The earliest toy trains were made of lead and had no moving parts. Some had wheels which turned, but these had to be pushed or pulled. A few of the early 19th-century push toy trains were made of tinplate, like the large, durable, stylized locomotive toys from the U.S., which were painted red and gold and decorated with hearts and flowers. model trains sydney
Around 1875, technological improvements in materials and manufacturing enabled tin to be scraped, cut, wrapped, and lithographed faster than previously.
Toy trains were altered when Märklina German company which specialized in doll house accessories, sought to create an equal toy for boys where a constant revenue stream could be guaranteed by selling add-on accessories for years after the initial 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 buildings and scenery along with a working train.
Electric trains followed, with the first appearing in 1897, produced from the U.S. firm Carlisle & Finch. As home use of power became more common in the early 20th century, electrical trains gained popularity and as time went on, these electrical trains grew in sophistication, gaining lighting, the ability to change management, to emit a whistling sound, to smoke, to couple and uncouple cars as well as load and unload freight. Toy trains from the first half of the 20th century were frequently made of lithographed tin; later trains were often made mostly 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 by children, while electric trains were marketed towards teenagers, particularly 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 K-Line (who owns the rights to the Plasticville-like buildings produced by Marx in the 1950s to the 1970s). However, as a result of their high cost, one is more inclined to locate an HO scale or N scale train set at a toy shop than a O scale collection.
Many modern electrical toy trains comprise sophisticated electronics that exude digitized sound effects and permit the operator to securely and easily run multiple remote control trains on a single loop of course. In recent decades, many toy rail operators will operate a train using a TV camera in the front of the engine and hooked up to a screen, such as pc monitor. This will show a picture, similar to that of a genuine (smaller size) railroad)
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