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Cape Central High Photos

Ken Steinhoff, Cape Girardeau Central High School Class of 1965, was a photographer for The Tiger and The Girardot, and was on the staff of The Capaha Arrow and The Sagamore at Southeast Missouri State University. He worked as a photographer / reporter (among other things) at The Jackson Pioneer and The Southeast Missourian.

Come here to see photos and read stories (mostly true) about coming of age in Southeast Missouri in the 1960s.

Please comment on the articles when you see I have left out a bit of history, forgotten a name or when your memory of a circumstance conflicts with mine. (My mother says her stories have improved now that more and more of the folks who could contradict her have died off.) Your information helps to make this a wonderful archive and may end up in book form.

No. 7-1/2 Erector Set

Ken Steinhoff Model 7-1/2 Erector Set 03-01-2016Many an hour was whiled away building stuff with my “Sensational New No. 7-1/2 Engineer’s Erector Set.” (Lincoln Logs came first.)

Based on an excellent reference, Gilbert Erector Set Guidebook by Bruce H. Hansen, my particular set was a 1957 model. The giveaway is the illustration of a walking beam engine.

Mine is a piker compared to the 1931 #10 Climax of Erector Glory set which weighed in at 150 lb. Fewer that 10 of them are known to still exist.

Parts, parts and parts

Ken Steinhoff Model 7-1/2 Erector Set 03-01-2016You’ll be able to see when you get to the manual how complicated some of the projects were. I don’t know how complete my set is today because Dad was known to dip into it when he needed a particular screw or nut for something that needed fixing around the house.

A. C. Gilbert was born February 15, 1884 and died January 18, 1961, Hansen reported. After winning a gold medal in pole vaulting at the 1908 Olympics, he earned his degree in medicine at Yale in New Haven, Connecticut. Instead of practicing medicine or becoming a college athletic director, he started the Mysto Manufacturing Company in 1909. He introduced the Erector set in 1913.

Made for a simpler time

Ken Steinhoff Model 7-1/2 Erector Set 03-01-2016A.C. was a frugal guy. If he found some old spare parts left over that didn’t match the current set, he’d throw them in anyway, figuring a 7-14-year-old wouldn’t notice the difference. In Gilbert’s 1954 biography, he estimated that over 30 million sets had been sold, and sales hadn’t reached their peak yet.

Erector sets were widely advertised, but parents back then didn’t have to worry about explaining to Little Johnny why he might have to go to the hospital if the project lasted longer than four hours.

Erector set gallery

Click on any image to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move around.

6 comments to No. 7-1/2 Erector Set

  • Carla Jordan

    I always wanted one each year my brother and I would play the game of picking our favorite toy on each page of the Christmas catalog. However, we were given Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs. My Grandfather was a carpenter. If he had built roads and bridges like your Dad, maybe we would have received an Erector Set under the tree.

  • Keith Robinson

    I had a newer (late 60’s) version of Erector sets that had a blue motor/gearbox. It did not have enough pieces to suit me and I ended up buying one of these older sets from our neighbors, John and David Rigdon. Over time, the pieces got used for various other inventions, including a rocket launch tower and platform for my Estes model rockets. Both sets long ago succumbed to either parting out, recycling, a garage sale or trash.

  • Those drawings in the manual look very familiar. I wonder if I had the same set. Or maybe it was somebody else’s but I built stuff with it.

    • I didn’t copy the whole manual. The first part shows projects you could build with the smaller kits, then progresses up to the one you have. That may be why the drawings look familiar.

  • David

    My first was a what I think was a Kernner Motorized Girder and Panel, Bridge and Turnpike Building set. My dad and I built the drawbridge, early 60s. Later in the decade Erector sets came into the household, along with Johnny Express, oh boy.

    End flashback, and now back to reality Thanks Ken

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