Some had wheels which flipped, but these needed to be pulled or pushed. A few of the early 19th-century push toy rails were made from tinplate, such as the big, durable, stylized locomotive toys from the U.S., which were painted red and gold and decorated with hearts and flowers. transmodeler se 5
Around 1875, technological improvements in materials and manufacturing enabled tin to be scraped, cut, wrapped, and lithographed faster than ever before.
Toy trains were revolutionized when Märklin, a German company which specialized in doll house accessories, sought to create an equivalent toy for boys where a continuous revenue stream could be guaranteed by purchasing add-on accessories for years after the first purchase. In addition to 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 scenery and buildings along with an operating train.
Electric trains followed, with the first appearing in 1897, made from the U.S. firm Carlisle & Finch. As home use of electricity became more common 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 direction, to emit a whistling noise, to smoke, to couple and uncouple cars as well as load and unload cargo. Toy trains from the first half of the 20th century were often made of lithographed tin; later trains were often made mainly 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 electric trains were marketed towards teenagers, especially teenaged boys.
Today, S gauge and O gauge railroads continue to be considered toy trains even 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 from the 1950s into the 1970s). However, as a result of their high cost, one is more inclined to find an HO scale or N scale train set at a toy store than an O scale collection.
Many modern electric toy trains contain sophisticated electronics 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 rail operators will operate a train with a TV camera in the front part of the motor and hooked up to a display, such as computer monitor. This will show an image, like that of a genuine (smaller size) railroad)
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