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In February of 2011 I participated in the Bill Bean Stout auction and was very fortunate to be the winning bidder of the 1929 No. 8 Zeppelin set from Bill’s collection that is pictured in Greenberg’s Guide to Gilbert Erector Sets, Volume one on page 105. Needless to say, I’m quite proud of the set and it has become one of my prized sets.
When I received the Zeppelin set, there were 2 large black steel tubes and a round base included which I could not find on any inventory sheets I had. Nothing in the instructions referred to them either. I put the 3 mystery parts together (they screwed together perfectly) and it appeared to me as if this was some kind of alternate “Mooring Mast” for the Zeppelin, as the support rod fit perfectly also into the pipe. Note: The round black base has the mark “HAYS” on it, if that is a clue to anyone.
I was puzzled and wanted clarification, so I felt it necessary to contact Bill to see if he could shed some light on the mystery parts. Bill explained this was an interesting story. If you look at the graphic inside the Zeppelin box lid at the Mooring Mast you will notice the 3 mystery parts are in the picture. Bill said he purchased the set from Ted Howard who got it from the original owner and the original owner stated those parts were in the set when he received it from A.C. Gilberts’ factory.
This begs the question, were these parts included in any other Zeppelin sets or was this a one-time experiment by A.C.? Perhaps these were test parts and put in this set by mistake? If you have any knowledge of these parts or have them in your sets, please post a reply.