The earliest toy trains were made from lead and had no moving parts. Some had wheels which turned, but these needed to be pulled or pushed. A few of the early 19th-century drive toy trains were made from tinplate, like the large, durable, stylized locomotive toys from the U.S., which were painted red and gold and decorated with hearts and flowers. trains models and trolley car in ho gauge
Around 1875, technological improvements in materials and manufacturing enabled tin to be scraped, cut, rolled, and lithographed faster than previously.
Toy trains were revolutionized when Märklina German company which specialized in doll house accessories, sought to make an equivalent toy for boys where a constant revenue stream could be ensured by selling add-on accessories for decades after the first purchase. In addition to boxed sets comprising a train and monitor, Märklin offered additional track, rolling stock, and buildings sold separately, creating the predecessor to the modern model train layout featuring buildings and scenery in addition to a working train.
Electric trains followed, with the first appearing in 1897, made from the U.S. company Carlisle & Finch. As home use of electricity became more prevalent in the early 20th century, electrical trains gained popularity and as time went on, these electric trains grew in sophistication, gaining light, the ability to change direction, to emit a whistling noise, 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.
Prior to 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 towards children, while electrical trains were marketed towards teenagers, particularly teenaged boys.
Today, S gauge and O gauge railroads are still considered toy trains even 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 from the 1950s to the 1970s). However, as a result of their high price, one is more likely to find an HO scale or N scale train set in a toy shop than an O scale collection.
Many modern electric toy trains contain sophisticated electronic equipment which exude digitized sound effects and allow the operator to securely and easily run several remote controller trains on a single loop of course. In the last few decades, many toy rail operators may operate a train with a TV camera at the front of the engine and hooked up to a screen, such as pc monitor. This will show an image, similar to that of a real (smaller size) railroad)
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