A system of small trains that run on a wooden track are called wooden toy trains. Toy trains and their wooden tracks are over one hundred years old.
In 1884 the wooden Figure-8 Train Sets (by BRIO) were introduced. Brio are the largest wooden toy manufacturer in the world with more than 3.5 million trains, cars, and trucks coming off the assembly line.
The BRIO Corporation gets its name from the Brothers Ivarson of Osby. The three young brothers began making high-quality wooden toys in Osby, Sweden, but initially they started by making woven basket-ware. BRIO makes good toys that are safe and durable and encourage open-ended play. There are many other companies throughout the world that now make good quality wooden train sets and track.
Due to the amount of toy train companies who make wooden trains and track, a standard that they have agreed to conform to is known as the Vario-System. By sticking to this system wooden train tracks made by one company will easily connect to a piece of track made by another company. Most people refer to the Vario-system as the Brio-compatible, after the Biro company. who as can be seen with their production output are the most famous wooden train manufacture in the world.
The worlds most famous wooden train is Thomas. Thomas the Tank Engine was a character in a series of children’s books called The Railway Series that first appeared in the United Kingdom in 1945. In 1984 Thomas made his acting debut on a TV program called Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends in the United Kingdom which was narrated by Ringo Starr of The Beattles. The popularity of Thomas the Tank was large enough that manufactures started selling patterned sets which included most all of the other characters seen in Thomas The Tank Engine and Friends series.
Today’s wooden toy trains have hardly changed from years ago, but probably the most important change has been with its safety. Instead of the hook (sharp) to couple the train and carriages there is now magnets.
There are now numerous styles and designs of wooden toy trains, some with track and some without. There are types to sit on and types you can push along the floor. There are rockers and pedal types. But which ever type is chosen they will last generations if they are looked after with care.