History of Model Trains

Model trains have had a long and detailed history, dating back as far as the 1800s, when the first locomotives and steam engine trains were invented. Before that were animal drawn wagons in the coal mining areas of England, from which these modern trains and model trains have drawn their inspirations.
German craftsmen were the first to envision the idea of collecting replicas of model trains and railroads. The productions process was fairly simple; they would use a mould to give shape to molten tin and brass and let it cool down. The toy train was completed after hand-carved fittings made of wood were clasped to the bases of the trains. Since these were the initial productions, there was little imagination involved. They neither had any moving parts nor were they adequately sturdy.
However, it was the French who took the manufacturing of model trains to a whole new level. They created elaborated designs, complete with long chimneys, colorful patterns and wheels with spokes. Unfortunately, they did not realize that pain does not adhere well to tin, so these models have not been able to be preserved properly.
After the Industrial Revolution took England by storm, the toy makes started putting extra effort into developing more ‘functional’ model trains. Sir Henry Wood was the first person to manufacture model train that was powered by steams. These model trains were given epithets of the ‘Dribblers’, for example, because of the trail of water that got left behind on the tracks after the steam condensed from the powering cylinders. Soon, the steam powered model trains were replaced by clockwork mechanisms to keep it all mess-free. Detailed versions of model trains made of brass began to be manufactured by Newton and Co. in London solely for rich families, who could afford to buy these trains as christmas gifts for their children.

As soon as people began to settle in towns near railway stations in America because of easy transportation of goods and services, their fascination with trains and railroad tracks grew. Toymakers quickly saw this fascination as potential profit and soon started manufacturing these trains at a much reduced scale. This budding market of toy trains was eagerly welcomed by the consumers and soon you could see miniature trains in almost every toy store’s window. Toy producers in the United States began manufacturing these miniature model trains in mass scale in order to remain competitive in the global Market, and drive off competition from the Europeans like the French, and the English.
Companies like Baltimore Locomotive Works are credited to making the first passenger model train in the 1830s. George Brown & Co., of Connecticut is famous for manufacturing the earliest self-propelled American model train, which incorporates clockworks in its design. After the World War II, the designs became more and more intricate and practical, and have since then evolved into objects that are highly coveted by collectors of all ages, who set up their layouts in memory of the railroad age.