American Flyer is a name rooted in the history of model trains that began in Chicago
in 1905 with toymaker William Hafner and his friend William Coleman. The American
Flyer name was adopted in 1908. Early trains were wind-up or clockwork models with
some large scale models being produced prior to the Great Depression. In 1918 the
company introduced its first electric train, an O-gauge model that was simply a
windup model with an electric motor in place of the clockwork motor.
A.C. Gilbert, of Erector Set fame, took over the company in 1938. Today, American
Flyer model trains still run on layouts and under Christmas trees across the U.S.