The early stockyard,771 was from 1950-1954 had the4 rail fence. The K771, knuckle coupler version, had 3 rail fences, (1953-1956) as did the 23771(1957-1961). There might have been some 4 rail fence stockyards sold in 53 and 54 due to the fact that both link and knuckle coupler versions were sold in 53 and 54. The reason for the change might have been a cost savings, less material was needed. Without the original box its hard to tell the 3 and 5 digit versions. There are numerous small variations as far as the shed door and the painted lines on it. Also the mat and base paint was different at times. Some bases were a steel blue instead of the normal green.
I have 3 of those 771 Stock Yards. 2 have the black mat and one is a Type II with white mat. To be honest, I have never looked at the barn door lines even though I am aware of that variation. I also do not have all my cows. One 771 has all the cows and correct controller, one 774 has 2 cows and correct controller and the last one has no cows but the correct controller.
Those cows sure aren't cheap! I have often thought that people who have original Gilbert cows to sell must watch the cattle market futures and price them accordingly! Even repro ones are expensive.
I have the 4 rail one now, I couldn't tell you what the other one was I sold years ago. Like Tom said, I had no idea of the differences in these, along with most of the stuff I bought at the beginning. I just bought whatever I didn't have and that was almost everything!
Al it looks like you have a 4 rail fenced 771 there. Like me some of your cows got out. lol It looks like you got a pretty nice 589 Station there as well.
Broke that 771 you got there looks very nice. The trim lines on the barn doors look like all 3 of mine. Al has a 4 rail 771 with a thicker yellow line on his barn doors. Perhaps 4 rail versions had the thicker yellow lines?
I wouldn't assume anything with Flyer, there seems to be too many variations with almost everything. Even some 4 rail stockyards show up in K771 sets. A few pictures in The Gilbert Gallery shows some variations. Scroll down about a third of the page for some examples.
Cramden you are correct not to assume anything about Gilbert production. I know better. I went to that page you listed and I didn't see my 771 with the white mat that Doyle mentions in his book as being a Type II version. My other 2 are black as shown.
The difference between the solid door outlines versus the broken line version is shown quite clearly. I have never seen a blue based 771 at any train shows but 2 are currently on eBay with 3 rail fence. There is also a 4 rail version currently there as well but looks a little rough. It would need restoring. Or not. I have never been around a nice cattle lot in my life. I grew up on a farm with cattle so I can tell you first hand. Maybe I'll buy it so it will fit in with my real world layout theme.
Kenny, just looking at 2 Greenberg books shows 4 variations listed in the 1988 book and 7 variations in the 1991 book. One other thing worth mentioning is that some had a screw on the rear of the vibrating mechanism to adjust the amount of vibrations while some later ones had a square metal post to make the adjustment. Those models came with an Erector wrench for that purpose. Tough to find unless you get a complete boxed stockyard.
Cramden thanks for that information from the Greenberg books. My Doyle book doesn't go into that much detail. It only lists 4 types and 1 K771. I wish I had bought those Greenberg books since it seems they contain a lot of information not found elsewhere. Even the Gilbert Gallery, as good as it is, doesn't seem to have as much information as those books do.
The books are very good and there are a lot of photos which helps, but there are some omissions and errors like most books of this scope. I don't have the first one but bought the second addition from 1984 and then the 1988 and finally the three volume set in 1991. I still learn new things almost every time I open one up to check on something. Well worth the investment at the time.