Distinguished from model trains on the basis of durability and low cost (not taking scale modeling into account), the toy trains are actually toys that represent trains. The early toy trains were just like toys of metal or wood and consisted of a locomotive with a carriage and wagon pushed along the floor.
In 1835, when the first German railway opened between Nuremberg and Furth, the commercial production of toy trains took off on a serious note. In 1850, the introduction of mass-produced rolled milled steel permitted the production of cheap toys. They were made from thin steel coated with tinplate, stamped and pressed or rolled into a variety of shapes. These tinplate trains were known as Bing in Germany, Carette in Nuremberg, Marklin in Goppingen and so on.
The demand for more realistic toy trains grew at a fast pace and between 1880 and 1919, some of the most authentic and complete systems were produced. Those days, the notable toy train manufacturers were George Carette, Issmayer, Fleischmann, Bing, Plank and Bub. Also, some other notable manufacturers were JEP and Rossignol of France, Ives and Lionel of the US ? the Ives trains were unique as they were manufactured in cast iron.
In 1891, Marklin introduced a gauge system and accessories which for the first time made it possible for the children to set up and run a railway system.
In 1900 in Britain, W.J. Bassett-Lowke joined Bing to import and sell trains that were adapted for the British market.
In 1915, F. Hornby (known for Meccano) started to produce clockwork trains, followed by the first electric train around 1925.
After the Second World War, toy trains continued to be manufactured; Marklin, Fleischmann, Lehmann and Hornby became more popular.
The modern standards for toy trains include S gauge (fairly consistent at 1:64 scale), HO scale, N scale and Z scales with the O gauge (represents variety of size) remaining the most popular standard till date. S gauge and O gauge railroads are still considered toy trains but due to their high cost, you will mostly find an HO scale or N scale toy train set in a toy stores. Many modern electric toy trains contain sophisticated electronics that allow the operator to safely and easily run multiple remote control trains on one loop of track
Model railway production would not have existed till date if there was no miniature engineering and no extensive use of high-quality plastics and sophisticated electronic controls.
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