Some had wheels which turned, but these needed to be pushed or pulled. Some of the early 19th-century push toy rails were made from tinplate, such as the large, durable, stylized locomotive toys in the U.S., which were painted gold and red and decorated with hearts and flowers. model trains vintage
Around 1875, technological improvements in materials and manufacturing enabled tin to be stamped, cut, rolled, and lithographed faster than previously.
Toy trains were revolutionized when Märklina German company that 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 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 in addition to a working train.
Electric trains adopted, with the first appearing in 1897, produced from the U.S. firm Carlisle & Finch. As residential use of electricity became more common from the early 20th century, electric trains gained popularity and as time moved 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; afterwards trains were often made mainly of plastic.
Pull toys and wind-up trains were marketed towards 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 catch on. 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.
Now, S gauge and O gauge railroads continue to be 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 produced by Marx from the 1950s into 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 an O scale set.
Many modern electric toy trains contain sophisticated electronic equipment that emit digitized sound effects and allow the operator to securely and easily run multiple remote controller trains on one loop of course. In recent decades, many toy train operators may operate a train with 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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