Synopsis of Toy
There are toys that every kid can understand—baseball bats, trucks, dirt clods—and then there are the Erector sets of the world. Some young brains were perfectly wired for Erector sets—give them enough girders, and they’ll build you a rocket to the moon. Sure, they weren’t for everybody (some kids were lucky if they could build an Erector sword), but for budding engineers they were like the toys of the gods.
A.C. Gilbert, a toy manufacturer and Olympic gold medallist in the pole vault, unveiled his first Erector set in 1913, one-upping the contemporary Meccano building toy by allowing kids to build square girders. With a pulley, gears and strips of metal, kids could build stable structures, and the larger sets added a DC motor (or several) to power your working models.
As the Erector set gained popularity, it also grew more elaborate. The numbered model sets could build anything from a truck to a steam shovel to a power plant to a complete amusement park (ferris wheel, parachute drops, carousel, airplane ride, all working). For the more adventurous, virtually anything could be built with the right Erector pieces and a little ingenuity. Pistons, wheels, gears, levers…the basic building blocks of machinery were included in every Erector set, and the possibilities were endless.
Erector sets have maintained their popularity down through the decades, offering sets and plans as advanced as the kids could handle. And although old rival Meccano seemed to get the last laugh by buying the Erector line, it’s still the Erector name that’s synonymous with “toy for genius kids, everybody else surrender to the superior intellect.”