Alfred Carlton Gilbert Invents the Erector SetErector Sets are a building toy based on square girders that allow children to build various objects.
Alfred Carlton Gilbert thought up the idea for the Erector Set during one of his frequent commutes from New Haven, Connecticut to New York City. From his train window, Gilbert viewed workers building a power-line tower. He based his children's construction set on minature versions of the same steal beams the workers were using.
Alfred Carlton Gilbert invented and introduced the toy Erector Set in 1913. First named Mysto Erector Structural Steel Builder, Erector sets had evenly spaced holes for bolts to pass through, and used screws, bolts, pulleys, and gears similiar to those used during real construction. At the time, Erector Sets were in direct competition with the Meccano building toy. However, Meccano Toys Ltd bought the rights to the Erector Set in 1962.
Alfred Carlton Gilbert - Other ToysBesides the Erector Set, Gilbert patented (over 150 patents)and sold other toys including: model trains, glass blowing kits, chemistry sets (including one made for girls), and a minature Atomic Energy Lab (with real radioactive particles and Geiger counter).
Spikeless Bamboo PoleAs a side note: During his stint as pole vaulter, Gilbert was the first Olympian athlete to compete using the newly invented spikeless bamboo pole.
The Man Who Saved ChristmasIn 1918, the United States Council of National Defense considering a ban on toy production Gilbert argued successfully against it and the press gave him the nickname "The man who saved Christmas."
Alfred Carlton Gilbert co-founded the Toy Manufacturers of America organization and was its first president.