William F. Hafner founded his toy company in Chicago in 1901 to produce wind-up automobiles. By 1905, his concern had settled on W. F. Hafner as its name, and it changed ist operations to produce clockwork trains. Soon after, Hafner entered into a partnership with William Coleman to begin American Flyer, a company that eventually became one of the four toy companies that dominated the toy train market. Hafner, however, left American Flyer and founded his own Hafner Manufacturing Company making O-guage wind-up trains from 1914 to 1951. At mid-20th century, the Hafner firm was sold to the All Metal Products Company.