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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

Please join us on Saturday, April 8, 2017 for the ACGHS Spring Midwest Regional Meeting, 8:00am – 12:00 Noon at the Faith East Community Center, 5572 Mercy Way, Lafayette, IN 47905. This year’s meeting is hosted by Claude Butt. Retrieve the complete Midwest Regional Meeting announcement here (PDF).

Mark your calendars for Friday, July 7 – Sunday, July 9, for our 2017 Annual ACGHS National Convention! This year’s event will be held in Huntsville, Alabama at the Huntsville Marriott. Huntsville is home to NASA and to the Wernher von Braun team that helped put a man on the moon with the Saturn Rocket. Our hotel is located on the same property as NASA’s Space & Rocket Center. Learn more about this year’s convention and retrieve a Registration Form on our Calendar of Events page.

Visit our National Convention page to learn more about all our recent ACGHS National Conventions.

March 24, 2016 · by David Gilbert · News

John Bryson III writes (March 23, 2017):

High Wire Bicycle Rider. Hi, I’m looking to build the “High Wire Bicycle Rider” model. I’ve never seen an example of this model featured on the inside left lid of the 1960 no. 10084. I don’t have this set in my collection, and no access to the proper How to make em manual. If you can point me in the right direction, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time. John Bryson III (lovestospoogenu@gmail.com)..

Carl L. Mount writes (March 18, 2017):

My wife’s aunt recently passed and left her four Erector sets: 1938 8 1/2 ferris wheel, 1949 9 1/2 ferris wheel, 1951 10 1/2 amusement park, and engineer’s set 10171. We have all the boxes and lots of components. What I am looking for is a parts detail of what came in each kit and quantities/instruction. Any details you could provide would be appreciated. Thank You. Carl Mount (cmountsr@comcast.net).

Roy J. Arlotto writes (March 11, 2017):

I have a modest collection of 10 vintage Gilbert chemistry sets. I have two that I can find no reference info on: “Little Jim Chemistry Outfit for Boys” (1922 manual included) and a Gilbert set that feature “Plastics and Glass”, including an M5839 flier. I could send pictures if I knew where to send them and to whom. Roy J. Arlotto (royarlo@ptd.net).

Michelle Ainsworth writes (March 8, 2017):

Merle Carnegie’s Mysto Erector book – My name is Michelle and I am currently researching Mysto magic sets. Merle Carnegie’s book “The Mysto Erector: The Story of the Mysto Manufacturing Company” has been highly recommended. Any information you can offer on how I might purchase a copy will be most appreciated. Thanks. Michelle Ainsworth (magicwriter1898@gmail.com).

John Sequino writes (March 8, 2017):

Maraldene Kennels – I am in search of person(s) that would have expertise in the area of Mr Gilbert’s Maraldene Kennels and his German Shepherd Dogs.  I have original documents, photographs and the Maraldene Kennel booklet highlighting  the top dogs in the kennel as well as a hand written notebook/log of breeding’s and litters that were conducted dating back to 1925. I would love to get in touch with an expert or historian that would be able to appraise the documents.Thank you for your time, John Sequino (schznd3@gmail.com).

Alison Goolsby writes (March 4, 2017):

Selling Erector Sets: My father (age 73) started collecting Erector Sets probably about 20 years ago or more. He now has an entire room in his house dedicated to his hobby. However, he has decided to move from his current home to be closer to my brother and his family, so he is downsizing. He’s overwhelmed with the amount of stuff he has to go through in the house and doesn’t really know what to do with all of her Erector Sets and parts. I realize that he could try to sell them on eBay, but he’s just not up to the task. I was wondering if there’s any way to find interested collectors through your organization, especially someone living in the Houston area, where my father is currently living. Any information you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Alison Goolsby (a.goolsby@vol.at).

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

December 23, 2015 · by David Gilbert · News
The Man Who Lives in Paradise

The Man Who Lives in Paradise

Park City, UT—Silver Dollar Press, a division of Lucky Penny Publishing, has published the autobiography of A.C. Gilbert, a native of Salem, Oregon, as an eBook—a format targeted to a new generation of readers. The Man Who Lives in Paradise: The Autobiography of A. C. Gilbert tells the story of an individual best-known as the inventor of the Erector Set, the Gilbert Chemistry Set, and the maker of American Flyer toy trains.

A lifelong inventor, Gilbert acquired over 150 patents during his career—an accomplishment resulting in his recent induction into the American Manufacturing Hall of Fame in October 2015. Gilbert was also an adventurer and athlete, winning a 1908 Olympic Gold Medal in pole-vaulting and setting several world records in other sports. Most importantly, he changed the way toys—and boys—were made, influencing the development of several generations of young people.

His autobiography was originally published in print in 1954, but Lucky Penny Publishing acquired the eBook publishing rights in 2014 and chose it as the company’s first release under its new Silver Dollar Press division, which focuses on memoirs, autobiographies, and family histories.

As reviewer William Brown, director of the Eli Whitney Museum, wrote, “The Man Who Lives in Paradise is a complete history of the creative lives of the generations that thrived before television arrived as a thief of time and attention. Paradise is also an account of the power of playfulness, which is evident in Gilbert’s long reign as one of America’s great toy-making entrepreneurs. The love of adventure and experiment that animated Gilbert’s toys runs through every chapter of his life. Congratulations to Lucky Penny Publishing on the eBook, keeping his legacy and spirit of entrepreneurship alive.”

Melissa Marsted, the founder and publisher of Lucky Penny Publishing, also happens to be Gilbert’s great-granddaughter. “When my house burned to the ground, along with 220 other homes in the Santa Barbara Tea Fire, in November 2008,” she says, “I lost so many documents and pieces of my family’s history. Publishing my great-grandfather’s autobiography as an eBook helps me preserve his remarkable life and legacy for a whole new generation of readers. Following my great grandfather’s entrepreneurial spirit was one of the factors motivating me to start my company.”

A.C. Gilbert died in 1961, robbing Marsted of the opportunity to know her great-grandfather. Nevertheless, “he inspired his daughter, my paternal grandmother, to start her own business—the Toy Barn in Hamden, Connecticut. When I was growing up we were allowed to pick out toys from her store. My father, too, helped to develop a company as an early partner. My great-grandfather’s legacy continues.”

Another Gilbert, David T., has been pleased to see his grandfather’s story make the transition to online publishing. “A.C. would be proud of his great granddaughter’s passion for keeping the Gilbert family legacy alive for future generations,” he wrote.

Joanna Engle, executive director of the Gilbert House Children’s Museum, which carries on the Gilbert legacy through their mission of inspiring children to learn through creative play, wrote in a review: “A.C. Gilbert championed the rights of children to play because he believed play is essential to learning. This book is an in-depth look at an inspiring man whose life reflected the American spirit of ingenuity.

Bruce Watson, Gilbert’s biographer and author of The Man Who Changed How Boys and Toys Were Made: The Life and Times of A. C. Gilbert, the Man Who Saved Christmas, wrote, “A.C. Gilbert made the first Erector Sets and those sets made generations of boys. Gilbert’s autobiography, The Man Who Lives in Paradise,” tells how he made his greatest invention—himself.”

Like all Lucky Penny Publishing titles, Silver Dollar Press eBooks are currently available for immediate download from the publisher’s website: Luckypennypress.com, under the under the Silver Dollar Press link, or on iTunes. Sales from the book will benefit the A. C. Gilbert Children’s Museum of Salem, Oregon; the Eli Whitney Museum in New Haven, Connecticut; and the A. C. Gilbert Heritage Society. For more information, visit Lucky Penny Publishing at LuckyPennyPress.com.

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