News & Events

  • Gilbert Exchange

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

    Alex Dominguez writes (July 13, 2017):

    I’m curious when someone will be listing any of the early Type I Erector Set manuals. So far I’ve been pretty disappointed in the lack of help from fellow “members” wanting to help out new members. I’m fairly new to collecting. I have a ton of the 30s through 50s sets and have all the manuals for those, but recently started collecting the original sets. I’ve got about 4 or 5 box sets but no manuals for any of them. I’ve posted multiple comments here on the Gilbert Exchange reaching out to members, but no one seems to want to help.

    I’m a young and new collector and have read every monthly news booklets you’ve sent and the consistent statement over and over again is your trying to get more younger collectors to keep the torch going but the frustration comes when none of the veteran members are willing to reach out and help. I’ve offered to pay, offered to do whatever and still not one response. I’m sorry for venting out my frustration, it’s just the Society wants to keep this going but I don’t see how I’ll want to re subscribe next year for lack of response from any members. Do you guys only talk to each other, just looking for a branch to reach out. Not looking for a handout, just looking for information so I know what I need to be looking for when I buy and collect the older box sets. With so many parts it’s easy to be scanned on parts you’re just not sure of. I’ve used the gallery to view some parts but that only goes so far.

    All I’m asking is if someone can list just one of the older manuals from the very first Erector sets. It just seems like it’s a hidden secret. It’s hard to find anywhere out there to buy an original manual and I’m pretty sure most members have those sets. Just need anyone to post one in our members area or get in contact with me and sell me one or sell me a scan of one. I again apologize for the venting, I’m just new to the society and was extremely excited to join but have been recently been loosing that excitement lately. Please let me know if there’s anyone that can help with a what I feel is a very simple request. Alex Dominguez (

  • Upcoming Events

    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.

    See over 170 photos of our 2016 National Convention in Elk Grove, Illinois. Thanks to Jeff Brown of All Events Photography for sharing his photos! 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.

  • AC Gilbert Phonograph

    Guy Lanza recently sent us a photograph of a combination record player and television set which he saw in a museum in Tyumen, Siberia. We’re sharing Guy’s photographs below. According to the label, the appliance was manufactured by the A.C. Gilbert Company of New Haven, Connecticut. Our thanks to Guy for sharing this.

    1925 Phonograph

    1925 Phonograph

    Label for 1925 Phonograph

    Label for 1925 Phonograph

  • eBook version of “The Man Who Lives in Paradise”
    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:, 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

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