Originated in Chicago, Illinois, American Flyer is an independent company that is known for creating some of the best S gauge toy trains to date. Toymaker William Fredrick Hafner had developed a clockwork motor that worked in toy cars while working for a different company around the year of 1905.
Later, around 1906 and 1907, Hafner and a dear friend, William Coleman, took over a company called Edmonds-Metzel Hardware Company. This was not a business in which they thrived, so they began to design and create scale trains on the side. After they had secured more than $15,000 worth of orders, the gentleman quickly left the hardware industry and started the toy train business known as American Flyer Manufacturing Company.
Gaining popularity in World War I, the American Flyer Manufacturing Company turned to U.S. manufacturers to create their toy trains. The German toy companies that once dominated the toy market were no longer a major competition, making American Flyer trains the toy of choice. With this momentum that they had made, the company soon introduced the bicycle and motorcycle toys that also became quite popular.
Around the year of 1918, American Flyer introduced its first electric train — a big deal for toy train lovers. This was a windup model that was used in place of the clockwork motor that had been designed years prior. Once this new toy train had been introduced, American Flyer was off on the path to success.
The 1920s were an amazing time for them, selling more than half a million trains in some of their best years. The great depression, however, hurt the American Flyer Manufacturing Company and lead to the return of the original O gauge train. In the year of 1928, American Flyer was given the opportunity to take over one of their main competitors after they had claimed bankruptcy: Ives.
In the end, American Flyer worked tirelessly to create toy trains and had to drop their prices on more than one occasion and wound up struggling to make a profit. They are still, however, one of the most well-known model train companies.
All About Toy Trains has a passion for the story behind the American Flyer S Scale Engines. That’s why we carry a selection of the classic engines that were made. Browse our selection of American Flyer S Scale Engines online and find the perfect piece for your model train collection.