Photos are copyright Ted Hamler, and posted here with his permission. This article covers the 1950 through 1953 circus cages and trucks manufactured by Allied for the American Flyer #643 flat cars.
All circus cages and trucks were manufactured by Allied prior to Gilbert using them. In fact, Allied manufactured other circus-related items such as an Amusement Ride truck. All Allied cages have an Allied mold mark on the bottom of the cage, and all trucks have one on the inside of the truck roof.
In the 1980s and 90s reproduction cages and trucks were produced in the same colors as the Allied ones. The reproductions do not have mold marks making it difficult to tell who the manufacturer was. Reproduction cages and trucks are being reproduced again and sold by Diane's Attic in Hebron, Ohio. These cages and trucks are offered in the many different colors and with animals.
The Allied cages and animals were produced in three generations or production runs as described below.
The first generation consists of two different color configurations of the cages. The first color configuration consists of a cage with red sides, a yellow roof, and a blue frame.
The second color configuration consists of a cage with blue sides, a green roof, and red frame. The earliest cages have dark yellow animals and green wheels. Each cage contained either a pelican, zebra, rhino, gorilla, lion, or a panther.
The second generation consists of animals that were manufactured from a lighter or opaque yellow plastic. Also, the wheel casting was changed to add "pot holes" in the rims. Additionally, the wheels came in green, white, yellow, red, and blue.
The third generation of animals were red or light-blue. The blue animals came in red-sided cages with green roofs as opposed to the earlier generation that had yellow roofs.
The red animals came in blue sided cages with yellow roof as opposed to green roofs on the previous generations. That generation of cages had either plain green wheels or blue pot-holed wheels.
The circus trucks are primarily green in varying degrees of opaqueness. Other circus trucks were also produced in red, light blue, and yellow. Initially, the wheels on the trucks were cast green without "pot-holes" like those on the cages.
Later models came with two types of wheels that looked like tires. The first type used green, red, blue, black, white, or reddish-brown wheels.
The second type of tires had a large hub cap, but the wheels only came in white.
An example of a reproduction, or "PYRO", truck is the red truck. As there are no markings on the truck it is difficult to identify the manufacturer. For more information and photos of the Pyro cars, see the July 2010 issue of the S Gaugian magazine, where on page 25 author Ben Stiles covers that and the ACME Toy Company's circus train loads.
Finally, as mentioned earlier about other Allied circus-related items, the Amusement Ride is mounted on a light-blue truck with white tires.
A few additional photos of the different animals in the cages. A representative example of the other animals can be seen in the photos above.
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