The first toy trains were made from 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 drive toy rails were made of tinplate, such as the big, durable, stylized locomotive toys in the U.S., that were painted gold and red and decorated with hearts and flowers. model trains thomas and friends
Around 1875, technological advancements in materials and manufacturing allowed tin to be scraped, cut, rolled, and lithographed faster than ever before.
Toy trains were revolutionized when Märklin, a German company that specialized in doll house accessories, sought to make an equivalent toy for boys where a constant revenue stream could be guaranteed by purchasing add-on accessories for years after the first purchase. In addition to boxed sets comprising a train and monitor, Märklin offered extra track, rolling stock, and buildings offered separately, creating the predecessor to the modern model train layout featuring scenery and buildings in addition to a working train.
Electric trains followed, with the first appearing in 1897, produced by the U.S. company Carlisle & Finch. As residential use of power became more prevalent from the early 20th century, electrical trains gained popularity and as time moved on, these electric trains grew in sophistication, gaining light, the ability to change management, to emit a whistling noise, to smoke, to remotely couple and uncouple cars as well as load and unload cargo. Toy trains from the first half of the 20th century were frequently made of lithographed tin; later trains were frequently made mostly of plastic.
Pull toys and wind-up trains were marketed by children, while electric trains were marketed towards teenagers, especially teenaged boys.
Now, S gauge and O gauge railroads are still considered toy trains 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 in the 1950s to the 1970s). However, due to their high cost, one is more inclined to locate an HO scale or N scale train set in a toy store than an O scale set.
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 the last few years, many toy rail operators will operate a train using a TV camera in the front of the motor and hooked up to a screen, such as pc monitor. This will show an image, similar to that of a real (smaller size) railroad.
Thanks for your interest in model trains thomas and friends