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]

The Wheelmen

The Wheelmen

This elegant tribute to turn-of-the-century bicycling includes memorabilia, photographs, and an index of 3140 bicyc… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Meccano Non Constructor Car Repainted Blue Working Motor Rare 1128Vintage Ac Gilbert Amusement Park 10231 Erector Set Hc6Vintage Meccano Combat Construction Set 1970's - Complete & Boxed!Vintage Meccano Gears Outfit B Complete + Manual & Original Guarantee ExcellentA C Gilbert Chemistry Set Atomic Energy Spinthariscope W/ Standard Alpha Source14 Gilbert Erector Small Parts Cans, Original2 Gilbert Erector Part One Instruction Manuals, Teen's Vintage, OriginalGilbert Erector "ay" Bull Ring, Red, Late 1920's Vintage, OriginalGilbert Erector P-58 6-8 Volt Electric Motor, 1920's Vintage, OriginalGilbert Erector P-58 6-8 Volt Electric Motor, Teen's Vintage, Original1950s Elgo American Skyline Construction Set #95. Excellent Condition 75 Gilbert Erector P-32 6 Inch Girders, Teen's Vintage, OriginalGilbert Erector Trumodel #7 1/2 White Truck Set Instruction Manual, 1928, OrigGilbert Erector #2 Mysto Erector Small Parts Box W/screws, Teen's, Original15 Lb Bulk Lot Of Assorted, Loose, Modern Erector Set Pieces, Parts - Lot15 Lb Bulk Lot Of Assorted, Loose, Modern Erector Set Pieces, Parts - LotGilbert Erector "bc/bd" White Truck Fenders, 1920's Vintage, Original12 Gilbert Erector "dn" Bearing Right Angles, 1920's Vintage, OriginalA.c. Gilbert Co. The New Erector, Blue BoxErector #0507 Large Scale Special Edition Train J3a HudsonErector Set Carousel AntiqueAc Gilbert Erector Clamshell Bucket Vintage Gilbert Erector Set Incomplete With Manual & 1921 Patent List Meccano 72 Vintage Brass Gears Worms Pulleys Collars Sprockets Wheels Buzz SawVintage Original Stokys Model Set Parts And Assembly BooksMeccano Braced Girders X 10 As Shown. Brand New.Vintage Erector Set Parts Pieces From Sets No. 3 And 4!!2 Gilbert Erector Hudson "lh" Tender Steps, 1930's Vintage, OriginalVintage Meccano Metal Construction Erector Set #3 39 Models W/ Electric MotorMeccano Erector Set Big Ben Special Edition New Sealed8 Gilbert Erector "ex" 12 Inch Big Channel Girders, Cadmium, Original2 Gilbert Erector Hudson "kx" Tender Truck Bolsters, 1930's Vintage, Original9 Gilbert Erector "ez" 6 Inch Curved Big Channel Girders, Cadmium, OriginalGilbert Erector "di" Front Axle, Red, 1920's Vintage, OriginalLarge Lot Of Plastic Meccano / Erector Set Parts 200+ PiecesGilbert Erector "fc/fk" Machine Frames, Late 1920's, Original1928 Gilbert Erector Set No. C Airplane PropellerVintage Erector Set In Blue Metal Storage Tool Box W/ Lift-out Shelf - Very RareGilbert Erector #1 Mysto Erector Small Parts Box W/screws, Teen's, OriginalMeccano Maker System-4x4 Off-road Truck -25 Models -brand New Factory Sealed!!!7 Gilbert Erector "u" Boiler Tops, Black, Original5 Gilbert Erector "oh" 72 Tooth Gears, OriginalMeccano Micronoid Red Socket, Programmable Robot Building Kit, 123 Pieces - New5 Gilbert Erector P-14 Worm Gears, Nickel, Original8 Gilbert Erector P-17 Spoked Wheels, Red, 1920's Vintage, Original8-new Repo. Gilbert Erector Parts Cans3 Gilbert Erector Blue Metal Parts Cans, 1930's Vintage, Original2 Gilbert Erector "ax" 19 3/4 Inch Axle Rods, 1920's Vintage, Original6-gilbert Erector Parts Cans4 Gilbert Erector Red Metal Parts Cans, 1930's Vintage, Original14 Gilbert Erector P-8 Small Wheels, Rounded Hub, Mid Teen's Vintage, Original75 Gilbert Erector P-32 12 Inch Girders, Teen's Vintage, Original Meccano Lot Of 10 Single Arm Cranks Pt 62 Gilbert Erector Vtg. Orig. No Reserve4 Gilbert Erector Hudson "kr" Couplers, 1930's Vintage, Reproductions15 Gilbert Erector "aa" Eccentric Cranks, Original3 Gilbert Erector E-50 Large Gear Wheel Segments, Early 1920's Vintage, Orig5 Gilbert Erector "ew" 12 Inch Duplex Flat Baseplates, Black, OriginalGilbert Erector Hudson "lj" Tender Tank Handle, 1930's Vintage, OriginalMeccano Lot Of 31 Double Angle Strips, & Angles Gilbert Erector Vtg. Orig. NrLot Of 2 Gilbert Erector Sets 10052 Rocket Launcher & 1954 W Motors