Some had wheels that flipped, but these had to be pushed or pulled. A few of the early 19th-century drive toy trains were made from tinplate, such as the big, durable, stylized locomotive toys in the U.S., which were painted gold and red and decorated with hearts and flowers. model trains layouts ho
Around 1875, technological improvements in materials and manufacturing allowed tin to be stamped, cut, rolled, and lithographed faster than ever before.
Toy trains were revolutionized when Märklin, a German firm that specialized in doll house accessories, sought to create an equivalent toy for boys where a constant revenue stream could be guaranteed by purchasing add-on accessories for years after the first purchase. In addition to boxed sets comprising a train and monitor, 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 a working train.
Electric trains followed, with the first appearing in 1897, produced by the U.S. company Carlisle & Finch. As home use of power became more common in the early 20th century, electric trains gained popularity and as time moved on, these electrical trains grew in sophistication, gaining lighting, the ability to change management, to emit a whistling noise, to smoke, to remotely couple and uncouple cars and even load and unload freight. Toy trains from the first half of the 20th century were often made of lithographed tin; later trains were often made mainly of plastic.
Before the 1950s, there was little distinction between toy trains and model railroads–model railroads were toys by definition. Pull toys and wind-up trains were marketed towards children, while electric trains were marketed towards teens, particularly teenaged boys.
Now, S gauge and O gauge railroads continue to be 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 into the 1970s). However, due to their high price, one is more inclined to find an HO scale or N scale train set in a toy store than an O scale set.
Many modern electrical toy trains contain sophisticated electronics which exude digitized sound effects and permit the operator to securely and easily run multiple remote control trains on one loop of track. In the last few years, many toy rail operators may operate a train using a TV camera at the front of the motor and hooked up to a screen, such as computer monitor. This will show a picture, like that of a genuine (smaller size) railroad.
Thanks for your interest in model trains layouts ho