Exhibit Donors Toy History Active Toys Miniatures Vehicles Trains Construction Sets Board Games Dolls and Stuffed Animals Other Toys


The earliest toy trains date from the 19th century and were often made of cast iron. The first electric train was exhibited at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. By the 20th century, model trains and railroad layouts were widely popular, frequently circling the family Christmas tree. Toy trains from the first half of the 20th century were often made of lithographed tin; later trains were made mostly of plastic. A number of famous manufacturers, including Lionel American Flyer, Ives, Marx, Marklin, and LGB have made toy trains.


Cast-iron Locomotive and Coal Car


Cast-metal pull-toy


Wind-up train

Return to Toy and Game Timeline