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Who We Are

We are a group of collectors who focus on products produced by and information about the former A.C. Gilbert Company of New Haven, Conn. These include Erector sets, chemistry sets, American Flyer trains, and many others products. Our goals are to showcase and celebrate the works of A.C. Gilbert, and promote the Heritage Society by educating the public and by sharing the works of our members.

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January 24, 2017 · by David Gilbert · Events, News

The 2017 National Convention took place on July 7, 8, and 9 in Huntsville, Alabama. By all accounts, it was an excellent convention and magnificent event. Kudos to convention hosts Joe and Beth Grobmyer. Stay tuned for information on the 2018 National Convention, which will be hosted by Ken Weinig in the towns of Rumney and Plymouth, New Hampshire. Visit our National Convention page to learn more about all our recent ACGHS National Conventions.

The 2nd Annual New England Regional Meet will take place on Saturday, August 12 from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon at the Riverfront Community Center, 300 Welles Street, Glastonbury, CT. Learn more about this event on our Calendar of Events page.

The 2017 Fall Midwest Regional Meeting will be held on Saturday, September 23 at the Racine, Wisconsin campus of Gateway Technical College. Learn more about this event on our Calendar of Events page.

March 24, 2016 · by David Gilbert · News

Select the Comments link above for additional Gilbert Exchange questions and comments. Items posted to The Gilbert Exchange will be removed after 30 days.

Linda Harper writes (August 16, 2017):

I have a used Gilbert Erector set that I’d like to donate to someone who lives in the Washington DC/ Northern Virginia area. We’re downsizing and my husband doesn’t want to keep it. It’s well used and there are no instructions, but plenty of pieces, parts, and the original metal box. I hate to get rid of it and thought someone within your organization might want it. Thanks. Linda Harper (harperlp68@gmail.com).

August 7, 2017 · by David Gilbert · Amusement Park Rides, Banks, Jim, Erector Sets, Models

Jim Banks' Skydiver

Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s I rode on tons of amusement park rides, and one that I always remembered fondly was the infamous “Skydiver”. Resembling a large Ferris wheel with rotating cars, the Skydiver was a rough and intimidating ride. Ride on this thing once and you’ll probably remember the experience for the rest of your life. I’ve never seen an Erector re-creation of the Skydiver so I got the idea to try and make one, thinking it would be a good challenge. I looked at real-life pictures of the Skydiver on the Internet to refresh my memory and provide a guide for how the eventual model should look.

First I prototyped the cars, trying to make them resemble the real thing, along with a small steering wheel on the center axis that the occupants tried vainly to control the out-of-control car. I was able to get the car to rotate on a 7” axle properly. Then I prototyped the large Ferris-type wheel, laying out all the pieces on the floor until I had a good idea of how things would lay out while fitting the 4 cars.

After figuring out the cars and Ferris-type wheel, I had to construct the towers. Since the wheel is larger than the traditional 8 1/2 set wheel, I had to make it taller by connecting two 12” MN base plates. This required extra supports using more 12” DP angle girders for structural strength and rigidity. I also beefed up the tops of each tower where a single “N” long double angle supports the full weight of the Ferris wheel and cars. If that N-part comes loose, it will rotate co-axially and everything will possibly come crashing down, so I added support with 3” MO angle girders and a few other parts and lots of screws. Possibly over-engineered but definitely strong enough to support the weight!

I had a bunch of extra 12” MN base plates so I used them to create the platform. After it was all together and the Skydiver wheel worked as planned, the last thing I did was add the loading and unloading platforms for all the brave souls that wanted to give this ride a try. I felt it adds to the overall effect.

The Skydiver was a colorful, visually pleasing ride, so I painted the MF base plates on the sides of each car blue to give it some color. I also used the red car trucks on the loading ramps, plus the red flat car trucks on the points of the Ferris wheel to add color.

I have to say I’m happy with how the project turned out. The action of the cars — rotating on axis as they moved in a Ferris wheel-type circular movement — mimics exactly how the cars of the Skydiver moved in real life.

View a video of Jim Banks' Skydiver Ferris Wheel

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