Electric Trains

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Electric Trains

Even as transportation improvements accelerated through the twentieth century, the railroad still best symbolized the ability of mechanized invention to conquer distance; electric trains continue to epitomize this cultural belief in such technological progress. From children's playthings, they have evolved into accurately scaled and finely detailed models. Several gauges provide size options for modeling railroads, from the tiny N-scale and the highly popular HO at 1/87 scale, up to O-gauge and Standard gauge. In Europe, Märklin in 1901 manufactured the first model trains run by small electric motors. In 1910 the Ives Corporation of Bridgeport, Connecticut, introduced electric trains to this country; they remained their leading manufacturer up to the First World War. As the hobby caught on, other manufacturers began producing electric trains, including Marx, Varney, Mantua, American Flyer, and Lionel. Collecting and operating model trains is a pastime now enjoyed by people around the world.

—Robert Kuhlken

Further Reading:

Bagdade, Susan, and Al Bagdade. Collector's Guide to American Toy Trains. Radnor, Pennsylvania, Wallace-Homestead Book Co., 1990.

Carlson, Pierce. Toy Trains. Philadelphia, Harper and Row, 1986.

Williams, Guy. The World of Model Trains. New York, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1970.

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Electric Trains

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