American Model Trains VS European Model Trains

The best part about model trains is that there is a huge variety to them. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and can be classified into many different categories. In this article, we will do a comparison between American model trains and European model trains, and see how they both evolved over the course of history.

American Model Trains:

The first trait that any American train had to possess was durability. This was very necessary because they had to be shipped over long distances and tough terrains and still reach passionate collectors in tip-top condition. This is why the early American model train manufacturers and toy makers made use of heavy duty sheets of tin metal for the making of their model trains. Many famous companies that employed this raw material were Field & Francis, Hull & Stafford, James Fallows, Althof Bergman & Co, and Ives. The golden era of the American tin model trains lasted from about 1860s the 1890s.

Following the tin model train periods, for the next ten years, American manufacturers began to produce model trains in large numbers, with low inputs, so that even people belonging to middle class families could afford to purchase model trains as presents for their loved ones. The demand for practicality and reality grew from the customers, and soon they were demanding for not just a simple locomotive, but whole rail sets, complete with things like stations, wagons, passenger cars, and rail tracks.

The start of the eighteenth century soon gave rise to some of the most memorable toy train makers in history. One of these was called Ives, which was world renowned for replacement service of top quality. Other famous companies were called Lionel, established in the 1900s, and American Flyer which was found in 1868. Lionel was legendary in the business for making model trains that were powered by small electrical motors. It also used a neat little trick to paint its model trains in bright and bold colors in order to entice customers. The American Flyer was famous for making larger and more affordable model trains, but this was apparently not enough to beat the competition from the more intricate and striking models that Lionel were offering. Soon American Flyer gave way to an acquisition by Lionel in 1967.

European Model Trains

The early European model train had one particular train in common. They were all very delicate, be it the English model trains, the French or the Germans. And this was not a really good characteristic, but since they did not have to be shipped over huge distances, it did not hamper sales at first. Sales were limited to local areas only at the time. The German were famous for making lead and wood trains and the English has invented a way in which model trains could be powered through steam.

One of the most successful model train makers in Europe was a German person called Theodore Marklin. He produced the first eight figure layout as well as the first electrical system for model trains in Europe. An English firm by the name W. J. Bassett-Lowke joined hands with a German toy maker called Stefan Bin in a bit to create more realistic model trains.