The earliest toy trains were made of lead and had no moving parts. Some had wheels that flipped, but these had to be pushed or pulled. A few of the early 19th-century drive toy rails were made of tinplate, like the large, durable, stylized locomotive toys in the U.S., which were painted red and gold and decorated with hearts and flowers. trans modeling agency tv show
Around 1875, technological advancements in materials and manufacturing enabled tin to be stamped, cut, wrapped, and lithographed faster than previously.
Toy trains were altered when Märklina German firm that specialized in doll house accessories, sought to create an equal toy for boys where a continuous 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 monitor, Märklin offered additional 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 followed, with the first appearing in 1897, made by the U.S. company Carlisle & Finch. As home use of electricity became more common in the early 20th century, electrical trains gained popularity and as time moved on, these electric trains grew in sophistication, gaining lighting, the ability to change management, to emit a whistling sound, to smoke, to couple and uncouple cars and even 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 mostly of plastic.
Pull toys and wind-up trains were marketed towards children, while electric trains were marketed towards teens, especially teenaged boys. It was during the 1950s that the modern emphasis on realism in model railroading began to catch on.
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 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 cost, one is more likely to find an HO scale or N scale train set in a toy store than a O scale collection.
Many modern electrical toy trains comprise sophisticated electronic equipment that emit digitized sound effects and allow the operator to securely and easily run multiple remote controller trains on a single loop of track. In the last few years, many toy train operators may operate a train using a TV camera at the front of the engine and hooked up to a screen, such as pc monitor. This will show a picture, similar to that of a real (smaller size) railroad.
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