Autogiro | construction set:Erector Set Autogiro

A. C. Gilbert Companyca. 1930

The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play

While watching the construction of power lines supported by steel girders, A. C. Gilbert conceived the Erector Set, an educational toy that encouraged kids to create their own miniature buildings and structures. Unlike its British cousin, the Meccano set, Gilbert's simple design fashioned sturdy square girders with just two bolts. Businessmen and industrial psychologists hailed the toy that put play to work and encouraged children's "constructive instincts." A national advertising campaign, the first ever for a toy, in "The Saturday Evening Post" and "Popular Mechanics" launched the Erector Set in 1913. In those days, American society did not encourage girls to pursue technical careers. "Hello, Boys!" the ads exhorted heartily, "Make Lots of Toys!" Appearing around the same time as Lincoln Logs and Tinkertoys, Erector Sets introduced boys to engineering and the structural principles of modern skyscrapers. Redesigned in 1924, the basic set encouraged more complex construction. Specialized kits with electric motors allowed kids to create trains, steam shovels, Ferris wheels, and zeppelins. Faced with wartime metal shortages in the 1940s, the company introduced wooden sets. In the 1960s, the Gabriel Co. bought the popular toy, but sales slowed in the 1970s. In 1980, the manufacturer discontinued the line.

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  • Title: Autogiro | construction set:Erector Set Autogiro
  • Creator: A. C. Gilbert Company
  • Date Created: ca. 1930
  • Location: New Haven, CT
  • Subject Keywords: transportation, aviation, engineering
  • Type: Transportation Toys, Construction Toys and Blocks
  • Medium: metal, paint


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