model train set on track

Imperial Limited Line

e*Train Issue: Aug 2007   |   Posted in: ,

By Jerry Loman

Prior to 1914, Imperialism was on the rise in Eastern Europe and the notion led way to the popularization of the use of the term “IMPERIAL”.

American Flyer was eagerly expanding into markets beyond the American border with names like “Imperial Limited”, “Continental Flyer”, and “Dominium Flyer” as used on some of their toy train cars.  Were these names just to provide some alternative marketing for their products or were they especially made to expand in these markets?

Another manufacturer, Hafner Toy manufacturing, had started with the “Overland Flyer” name and early in their start up of 1914, was using the name of “Canadian Flyer” on some of their consists.

Given the options of changing the litho graphics to seek specific markets made for an ever expanding product line. The terms popular in the press in the day has led to an array of special cars and consists that today’s collector avidly seeks.

The dawn of 1914 saw the start of the 1st World War.  This was brought on by economic strife in the region.  Did American Flyer seek to capture new markets for their burgeoning enterprise?  In the advent of the war, commercial shipping was hit hard by commerce raiding in the high seas.  Shippers in the Atlantic and British Isles saw fit to travel in convoy.  The aid of Destroyers from the US and British Navy let goods that were being shipped to Europe from America see some protection.

With the high cost of shipping and the economic troubles that Europe was enduring along with the limited access to the commercial convoys, these new products made for this market were not viably profitable for the likes of American Flyer Company.  A new market for the American toy manufacturers had to wait until after the war ended to supply these new markets.

Thus the use of the name “Imperial Limited” ceased to be used shortly after it was released to the marketers.  The “Imperial” entities warring in Europe and the term “Imperial” itself went away with the change in economic capitalism.

The American Flyer coach number 1103 with “Imperial Flyer Limited” emblazoned across the top had been one of those lines that did not survive the perils of the day and its’ name along with the notion was lost to the advent of the new economic horizon.