Originated in Chicago, Illinois, American Flyer is an independent company that is known for creating some of the best model toy trains to date. Toymaker William Fredrick Hafner was an ingenious man who developed a clockwork motor that worked in toy cars while. He created this unique motor 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, however, an area in which they thrived, so they began to design and create scale trains on the side. Once 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.
The American Flyer Manufacturing Company gained popularity during World War I when a majority of German manufacturers were no longer leading the industry. Using U.S. manufacturers to get the job done, American Flyer Manufacturing Company quickly gained momentum and became the toy train of choice. Once this traction had been made, they released their toy bicycle and motorcycle, which were also 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.
Selling more than half a million trains in some of their best years, the 1920s were a great time for American Flyer. The great depression, however, hurt the American Flyer Manufacturing Company — as well as many other companies — and lead to the return of the original O gauge train.
After a few years of struggling, American Flyer was given the opportunity to take over one of their major competitors, Ives, after they had claimed bankruptcy. While this felt like a tremendous opportunity to succeed once more, they wound up selling their portion of the company to another toy train company. 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.
All About Toy Trains has a passion for the story behind the American Flyer S Scale Freight Cars. That’s why we carry a selection of the different types of freight cars that were designed. Browse our selection of American Flyer S Scale Freight Cars online and find the perfect piece for your model train collection.