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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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

The ACGHS Fall Mid-Atlantic Regional Erector Set & Gilbert Toy Show will be held on Saturday, November 18 from 8:00a – 12:00 Noon at the First Presbyterian Church, 101 Decatur Street, Strasburg, PA. Learn more about this event on our Calendar of Events page.

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 on Friday, July 13 – Sunday, July 15. Visit our National Convention page to learn more about all our recent ACGHS National Conventions.

November 30, 2016 · by David Gilbert · Events, News
Mr. Gilbert's Railroad. Photo copyright and courtesy of the Eli Whitney Museum.

Mr. Gilbert’s Railroad. Photo copyright and courtesy of the Eli Whitney Museum.

The Whitney Workshop at the Eli Whitney Museum in New Haven, Connecticut, opens its annual Holiday Exhibition on Friday, November 24th at noon. Classic, New Haven-made American Flyer trains for all to run…and wooden trains kits to buy and build (ages 5 and up).

Where: The Whitney Workshop, 915 Whitney Avenue, Hamden, CT
When:  Opens Friday, November 24th, Noon – 5pm; Closes:  Sunday, January 14th
Hours:  Saturdays 10am – 3pm; Sundays Noon – 5pm
Closed: Christmas and New Year’s Day

The trains run on the weekends through January 14th, 2018.

Special Days:  Dec 26 – 29 Noon – 5pm

Cost: Admission Free. Donations welcome.

Learn more and see a complete schedule on EliWhitney.org.

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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