The first toy trains were made of lead and had no moving parts. Some had wheels which turned, but these needed to be pulled or pushed. A few of the early 19th-century drive toy trains were made of tinplate, like the large, durable, stylized locomotive toys in the U.S., which were painted gold and red and decorated with hearts and flowers. model trains nelson
Around 1875, technological advancements in materials and manufacturing enabled tin to be stamped, cut, rolled, and lithographed faster than previously.
Toy trains were revolutionized when Märklin, a German company that specialized in doll house accessories, sought to create an equivalent toy for boys where a constant revenue stream could be ensured by selling add-on accessories for years after the initial 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 a working train.
Electric trains adopted, with the first appearing in 1897, produced from the U.S. firm Carlisle & Finch. As residential use of power became more prevalent in the early 20th century, electrical 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 noise, 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 frequently made of lithographed tin; later trains were often made mainly of plastic.
Pull toys and wind-up trains were marketed towards children, while electric trains were marketed towards teens, especially teenaged boys.
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 continue to be 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 created 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 a O scale set.
Many modern electrical toy trains comprise sophisticated electronic equipment which emit digitized sound effects and permit the operator to safely and easily run multiple remote controller trains on a single 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 display, such as computer monitor. This will show an image, similar to that of a genuine (smaller size) railroad.
Thanks for your interest in model trains nelson