Erector Set is the trade name of a toy construction set that was wildly popular in the United States during much of the 20th century. Like Meccano, it consists of collections of small metal beams with regular holes for nuts, bolts, screws, and mechanical parts such as pulleys, gears, and small electric motors. Erector beams have flanges, which make them sturdier than those of Meccano.
The Erector Set was invented by A.C. Gilbert in 1911, and was manufactured by the A. C. Gilbert Company at the Erector Square factory in New Haven, Connecticut, from 1913 until its bankruptcy in 1967. Currently sold "Erector" sets are actually Meccano sets manufactured by Meccano S.N. of France, part of the Nikko Group of Japan. They do not have the flanged beams of the original Gilbert Erector Sets. In the U.S., since Jan. 2006, these Erector sets have been distributed by Nikko America.
The Erector Set is said to have been the subject of the first national advertising campaign in America for a toy. Its great success made it part of American folk culture, although its popularity has faded in recent decades in the face of competition from molded plastic construction toys, electronics, and other more "modern" toys.
Scores, perhaps hundreds, of different Erector Set kits have been made over the decades, most famously the "No. 12 1/2" deluxe kit that came with blueprints for the "Mysterious Walking Giant" robot.
An extensive collection of Erector sets, model trains, chemistry sets, radioactivity experimentation kits, microscopes, and other A. C. Gilbert Company scientific and educational children's toys is housed in the Eli Whitney Museum, in Hamden, Connecticut.
- Eli Whitney Museum Gilbert Project
- Facts about the invention
- Entry in National Toy Hall of Fame
- Erector Site
- Nikko Group
- Girders & Gears: a summary site that collects various construction systems.
- A C Gilbert Heritage Society The A. C. Gilbert Heritage Society is a group of collectors who focus on products produced by and information about the former A.C. Gilbert Company. These include Erector sets, chemistry sets, microscopes, American Flyer trains and many others.
- New Haven Independent article: Erector set featured in an art installation in New Haven, 2007.
erector in Czech: Merkur (stavebnice)
erector in German: Metallbaukasten
erector in Esperanto: Meccano
erector in Spanish: Mecano
erector in French: Meccano
erector in Japanese: メカノ
erector in Dutch: Meccano