Some had wheels that turned, but these needed to be pulled or pushed. A few of the early 19th-century push toy rails were made of tinplate, such as the big, durable, stylized locomotive toys in the U.S., which were painted red and gold and decorated with hearts and flowers. model trains quakertown pa
Around 1875, technological improvements in materials and manufacturing allowed tin to be scraped, cut, wrapped, and lithographed faster than ever before.
Toy trains were altered when Märklin, a German firm that specialized in doll house accessories, sought to make an equal toy for boys where a constant revenue stream could be ensured by purchasing add-on accessories for years after the first purchase. Along with boxed sets containing a train and monitor, 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, produced by the U.S. firm Carlisle & Finch. As home use of power became more common from 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 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; afterwards trains were often made mainly of plastic.
Pull toys and wind-up trains were marketed by kids, while electric trains were marketed towards teenagers, especially teenaged boys.
Today, 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 produced by Marx from the 1950s into the 1970s). However, due to their high cost, one is more likely to locate 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 which exude digitized sound effects and allow the operator to safely and easily run multiple remote control trains on one loop of course. In the last few decades, many toy rail operators will operate a train using a TV camera at 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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