Most people today, who were kids in the 50s, 60s and 70s are going to remember the erector sets.
It consisted of a construction set, that came in a box, and had a collection of metal beams with holes in them for regular nuts and bolts. Some of the more advanced sets would have pulley systems, gears and some had small electric motors. As much as kids had fun building things, such as bridges, it was very educational, and a very hands on toy.
As a kid I remember my brother begging for the erector sets for Christmas each year. They were very popular, and actually the brand erector set has been entertaining kids since 1911 when it was first invented by A. C. Gilbert. Mr. Gilbert was actually trained as a doctor but preferred to make his money with his business of erector sets. It was great for a kids imagination. Although there were many small parts that parents would curse for stepping on them, such as screws, nuts and bolts, it was a great toy. Each year there was always a newer version.
But the best part, is that eventually you could just mix all the parts after making the project. The parts would work from one Erector set kit to another. Eventually you could build up a large supply of the pieces to make all kinds of great projects. There were plans you could get and more.
The erector set was produced in the United States in a factory in New Haven, Connecticut when it first started out. Unfortunately it went bankrupt in 1967, but then it was bought out and brought back to life by the Gabriel Company of Lancaster, Pennsylvania and continued making Erector sets until the mid 1980s when competition with plastic part toys came on the market..
Erector sets have continued to evolve and now are made by Meccano. Although they are still quite popular today, they don't have those same parts that were once loved by children from that earlier era.
Where to Find the Original Erector Sets
If you are looking to buy an Erector set from those earlier decades you can find them online from collectors. But you can also find them online with Ebay or Amazon. or from a site called erector-sets.net.
Garage Sales - Erector Sets
If you are lucky, you might find a box full of odds and ends from a earlier Erector set, as many of the cardboard boxes did not last. As many people clean out their basements, they may just come across parts of those older Erector sets, that kids just loved to play with.
Since the original Erector sets were made in America, the campaign for advertising this toy became part of American Folk culture. At its peak it sold a lot of these sets and everyone wanted the next new one on the market, and especially, the famous deluxe kit that was suppose to come with blue prints for a giant robot. It was the most expensive model at the time, and many kids would put this on their Christmas list. If you are a toy collector, or you want to sell your collection of Erector sets, then check some of the online sites.
On Ebay you can click "advanced search" and then "completed sales" to see just what these Erector sets are selling for on the open market.