A large amount of those trains were the American Flyer brand. They were considered by many to function as top of the line. Lionel and Marx had good trains, however the American Flyer was in another class.

Once the American Flyer first appeared in 1908, it had been not the very best train set. Whitney Port The honor of number one belonged to the trains made by Ives Manufacturing Company. William Coleman and his friend William Hafner pooled resources to start the toy train business, in Chicago, circa 1906. Hafner had developed the clockwork mechanism for the train, and Coleman had a tooling company for the production. The American Flyer name started to be well known because Hafner could contract with retailers like Montgomery Ward to transport it within their stores. In 1910, the tooling company changed its name to The American Flyer Company.

Eventually, Coleman and Hafner split ways over a disagreement, and the Flyer began to decline in market share. Coleman died in 1918, and his son, William O. Jr., took control. The value of the company further decreased after the senior’s death. W. O. didn’t really care much for the toy train business.

In 1938, Coleman basically gave The American Flyer Company to his friend Alfred Carlton Gilbert. WHENEVER A.C. took over, the Flyer started to gain momentum, probably due partly to Gilbert’s expertise in advertising. The company was moved from Chicago to New Haven, Connecticut, where in fact the trains were produced that collectors still seek today.

The next World War curtailed production for the Flyer along with other toy makers, but it 1946 these were underway again. For two decades the American Flyer tried in vain to top Lionel for the marketplace, eventually bankrupting in 1967. A lot of the models available to collectors were from the years after the war.

American Flyers are called S gauge, derived from sixty-forth, the ratio of the train fully size prototype. This is not the most famous size for model trains. Small HO scale is the hottest worldwide, but the S gauge still includes a following. One American company began as a result of inability of the owner to get quality parts for his personal American Flyer. American Models is producing its rolling stock, tracks, and engines to greatly help preserve the Flyers that are still in operation.

Lionel collectors may say that the Flyer is second rate, but for all of them there seems to be another who feels the opposite. The great thing is that there still are many of the old American model trains running the rails today. What would you like for Christmas?