The first toy trains were made of lead and had no moving parts. Some had wheels which turned, but these needed to be pushed or pulled. Some of the early 19th-century push toy trains were made of tinplate, like the large, durable, stylized locomotive toys in the U.S., which were painted gold and red and decorated with hearts and flowers. model trains z scale sets
Around 1875, technological improvements in materials and manufacturing enabled tin to be scraped, cut, wrapped, and lithographed faster than ever before.
Toy trains were altered when Märklin, a German firm that specialized in doll house accessories, sought to make an equivalent toy for boys in which a continuous 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 offered separately, creating the predecessor to the modern model train layout featuring buildings and scenery along with an operating train.
Electric trains adopted, with the first appearing in 1897, made 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 went on, these electric trains grew in sophistication, gaining lighting, the ability to change management, to emit a whistling noise, 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; later trains were frequently made mainly of plastic.
Pull toys and wind-up trains were marketed by kids, while electric trains were marketed towards teenagers, especially teenaged boys. It was during the 1950s that the modern emphasis on realism in model railroading started to catch on.
Today, 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 even K-Line (who owns the rights to the Plasticville-like buildings created by Marx from the 1950s into the 1970s). However, as a result of their high cost, one is more likely to find an HO scale or N scale train set at a toy store than an O scale collection.
Many modern electrical toy trains comprise sophisticated electronics which exude digitized sound effects and allow the operator to safely and easily run several remote controller trains on a single 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, similar to that of a genuine (smaller size) railroad)
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