Vintage Model Trains: Pre-WWII through the 1970s
Toy trains—starting with so-called floor or “carpet trains” made from metal or wood and played with on the floor—first appeared in the mid-19th century. These early toys were rather crude likenesses of real-life trains compared to the model trains we know today, but they essentially created the hobby we all enjoy. And, they represent just one example of a collecting focus or niche in the world of vintage toy and model trains.
Most likely, you’ve reached this page because you’re looking for more information about vintage model trains from the “Golden Age” of the 1920s through the beginning of World War II (1939-1945). WWII represents a massive cultural shift that changed how toy trains were produced, marketed, and even appreciated by consumers, so many collectors will focus on either pre-war models or those made after 1945. (In fact, production of toy trains was mostly halted during the United States’ involvement in the War.)
What is your preferred era of toy trains? Find excellent examples of books, handbooks, catalogs, advertisements, photographs and more in our database!