Some had wheels which flipped, but these had to be pulled or pushed. Some of the early 19th-century push toy rails 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. trains models for sale
Around 1875, technological improvements in materials and manufacturing enabled tin to be stamped, cut, wrapped, and lithographed faster than previously.
Toy trains were revolutionized when Märklin, a German firm which specialized in doll house accessories, sought to make an equal toy for boys in which a constant revenue stream could be guaranteed by purchasing add-on accessories for years after the initial purchase. In addition to 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 along with an operating train.
Electric trains adopted, with the first appearing in 1897, produced from the U.S. company Carlisle & Finch. As residential use of electricity became more common from the early 20th century, electrical trains gained popularity and as time went on, these electrical trains grew in sophistication, gaining lighting, the ability to change direction, to emit a whistling noise, to smoke, to couple and uncouple cars as well as load and unload cargo. Toy trains by the first half of the 20th century were often made of lithographed tin; later trains were frequently made mainly of plastic.
Pull toys and wind-up trains were marketed by children, while electrical trains were marketed towards teenagers, particularly teenaged boys.
Now, S gauge and O gauge railroads are still considered toy trains by their adherents and are often accessorized with semi-scale model buildings by Plasticville or K-Line (who owns the rights to the Plasticville-like buildings created by Marx in 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 in a toy store than an O scale set.
Many modern electric toy trains contain sophisticated electronics that emit digitized sound effects and permit the operator to safely and easily run multiple remote control trains on one loop of track. In recent decades, many toy train operators will operate a train using a TV camera in the front part of the engine and hooked up to a display, such as computer monitor. This will show a picture, like that of a genuine (smaller size) railroad.
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