The earliest toy trains were made from lead and had no moving parts. Some had wheels which turned, but these had to be pulled or pushed. Some of the early 19th-century drive toy trains were made of tinplate, like the large, durable, stylized locomotive toys in the U.S., that were painted red and gold and decorated with hearts and flowers. model trains zionsville indiana
Around 1875, technological improvements in materials and manufacturing enabled tin to be scraped, cut, wrapped, and lithographed faster than previously.
Toy trains were revolutionized when Märklin, a German company that specialized in doll house accessories, sought to create 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 containing a train and monitor, Märklin offered additional track, rolling stock, and buildings offered separately, creating the predecessor to the modern model train layout featuring scenery and buildings 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 electricity became more common from the early 20th century, electric trains gained popularity and as time went on, these electrical trains grew in sophistication, gaining light, 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 by the first half of the 20th century were frequently made of lithographed tin; afterwards trains were frequently made mostly of plastic.
Before the 1950s, there was little differentiation between toy trains and model railroads–model railroads were toys by definition. Pull toys and wind-up trains were marketed by kids, while electric trains were marketed towards teenagers, particularly teenaged boys.
Now, S gauge and O gauge railroads continue to be considered toy trains 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 likely to find an HO scale or N scale train set at a toy shop than a O scale set.
Many modern electrical toy trains comprise sophisticated electronics which exude digitized sound effects and permit the operator to safely and easily run several remote control trains on one loop of course. In the last few decades, many toy train operators will operate a train with a TV camera in the front part of the engine and hooked up to a screen, such as computer monitor. This will show an image, similar to that of a real (smaller size) railroad.
Thanks for your interest in model trains zionsville indiana