Some had wheels that turned, but these had to be pulled or pushed. A few of the early 19th-century push toy rails were made of tinplate, like the large, durable, stylized locomotive toys in the U.S., that were painted gold and red and decorated with hearts and flowers. model trains hobby shop near me
Around 1875, technological advancements in materials and manufacturing allowed tin to be stamped, cut, wrapped, and lithographed faster than ever before.
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 selling add-on accessories for years after the first purchase. In addition to boxed sets comprising a train and track, Märklin offered extra track, rolling stock, and buildings sold separately, creating the predecessor to the modern model train layout featuring scenery and buildings along with an operating train.
Electric trains followed, with the first appearing in 1897, made from the U.S. firm Carlisle & Finch. As residential use of power became more common from the early 20th century, electric trains gained popularity and as time went on, these electric 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 often made of lithographed tin; afterwards trains were often 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 teenagers, especially teenaged boys. It was during the 1950s the modern emphasis on realism in model railroading started to catch on. Consumer interest in trains as toys waned in the late 1950s, but has experienced resurgence since the late 1990s due in large part to the popularity of Thomas the Tank Engine.
Today, S gauge and O gauge railroads are still considered toy trains even by their own 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, due to their high price, one is more likely to locate 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 track. In the last few years, many toy train operators may operate a train using a TV camera in the front part of the engine and hooked up to a screen, such as pc monitor. This will show an image, like that of a real (smaller size) railroad)
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