Some had wheels that flipped, but these had to be pushed or pulled. A few of the early 19th-century push toy trains were made from tinplate, such as the large, durable, stylized locomotive toys from the U.S., which were painted red and gold and decorated with hearts and flowers. model trains ho scale layouts
Around 1875, technological improvements in materials and manufacturing allowed tin to be scraped, cut, wrapped, and lithographed faster than previously.
Toy trains were altered when Märklina German firm which specialized in doll house accessories, sought to make an equal toy for boys where a continuous revenue stream could be ensured by purchasing add-on accessories for decades after the first 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 in addition to an operating 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 common from the early 20th century, electric trains gained popularity and as time went on, these electrical trains grew in sophistication, gaining light, the ability to change direction, to emit a whistling noise, to smoke, to remotely couple and uncouple cars and even load and unload cargo. Toy trains from the first half of the 20th century were frequently made of lithographed tin; later trains were frequently made mainly of plastic.
Prior to 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 teens, especially teenaged boys. It was during the 1950s the modern emphasis on realism in model railroading began to grab on.
Now, S gauge and O gauge railroads are still 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 from the 1950s to the 1970s). However, as a result of their high price, one is more likely to locate an HO scale or N scale train set at a toy store than a O scale collection.
Many modern electric toy trains contain sophisticated electronics that exude digitized sound effects and permit the operator to securely and easily run multiple remote controller trains on one loop of track. In recent decades, many toy train operators will operate a train using a TV camera at the front of the engine and hooked up to a screen, such as computer monitor. This will show a picture, similar to that of a real (smaller size) railroad.
Thanks for your interest in model trains ho scale layouts