Some had wheels that turned, but these had to be pushed or pulled. Some of the early 19th-century drive toy trains were made of tinplate, like the large, durable, stylized locomotive toys from the U.S., that were painted gold and red and decorated with hearts and flowers. model trains near 18942
Around 1875, technological advancements in materials and manufacturing enabled tin to be stamped, cut, wrapped, and lithographed faster than ever before.
Toy trains were revolutionized when Märklin, a German company which specialized in doll house accessories, sought to create an equal toy for boys in which a constant revenue stream could be guaranteed 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 along with a working train.
Electric trains adopted, with the first appearing in 1897, produced by the U.S. company Carlisle & Finch. As residential use of electricity became more common 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 management, to emit a whistling sound, to smoke, to remotely couple and uncouple cars and even load and unload freight. Toy trains by the first half of the 20th century were often made of lithographed tin; later trains were frequently made mainly of plastic.
Pull toys and wind-up trains were marketed towards kids, while electric trains were marketed towards teens, particularly teenaged boys.
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 even K-Line (who owns the rights to the Plasticville-like buildings created by Marx from the 1950s into the 1970s). However, as a result of their high price, one is more likely to find an HO scale or N scale train set in a toy shop than an O scale collection.
Many modern electrical toy trains comprise sophisticated electronics that emit digitized sound effects and permit 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 with a TV camera at the front of the motor and hooked up to a screen, such as computer monitor. This will show an image, similar to that of a genuine (smaller size) railroad)
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