|Big Bob's Erector Emporium
|OK -so I'm not that big and it isn't exactly an Emporium, but I do collect erector sets. I started around 8
years ago - buying my first one from e-bay on April 22, 2008. It was a 1950 8 1/2 in very good restored
condition with original inserts. I had 2 sets as a child - a 1956 1 1/2 and a 1957 5 1/2. The 5 1/2 was my
favorite Christmas present of all time. I also played with a cousins 6 1/2 (big time) set when we went
on our yearly trips to North Dakota. Anyway, I started with expectations of collecting one 1950's set of
each size. In about 5 1/2 years, I've come to be in possession of 204 display sets and 61 parts sets.
That's not what I planned, but that's OK - I've been having the time of my life. It hasn't been cheap
though - nearly every set I have has come from e-bay - I live in rural Minnesota and sets haven't been
easy to come by in my area -
|Now - for anyone who might be looking at this and who might not be familiar with the old erector sets -
THEY ARE NOT KITS! They were not designed to build a particular model and then - that's it - I'm done. A
featured model (or at least one of them) was generally displayed on the cover (or decal on the inside)
of the box or on the cover of the manual. These were generally just an example (or sometimes not) of a
model that could be built with the set. These sets were versatile - they could build many things - not
just the models in the book. Kids were expected to build something - play with it - take it apart and
build something else.
The "How to make 'em" manuals also require some explaining. The manuals of a given year generally
all have the same cover, the same initial 1 1/2 section at the beginning and the same "Famous Models"
and "Parts" sections at the end of the book. The difference is in the detailed instructions - they start at
1 1/2 and end at whatever size set the manual is for (example 6 1/2). This is generally the title of the
page just before the "Famous Models" page.
Some people will say that there are no detailed instructions - well, you were supposed to look at the
picture and figure out the details yourself. You were supposed to think! The models of the larger sets
were probably supposed to be a father-son bonding experience. Based on the number of largely
unused larger sets - I wonder how that worked out.
|There is a national
organization of erector set
collectors called the A.C.
Gilbert Heritage Society. For
more information on erector
sets and other Gilbert
products, go to the following
|Last updated on March 18, 2016 (Home page changed)