Ever wondered where exactly did the hobby of making model trains started from? Or how long has the model train been around? Who started it and who's been doing it ever since?
Like much of anything built by modern man, these trains appeared as soon as their real counterparts came along. It was sometimes in the 19th century that the modern railway system was invented and around this time, people have been making the model equivalents of each train as well. Initially, the models were meant to promote the trains themselves as most people did not have the chance to see an actual train then. Before a railway could be completed, models of the railway and their trains would be on display to invite prospect passengers and curious creatures into thinking about riding a train.
As time progressed, people started wanting the model trains for themselves and viola, the model train industry was born. The trains in the 19th century were never as endearing as what we have today. Most trains were made with tin and wood and were not even working models although one stand-out manufacturer in the name of Marklin started developing and selling working locomotive models as soon as the train toy demand sky-rocketed. Up to this day, Marklin remains to be one of the top manufacturers of model trains having kept their tradition of excellent quality and a hefty price tag.
These trains were not big in America alone. Hobbyists included children and adults from both America and European nations such as the UK and Germany. It can even be noted that before the first world war, most prototype train manufacturers were from Germany. However, during the height of the war, shipments to America were stopped and this condition in model train shipments wave birth to American manufacturers such as Lionel and Ives.
The hobby grew large and demand was through the roof but the common problem with working prototype trains was that they were too expensive. The solution was later discovered by some American brands. They simply made less- complicated designs which had such an appeal to the middle class that the model train hobby became one of the largest hobbies during those times.
Upon entering the 20th century, these trains became more detail oriented and layout designs became more complex. Up until today, modelers are still in their search for making their dream layouts complete with realistic backgrounds and model houses.