Some had wheels that flipped, but these needed to be pulled or pushed. A few of the early 19th-century drive toy trains were made from tinplate, like the large, durable, stylized locomotive toys from the U.S., which were painted red and gold and decorated with hearts and flowers. model trains elgin
Around 1875, technological improvements in materials and manufacturing allowed tin to be scraped, cut, wrapped, and lithographed faster than ever before.
Toy trains were altered when Märklina German firm that specialized in doll house accessories, sought to make an equivalent toy for boys where a continuous revenue stream could be guaranteed by selling add-on accessories for decades after the initial purchase. Along with boxed sets containing a train and track, Märklin offered extra track, rolling stock, and buildings offered separately, creating the predecessor to the modern model train layout featuring buildings and scenery along with an operating train.
Electric trains followed, with the first appearing in 1897, produced from the U.S. company Carlisle & Finch. As residential use of electricity became more common in the early 20th century, electric trains gained popularity and as time moved on, these electrical trains grew in sophistication, gaining light, the ability to change direction, to emit a whistling noise, to smoke, to couple and uncouple cars and even load and unload cargo. Toy trains by the first half of the 20th century were frequently made of lithographed tin; afterwards trains were often made mostly 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 children, while electrical trains were marketed towards teenagers, particularly teenaged boys. It was during the 1950s the modern emphasis on realism in model railroading began to grab on. Consumer interest in trains as toys waned in the late 1950s, but has undergone resurgence since the late 1990s due in large part to the popularity of Thomas the Tank Engine.
Today, S gauge and O gauge railroads continue to be considered toy trains by their adherents and are often accessorized with semi-scale model buildings by Plasticville or even K-Line (who owns the rights to the Plasticville-like buildings produced by Marx in the 1950s to the 1970s). However, as a result of their high price, one is more likely to find an HO scale or N scale train set in a toy store than a O scale set.
Many modern electric toy trains comprise sophisticated electronics that emit digitized sound effects and allow the operator to safely and easily run multiple remote controller trains on a single loop of course. In the last few years, many toy train operators may operate a train with a TV camera in the front of the engine and hooked up to a display, such as pc monitor. This will show a picture, like that of a real (smaller size) railroad)
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