NEW: Gilbert Exchange

The Gilbert Exchange is an interactive forum where members can create topics for discussion, reply to other people’s topics or simply follow discussions between members. Members must log into the Website to create topics and reply to other people’s topics. All topics are accessible to the public to read. If you are not a member and you have a question related to products of the A.C. Gilbert Company, please use our Contact Us form to submit your question.

Gilbert Exchange

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It’s that time of the year again. Please send in your 2018 Membership Renewal Form today. If you want to become a new member, please send in a 2018 Regular Membership Form or 2018 Regular Membership Form (for ages 5-15). For those who would like to do a little extra, consider joining the Gilbert Centurions – for an additional $75, you can help support the newsletter, keep convention registration fees low, and subsidize fees for Junior members. Thank you!

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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 7, 2018 · by David Gilbert · Uncategorized
TV interview of ACGHS collector and model builder Bill Malczan

TV interview of Bill Malczan prior to the 1996 National Convention

TV interview of A.C. Gilbert Heritage Society collector and model builder, Bill Malczan, in his home prior to the 1996 ACGHS National Convention at Union Terminal in Cincinnati, Ohio. Bill hosted the 1996 Convention, and contacted Dave Blood to ensure we could share this video with all of our members. Thanks to both Bill Malczan and Dave Blood for making this possible!

View the video of ACGHS collector and model builder Bill Malczan
January 24, 2017 · by David Gilbert · Events, News

The 2018 Spring Midwest Regional Meeting will be held on April 28, 2018 at the Faith Community Center in Lafayette, Indiana. Learn more on our Calendar of Events page.

Ken Weinig will be hosting the 2018 National Convention in the towns of Rumney and Plymouth, New Hampshire on Friday, July 13 – Sunday, July 15. A Cog Railway trip at nearby Mount Washington is scheduled for Thursday, July 12 and the club will get a discount if there more than 20 riders. Learn more on our Calendar of Events page.

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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