A. C. Gilbert


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Frank Hornby (1863—1936) toy manufacturer


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An American inventor of note and originator of the Erector constructional toy in 1913, Gilbert originally trained at Yale Medical School before going on to found the Mysto Manufacturing Company (established 1909), which sold magic sets. In 1913 he launched the first Erector construction set, which consisted of perforated miniature girders which could be attached to gears, pulleys, bolts, and screws. It was considered by some to be more realistic than its British predecessor, Meccano, launched by Frank Hornby in 1901. Like Hornby, Gilbert's educational inventions covered a diverse field, including chemistry sets, a glass‐blowing kit (1920s), model trains (1946 to 1966, including the popular American Flyers), and an ‘Atomic Energy Lab’, complete with radioactive components and a working Geiger counter (1952).

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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