The steam engine was the star to herald the industrial revolution of 19th century Europe. It spurred mass production, development of machinery, and the biggest revolution might very well have been in transport. Railway systems were set down to stretch between continents, some of which remain today. Whether we consider the old world charm of the Orient Express, or the clean look and comfort of a modern bullet train, the train continues to provide connection and convenience for many people.
The first train toy, like the vehicle it was modeled after, used a miniature steam engine. Children would fuel it with kerosene or alcohol, which would then heat a separate compartment that had been filled with water, and the force of the steam would then turn the cogs and wheels of the toy train. Such a toy did not come with train tracks yet, and the toy owners would have little control over the direction in which their train toy would roll itself along, how powerfully the fuel burned, how fast it would go, and how long its propulsion would last.
Train toys have made great improvements since then. Some train sets could be assembled and painted. Pieces of toy train tracks could be bought separately, and the set could be expanded whenever the owner could afford to do so. Propulsion methods have turned to much safer means, either by stored kinetic energy, or by simply being battery-powered. Other train sets work well enough being pushed along the rails, or used as props for display.
- Copyright LanternTree.com (Article not to be used without permission)