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    

1939 Gilbert 10 1/2 Erector Electric Train Set1931 Ac Gilbert No. 8 1/2 Hudson & Tender Erector SetVintage 1928 Gilbert Toys - The New Erector Set (7 1/2") White TruckLot Of 30 Rockets From 1958-60 Erector Rocket Launcher Set Part P14a686 Vtg NrMeccano Meccanoid G15 Ks Robot With CaseVintage Meccano Handrail Couplings - Part 136 (2x) & 136a (4x) New Unused Mint Vintage Meccano Specialist Tools - Excellent Near Mint Condition 1972 3x Vintage Meccano Part 171 Socket Couplings - Mint Unused Condition 2x Vintage Meccano Pinion Gears Part 31 (38 Teeth) Near MintVintage 1915 Meccano Inventor's Accessory Outfit With ManualErector 1929 Gilbert Hardware Set 7 1/2 Set 10 Parts Screws Nuts Plastic CaseMysto Erector Propeller Blades, C.1915, (4) Pieces, Original, Good Condition, NrVintage Meccano Bevel Gears Parts 30e & 30f (21 & 42 Teeth) New UnusedAc Gilbert Hudson Locomotive And Tender Erector Set, 1937-1942?4 Gilbert Erector "dp" 12 3/4 Inch Angle Girders, Late 1926 Vintage, Original4 Gilbert Erector "nu" Parachutes, White Silk/wood Struts, OriginalGilbert Erector #10 1/2 Amusement Park Set Manual, Mid 1950's, OriginalVintage/antique Building Toy A.c. Parts Gilbert Erector "set" Circa 1934 #7Vintage/antique Building Toy A.c. Gilbert Erector "set" Parts Circa 1935 #7 1/2Vintage Gilbert Erector Set And A47 Electric Engine Lots Of Parts Ac Gilbert Erector 105-115 V 60 Cycle Ac Electric Motor VintageVintage Meccano Helical Gears Parts 211a & 211b (14 & 35 Teeth) New UnusedVintage Meccano Braced Girders Green Mixed Original Paint 285gm 17202x Vintage Meccano Bevel Gears Part 30 (26 Teeth) Near MintGilbert Erector P14a686 Rocket, OriginalGilbert Erector A-49 Motor And Gearbox, Late 1950's Vintage, OriginalGilbert Erector Set No. 8-1/2 All-electric Builds Giant Ferris Wheel Motor Works2 Gilbert Erector "dq" Special Large Baseplates, Reproduction6 Gilbert Erector "mx" Houses, OriginalVintage Meccano Bevel Gears Parts 30a & 30c (16 & 48 Teeth) New UnusedAc Gilbert Erector Girders From The 1920's4 Gilbert Erector "dk" Flat Springs, Early 1926 Vintage, Reproduction16 Gilbert Erector "ex" 12 Inch Big Channel Girders, Nickel, OriginalGilbert Erector "nz" Large Yellow Plastic Handle Screwdriver, 1950's, OriginalVintage Gilbert Erector Set Plastic Rocket From Set #10053Vintage Meccano Braced Girders Red Mixed Original Paint 256gm 17161935 "s" Skyscraper Box Only - A C Gilbert Erector Set With Original Inserts10 1/2 Erector SetNuts Screws Plus Original Containers Plus ‘m”/”p”/other Parts4 Gilbert Erector Small Parts Cans, 2 Inch Deep, 1948 Vintage, OriginalGilbert Erector A-48 Wind-up Motor W/key, Blue, Original196 Mt Snap Rivets W/original Parts Box And Rivet Tool - A C Gilbert Erector SetVintage,rare, 1935 Gilbert #6 1/2 Erector Set, Metal Box, MintGilbert Erector "di & 2 Dh" Cast Axle & Knuckles, Repainted, OriginalErector Set Motor Set Clear Gilbert Dc 3.6 Antique VintageGilbert Erector Repro Rocket & PiecesA.c. Gilbert Or Meccano 3-12 1/2" Braced Girders ~vtg Erector Set Building PartsVintage Technic Belgium Mixed Lot 600gm Construction Toy 1534Mysto Erector Round Plates And Pulleys, C.1915, Nice Nickel Finish, Original,nr1935 "s" Skyscraper Manual - Excellent Condition - Gilbert Erector Set OriginalMeccano 2x Parts / Pieces "engineering In Miniature" - Usa - 100 Pcs. Used1913 Mysto Erector CatalogGilbert Erector 1915 Nuts And BoltsVintage A.c. Gilbert Erector Sets S51 Screws 250+ Original Vintage A.c. Gilbert Erector Sets N21 Square Nuts 260+ Original Vintage Meccano 3x Mini Magic Clockwork Motors & Drive Bands 270gm 1464Vintage Antique Ac Gilbert Erector Dark Red Propeller For Airplane Or Zeppelin?Gilbert Erector RocketVintage Meccano Non Flexible Steel Plates Mixed Yellow 390gm 15289 Gilbert Erector "ez" 6 Inch Curved Big Channel Girders, Cadmium, Original