Beautifully engraved certificate from the Compagnie Internationale Des Wagon-Lits
issued in 1919. This historic document was printed by L'Imprimerie and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of steam engine on the bottom. This item is hand signed by the Company's Administrateurs and is over 85 years old.
During a visit to the United States in 1872 and inspired by the achievements of the Pullman brothers, Georges Nagelmackers decides to create the "Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits" (CIWL). Nagelmackers, a 27 year old Belgian, has a brilliant idea to beat Pullman at capturing the European market. His trains will not only be the most comfortable and the most luxurious, but they will cheerfully cross the entire European borders.
In 1884, the company becomes "Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et des Grands Express Européens".
With the help of Belgian king Leopold II and some other business partners Nagelmackers built an empire of not less than 31 luxury trains, which offered services from Vladivostok in the East to Lisbon in the West, from St. Petersburg in the North to Luxor in the South.
The most famous train of all was the 'Orient Express'. Its name is shrouded in legend and has been immortalized by Agatha Christie's 1933 book 'Murder on the Orient-Express'. The Orient Express was the first luxury train in Europe. On 5th June 1883 she embarked on her maiden voyage from Paris Gare de l'Est across Europe and by 1889 offered a non-stop service from Paris via Munich, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Sofia to Constantinople (today's Istanbul).