The first construction toy set was patented in England by Frank Hornby in 1901. These toys, named Meccano in 1907, consisted of half-inch-wide metal strips with holes at half-inch intervals. The strips could be connected with metal rods and wheels to build bridges, buildings, and vehicles of all sorts.

A certain American entrepreneur, named A.C. Gilbert, claims he saw workers carrying the steel beams for an electrical power grid while traveling on a train, and that inspired him to introduce the Erector set in 1913. But the truth is that Gilbert, who had been selling his Mysto Magic Kits, had probably seen or heard of Meccano.

However, Gilbert improved on Hornby’s concept by including gears, pinions, and electrical motors in his kits to make them more versatile. Unlike Meccano’s steel strips, Erector’s were bent at a 90-degree angle so that four of them put together could form a hollow support beam. In the 1920s, Gilbert took over the American branch of Meccano, which by then was popular all over the world.

Gilbert opened his namesake “halls of science” during World War II. While the concern was really a place for him to market his toys, including Erector sets, American Flyer trains, and his chemistry sets and other science kits, Gilbert insisted that teaching children, and specifically boys, the principles of science and engineering was his No. 1 priority.

Gilbert died in 1961. The Erector name was first sold to Gabriel Toys in the '60s, and later to Ideal Toys.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Museum of Childhood

Museum of Childhood

Embrace your inner child on this website from the Victoria and Albert Museum, filled with high-quality images and i… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Rare Meccano Aeroplane Constructor No 2 Special Set 1930s Boxed Instructions Gilbert Erector 1947 #9 1/2 All Electric Automotive SetGilbert 1956 Mysterious Walking Robot Erector Set - Loaded1928 Gilbert Erector 7 1/2 White Truck Set - 100% Complete - Inventoried Antique Toy Motorcycle & Sidecar Jouet Auto Cycle Paris Construction Set RareAristo Craft 2-8-0 P&r Steam Locomotive, 1960's Vintage, Original300 Pairs Meccano Brassed Cheese Head Bolts & Square Nuts.Vintage 1958 A. C. Gilbert 10082 (10 1/2) Erector Set9 X Pre-war Meccano Channel Segments, Part 119. Meccano Handrail Couplings (8)Job Lot / Selection Of Vintage 1930 's Meccano Parts Some Rare ( 1000+ Pieces)1938 Gilbert 9 1/2 All-electric Automotive Erector Set Parachute Jump Blue Box1956 Erector 10 1/2 Amusement Park Set.Gilbert Erector P-55 Electric Engine, OriginalMeccano. 2 X Circular Strip, 1 X Circ Girder, 2 X Small & 1 X Lge Circ PlateMeccano Vintage Mixture Of Small Parts X 20Aristo Craft 2-4-2 Steam Locomotive, 1960's Vintage, OriginalGilbert Erector Set, No. 10 1/2, "amustment Park Set"Meccano E15r Electric Motor 15 Volt Reversing Motor ( Excellent & BoxedErector 1935 4 1/2 Set, Inventoried With Skyscraper Panels, CompleteMeccano Flywheel Part 132. Spins Truly On Rod. Early 1930s. Very Good Condition.Meccano 6" Pulley - RedMeccano Large Flanged Rings Original Gilbert Bolts, NutsMeccano CollarsErector 1948/49 # 6 1/2 As FoundVintage 1916 # 6 A.c. Gilbert Erector Set With Manual6 X Meccano Long Angle Girders & 23 Meccano & Non-meccano Flat Girders.Meccano Braced GirdersUpper Cardboard Insert For A Gilbert Erector #7 Steam Shovel Set, OriginalGilbert Erector #p16h Propeller With HubLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Gilbert 7 1/2 Erector Set In Original Box50+ Meccano Assorted Plastic Gears, Pinions Contrate, Worm, Multi Meccano Girder FramesMeccano Vintage 1.5 Inch Gear Wheels X 4 Part No 27aGilbert Erector 1958 Musical Ferris Wheel Set W/all Orig InsertsMeccano Triple Throw Eccentric Meccano Propeller BladesMeccano Sprocket ChainMeccano Brass PulleysMeccano Caterpillar Track, Unused.Meccano Washers, Brass Finish100 Original #s52 1/4" Gilbert Erector Screws, NickelMeccano Bevel Gears8 Gilbert Erector "ex" 12 Inch Big Channel Girders, Nickel, Original4 Gilbert Erector 18-1/2" Angle Girders, "mb", Nickel, From 1948 And 1951 SetsMeccano Flat Girders - Dark Blue Box Lot Parts Gilbert? Erector Farm Wind Mill Wheels Girders Axles Rods CrankMeccano Threaded RodMeccano Pair Of Bowden Cables - Part No B708Meccano 95 Tooth Gears (2)Meccano Couplings6 Meccano Zinc Plated Threaded Strips 4 1/2" Part C327Meccano Dark Blue Long Girders - RepaintsErector 1936 #7 1/2 Organized100 Original #n21 Gilbert Erector Nuts, NickelMeccano Gear RingMeccano Dark Blue Flat Girders - RepaintsErector Clam Shell Bucket, 1950'sGilbert Erector "od" Control Box, Original