Some had wheels which flipped, but these needed to be pulled or pushed. Some of the early 19th-century drive toy trains were made from tinplate, like the big, durable, stylized locomotive toys in the U.S., which were painted red and gold and decorated with hearts and flowers. xmas model trains
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 firm that specialized in doll house accessories, sought to make an equivalent toy for boys where a constant revenue stream could be guaranteed by purchasing add-on accessories for decades after the initial purchase. In addition to boxed sets comprising a train and monitor, Märklin offered extra track, rolling stock, and buildings offered separately, creating the predecessor to the modern model train layout featuring scenery and buildings in addition to an operating 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 management, to emit a whistling noise, to smoke, to remotely couple and uncouple cars and even load and unload cargo. Toy trains from the first half of the 20th century were frequently made of lithographed tin; afterwards trains were often made mostly of plastic.
Pull toys and wind-up trains were marketed towards kids, while electrical trains were marketed towards teens, especially teenaged boys. It was during the 1950s the modern emphasis on realism in model railroading started to catch on.
Now, S gauge and O gauge railroads are still 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 from the 1950s to the 1970s). However, due to their high price, one is more likely to find an HO scale or N scale train set at a toy store than a O scale set.
Many modern electric toy trains contain sophisticated electronic equipment that exude digitized sound effects and permit the operator to safely and easily run multiple remote controller trains on a single loop of track. In recent decades, many toy rail operators will operate a train using a TV camera in the front part of the motor and hooked up to a screen, such as computer monitor. This will show a picture, like that of a real (smaller size) railroad)
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