. AC Gilbert bought a line of toy trains in about 1937 called "Chicago American Flyer Trains". Gilbert marketed theseas "American Flyer Trains" and made the die cast 1/64th tooling for their steam engines from 1938 to 1942 however they ran on 3 rail track similar to Lionel trains. In1942 the National Model Railroad Association designated 1/64th models as "S" Scale. Following World War II, the AC Gilbert Co. made and mass marketed American Flyer S scale trains with 2 rail S gauge track. Tooling for plastic locomotives and cars were made after WWII. The company went out of business in 1967.

Many people still have American Flyer trains...others remember playing with them when they were young. This is the reason we, at American Models manufacture our trains to be compatible with these. This type...called "hi-rail" (tinplate) because of the larger wheel flanges and couplers, which ran on oversized hollow track. This accounts for about 90% of the current "S" scale market. Others who are known as "scalers" want the most realism possible with DC motors; only the smallest possible wheel flanges; and scale couplers. We make this type also but must be noted when ordering.

Our standard train sets come with a three position reverse unit which enables it to work with AC or DC current. In many cases, customers use the old American Flyer transformer, still found in many hobby shops. To utilize the reverse function on these models, one must turn the power on and off twice to reverse the direction.

Our .148 track is a little over 1/8 inch in height and will accommodate the old American Flyer trains. Our AC sound system must be used with AC only.