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Some had wheels that flipped, but these needed to be pushed or pulled. A few of the early 19th-century drive toy rails were made from 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 scranton pa

Around 1875, technological improvements in materials and manufacturing allowed tin to be stamped, cut, wrapped, and lithographed faster than ever before.
Toy trains were altered when Märklina German company which specialized in doll house accessories, sought to create an equivalent toy for boys in which a constant revenue stream could be guaranteed by purchasing add-on accessories for decades after the first purchase. In addition to 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 in addition to a working train.

Electric trains followed, with the first appearing in 1897, produced by 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 lighting, the ability to change direction, to emit a whistling sound, 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; afterwards trains were frequently made mostly of plastic.
Pull toys and wind-up trains were marketed by kids, while electric trains were marketed towards teens, especially teenaged boys. It was during the 1950s that the modern emphasis on realism in model railroading began to grab on.
Consumer interest in trains as toys waned in the late 1950s, but has undergone resurgence since the late 1990s due in large part to the popularity of Thomas the Tank Engine.

Now, S gauge and O gauge railroads are still 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 from the 1950s to the 1970s). However, due to their high cost, one is more inclined to find an HO scale or N scale train set at a toy shop than a O scale collection.

Many modern electric toy trains contain sophisticated electronics that emit digitized sound effects and allow the operator to securely and easily run several remote control trains on one loop of track. In the last few years, many toy rail operators will operate a train with a TV camera at the front of the engine and hooked up to a screen, such as computer monitor. This will show a picture, like that of a real (smaller size) railroad)

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