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Some had wheels which flipped, but these had to be pushed or pulled. Some of the early 19th-century drive toy rails were made from tinplate, like the big, durable, stylized locomotive toys from the U.S., that were painted red and gold and decorated with hearts and flowers. model trains for sale near me

Around 1875, technological advancements in materials and manufacturing allowed tin to be scraped, cut, rolled, and lithographed faster than ever before.
Toy trains were altered when Märklin, a German company which 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 years after the first purchase. In addition to boxed sets comprising a train and monitor, Märklin offered additional track, rolling stock, and buildings sold separately, creating the predecessor to the modern model train layout featuring buildings and scenery in addition to a working train.

Electric trains adopted, with the first appearing in 1897, made by the U.S. firm Carlisle & Finch. As home use of electricity became more prevalent from the early 20th century, electrical 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 sound, to smoke, to remotely 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 frequently made mostly of plastic.
Pull toys and wind-up trains were marketed towards kids, while electric trains were marketed towards teenagers, particularly teenaged boys. It was during the 1950s the modern emphasis on realism in model railroading began to catch on.

Now, S gauge and O gauge railroads continue to be considered toy trains even 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 produced by Marx in the 1950s to the 1970s). However, due to their high price, one is more likely to find an HO scale or N scale train set in a toy shop than a O scale set.

Many modern electric toy trains contain sophisticated electronic equipment that exude digitized sound effects and allow the operator to securely and easily run several remote control trains on a single loop of course. In recent decades, many toy rail operators will operate a train using a TV camera in the front part of the motor and hooked up to a display, such as computer monitor. This will show an image, similar to that of a genuine (smaller size) railroad.

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