Some had wheels which turned, but these needed to be pushed or pulled. Some of the early 19th-century drive toy rails were made of tinplate, like the big, durable, stylized locomotive toys in the U.S., that were painted gold and red and decorated with hearts and flowers. model trains austin tx
Around 1875, technological advancements in materials and manufacturing enabled tin to be scraped, cut, rolled, and lithographed faster than ever before.
Toy trains were altered when Märklin, a German firm that specialized in doll house accessories, sought to create an equivalent toy for boys where a continuous revenue stream could be ensured by selling add-on accessories for decades after the first purchase. In addition to boxed sets containing a train and monitor, Märklin offered additional track, rolling stock, and buildings sold separately, creating the predecessor to the modern model train layout featuring scenery and buildings in addition to a working train.
Electric trains adopted, with the first appearing in 1897, produced by the U.S. company Carlisle & Finch. As home use of power became more prevalent from the early 20th century, electrical trains gained popularity and as time went on, these electrical trains grew in sophistication, gaining lighting, the ability to change management, to emit a whistling sound, to smoke, to couple and uncouple cars as well as load and unload cargo. Toy trains by the first half of the 20th century were frequently made of lithographed tin; later trains were often made mainly of plastic.
Before the 1950s, there was little differentiation between toy trains and model railroads–model railroads were toys by definition. Pull toys and wind-up trains were marketed towards kids, while electric trains were marketed towards teens, particularly teenaged boys. It was during the 1950s that the modern emphasis on realism in model railroading started to grab on.
Now, S gauge and O gauge railroads are still considered toy trains by their adherents and are often accessorized with semi-scale model buildings by Plasticville or K-Line (who owns the rights to the Plasticville-like buildings created by Marx in the 1950s into the 1970s). However, as a result of their high cost, one is more inclined to find an HO scale or N scale train set in a toy store than a O scale set.
Many modern electric toy trains contain sophisticated electronic equipment which emit digitized sound effects and allow the operator to securely and easily run several remote controller trains on a single loop of course. In recent decades, many toy train operators may operate a train with a TV camera at the front of the motor and hooked up to a display, such as pc monitor. This will show a picture, similar to that of a real (smaller size) railroad)
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