- Object number
Electric rail zeppelin
The first toy trains with an electric motor were produced around 1900. While these were originally powered by batteries, Märklin soon developed a small motor driven, via the rails, by resistors that could be plugged into the wall outlet. A truly safe version came later, when the 220V motors gave way to toys that could be powered by weak current with the help of a transformer. One remarkable specimen of this type of electric toy train is the rail zeppelin introduced by German manufacturer Bing in 1930. This model was inspired by the actual rail zeppelin, which the German inventor Franz Kruckenberg used to set a speed record of 230 kph in 1931. While Kruckenberg’s silver train was driven by an aircraft propeller, the model toy had to make do with an 18-volt electric motor.