- Nov 26, 2016
- central NC
Long before the famed Polar Express, Victorian era children loved trains. Little boys were especially eager to play with pint-size versions of this new technology. 19th-century toymakers obliged, cranking out model trains in wood, cast iron and tin. By the first half of the 20th century, millions of little boys dreamed of waking up on Christmas morning to find a model train tooting around the tree.
Thanks to their colorful names, varying configurations and then-cutting-edge technology, early steam locomotives captured the imaginations of children. Manufacturers of toys such as Charles M. Crandall and Rufus Bliss quickly capitalized on this interest by creating wooden locomotives, passenger cars and gondolas that children could pull around the house. These “draggers,” as they were called, featured colorful lithographed designs that were glued to their wooden bodies. Their proportions were cartoonish and exaggerated rather than made precisely to scale. By the Civil War, these "draggers" were also being made from sheets of stamped tin-plated iron or steel. They were literally folded into the shapes of locomotives or train cars before being secured at the joints and painted. Whether they were made of wood or tin, these toy trains spurred young imaginations and provided children with hours of joy. Just imagine what a ruckus these little Victororians must have raised throughout their homes!
In the second half of the 19th century, wooden model trains such as the ones in the top two rows featured lithographed designs. Tin trains, at right and at bottom, were produced concurrently with wooden ones. Image by the Train Collectors Association, courtesy of Gerry Souter
Source: Toy Train Museum
Hope @Jimklag likes this thread! I'm dedicating it to @Southern Unionist, my lovable railfan.