The earliest toy trains were made from lead and had no moving parts. Some had wheels which flipped, but these had to be pulled or pushed. A few of the early 19th-century push toy rails were made of tinplate, like the big, durable, stylized locomotive toys from the U.S., that were painted red and gold and decorated with hearts and flowers. model trains wiki
Around 1875, technological advancements in materials and manufacturing enabled tin to be stamped, cut, rolled, and lithographed faster than ever before.
Toy trains were altered when Märklina German company that specialized in doll house accessories, sought to make an equal toy for boys in which a constant revenue stream could be ensured by purchasing add-on accessories for decades after the first purchase. Along with boxed sets comprising a train and track, Märklin offered additional track, rolling stock, and buildings sold separately, creating the predecessor to the modern model train layout featuring scenery and buildings in addition to an operating train.
Electric trains adopted, with the first appearing in 1897, produced from the U.S. company Carlisle & Finch. As home use of power became more common in 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 sound, to smoke, to couple and uncouple cars and even load and unload freight. 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 children, while electric trains were marketed towards teenagers, particularly teenaged boys.
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 even K-Line (who owns the rights to the Plasticville-like buildings created by Marx from the 1950s into the 1970s). However, due to their high price, 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 electrical toy trains contain sophisticated electronics which exude digitized sound effects and permit the operator to securely and easily run several remote controller trains on one loop of track. In recent years, many toy rail operators may operate a train with a TV camera at the front of the engine and hooked up to a display, such as pc monitor. This will show an image, similar to that of a genuine (smaller size) railroad)
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