|Road Name:||Royal Portable Typewriter Whistling Billboard|
|The Royal Portable Typewriter Whistling Billboard was cataloged in 1939 only as #577, and has just the one variation. In 1940 the typewriter billboard whistle would become the #577 "Ringling Bros and Barnum Bailey" Circus billboard that would be carried over into the postwar days (see Photo #2). The 1939 model is different in several ways. First, it has fabric insulation, whereas the later models have plastic insulation. Second, in 1939, Gilbert intended for the whistle to sound via a track trip as opposed to a remote control button (the main photo shows the track trip for 3 rails as well as the fabric insulated wiring). Finally, the frame of the billboard is constructed of four individual pieces that remained that way until around 1947 when the frame construction was changed to be a one-piece sheet-metal unit. Photo #2 shows the 1946-through-1950 Circus Whistling billboard, like the pre-war model of 1940 through 1942. Photo #3 shows the special item produced for the G. Fox Company that was part of the promotional set #4605F. That set also contained the very rare 633F G. Fox box car. According to Maury Romer, the Chief Engineer of the A. C. Gilbert Company, there were 200 to 500 of these sets made with one box car and one billboard in each.|
The linked-to video shows the owner's #577 modified for a custom billboard.
model owned by Ted Hamler
photo © Ted Hamler
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