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

Around 1875, technological improvements in materials and manufacturing allowed tin to be scraped, cut, rolled, and lithographed faster than ever before.
Toy trains were altered when Märklina German company that specialized in doll house accessories, sought to make an equivalent toy for boys in which a constant revenue stream could be ensured by selling add-on accessories for decades after the initial purchase. Along with boxed sets comprising a train and monitor, Märklin offered extra track, rolling stock, and buildings sold separately, creating the predecessor to the modern model train layout featuring buildings and scenery along with an operating train.

Electric trains adopted, with the first appearing in 1897, produced by the U.S. firm Carlisle & Finch. As residential use of power became more prevalent from the early 20th century, electric trains gained popularity and as time moved on, these electric 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 freight. 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 distinction between toy trains and model railroads–model railroads were toys by definition. Pull toys and wind-up trains were marketed towards kids, while electrical trains were marketed towards teenagers, particularly teenaged boys. It was during the 1950s the modern emphasis on realism in model railroading started to catch on.

Today, 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 K-Line (who owns the rights to the Plasticville-like buildings created by Marx in the 1950s to the 1970s). However, as a result of their high cost, one is more likely to locate an HO scale or N scale train set at a toy shop than a O scale collection.

Many modern electrical toy trains contain sophisticated electronics which emit digitized sound effects and permit the operator to securely and easily run several remote controller trains on one loop of course. In the last few decades, many toy train operators may operate a train with a TV camera at the front of the motor and hooked up to a screen, such as pc monitor. This will show an image, similar to that of a genuine (smaller size) railroad)

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