We’ve been in a multitude of antique shops in the past couple of years and in around 50 percent of them there was at least one Erector set for sale. There were sets all the way from the very basic set up to ride on sets. The biggest set we’ve seen must have been 3 feet long, 18 inches wide and a foot in height. The price tag was somewhere between a thousand and fifteen hundred dollars. Way out of my league, but it, along with the other sets, brought back memories.
Somewhere in our basement, in one of the many unpacked boxes, is my Erector Set. What boy growing up in the midwest in the 50’s didn’t want an Erector Set from A.C. Gilbert. Metal beams filled with holes for assembly with nuts and bolts, along with pulleys, gears, wheels and a small electric motor was all we could dream about months before Christmas ever came. The year I thought sure I was going to get my Erector Set from Santa, I got a steel scoop shovel. How the heck was I going to build a model of something, take it apart, and build something else with a scoop shovel? That year I couldn’t, but the next year I could.
Erector had become a generic trademark for construction toys of all brands. Now they have Meccano sets. The trademark for Erector was sold to Meccano and in 2015 the Erector brand was relaunched under Meccano. I understand that there are now sets for adults as well as for boys and girls of all ages.
I had the opportunity to put together a project from an adult Erector set this past week. Catfish had bought a Multipurpose Workbench With Lighting and Outlet for Gator Babe to use for her sketching and painting projects. The company from which he purchased this ‘erection set’ is opening a new store every 3 days somewhere in the United States. There lines of tools include, Central Pneumatic, Pittsburg, Chicago Electric, Predator and others. They have advertisement in 99% of any magazine you may pick up. These ads include coupons for 20% off any one item and choice of a “free” item. But, I digress. Catfish knew that the workbench needed to be assembled, and being a good neighbor, I agreed to do the assembling.
When Catfish opened the door to his basement and seen that I had opened the box and had parts (including at least a dozen little plastic bags of nuts, washers and bolts) strewn all over the floor, he stared in amazement and told me I didn’t have to put the bench together if I didn’t want to. I felt up to a challenge and told him I wanted to continue.
We decided that to be kind to our backs, we’d try to use his workbench as much as possible. It turned out that it was a good place for the instruction booklet to lay and serve as a place to spread out the nuts and bolts. After opening the instruction sheets and seeing that there were more pages of safety precaution in use of the bench than there were assembly instructions, I wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew.
While I was off fetching the first two parts, Catfish was busy opening the dozen or so bags of hardware. He was keeping them in neat little piles, but was failing to keep the plastic bags with the part numbers with the piles. Turns out it didn’t make a nickles worth of difference. As I said before, the safety precautions outnumbered the assembly instructions. Besides only 3 pages of very poor schematics, there was no indication as to which bag of hardware went where. But what guy pays attention to instructions and schematics anyway?
After 2 sessions with about 8 person hours of assembly, this erection project was completed. No left over parts, but we did have 1 nut, 1 bolt and 1 washer, none of which fit together, left after all this fun. As I told Catfish, “The second one would go together a lot faster.”
Keep your fork