2004 National Convention

The 2004 National Convention was held in July31 -August 1 in Chicago, Illinois. The event was hosted by Andy Jugle. The banquet guest speaker was Jay Smith. Over 40 members attended.

What a show. For those of you that were able to make the show this year in Chicago you got to see all aspects of our hobby. There were magic sets, tools sets, Science sets, American Flyer trains, and of course Erector Sets. Our host, Andy Jugle, opened Chicago for all those that came. This year we joined our meeting with the NASG. While many of us only think of American Flyer and Gilbert when thinking of S-gauge, it is alive and well with several other manufactures today. It was enjoyable to see the layouts and many accessories. Several of the NASG dealers came to our rooms and were amazed by the displays and models.

Several ACGHS members came with wonderfully built models. Bill Klien brought enough models to fill anyone’s house. Bill does a great job of building contemporary models along with creations of his own. Bill doesn’t like to build static models. Pat Meagher brought a Rub Goldberg machine that many wondered how he had fit it into his car. It was great to see John Drury at the show. Even though he brought some Hudson sets for sell they made for an impressive display of Hudson models.

The displays were very impressive this year. Art Doty set up a collection of the “other” Gilbert collectables, the appliances. There were mixers, fans, and several other items that many have never seen. Klon Smith brought a very rare and very mint Nurses set. Many of us have seen those rare 007 race car sets on ebay but never up close. Gene Baker brought and set up the set on a stand that he had made and several of us got to race. Joe Grobmyer was in period costume as a 1914 Erector Retailer. He had 1914 sets and artwork from the Mysto Company.

Bruce Hanson and Tom Lindsey each brought the 1919 Gilbert Machine gun. For a toy that is over eighty years old, both worked fine and took shots all around the room. Someone commented that this must be what the Department of War was like when Gilbert brought his toys to congress. From the time the gun was first fired there was a line of “me too”.

For the evening entertainment Jay Smith gave a great presentation on Gilbert Mysteries. From year to year, what exactly was the company doing? Jay pointed out that most of the members in this hobby are obsessive compulsive. We like to have everything done in an orderly manner. We don’t like anomalies. Every year sets changed or they didn’t. What’s this getting rid of old stock a couple of years after that line was over. Jay left us with a good rumor of the elusive #12 set. Does it exist or was it just a marketing ploy?

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