@Icefire109 A variant of Lego! I remember them but I was already an adult but some made it into the start of my adult Lego collection. I think that series was in the early 2000s. Occasionally I would find them at discount stores as they were being discontinued. They looked interesting so I bought some. This was before there were large number of adult Lego collectors/resellers that would scoop up anything they could and resell on eBay. (I just buy for myself, or gifts, but the whole Lego market thing sure changed in the last 15 years – though I think there are lots of people with storage units full of Lego that really won’t go up in value, because, well, there are lots of people with storage units full of those things…). Bionicle was a bit before that.
Never had any LEGO stuff as a kid. In fact, it was only a couple years ago I bought my first bricks as a Walmart Black Friday sale item. Since then I’ve added about 11 kits, and 6 “creativity” sets. I’m guessing I’ve got something like 10,000 total bricks now.
Favorite set: probably the Flintstones set or the big Saturn V rocket.
Most wished for set: VW camper van, VW Beetle. Runner up is definitely the Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS. I remember when meh offered one in… maybe it was the first Mehrathon? And I scoffed at a LEGO set for $250. Now that I’ve tasted the LEGO Cool Aid I would jump all over that deal.
We never had Legos either until we had kids. They both loved them, and we kept the pieces in a huge Rubbermaid tub. Now the grandkids are using them with the understanding that whatever they build they can take home when they leave. We still have a metric shit-ton of them left…
@ruouttaurmind As you probably know I got my Porsche for half that from Woot, especially since I rub it in every chance I get. My daughter still hasn’t put it together and it takes all my willpower to not steal it back. It’s at her apartment now so maybe she’ll find time.
Couch cushions, blankets and pillows to make a fort. One time my brother and I made a fort out of hay bales in the barn. That was way cool. But mostly I built with legos. I never had kits, just random blocks in a big box. I remember digging for long periods looking for just the right block to do what I needed. In retrospect I should have got some container with compartments but all I had was that cardboard box.
@pmarin They seemed to like them without a treat. They’d run along, occasionally stand up to see over the edge and then keep running. We’d have a “pen” built at either end they’d mess around in and then run back the other way.
And Tinker Toys. But it seemed like we never had enough and several of us playing with them at once often led to either arguments over who got what or frustration that we couldn’t build what we wanted due to not enough to go around.
I have to say that I’m pleased with the resurgence of Lincoln Logs here. My natural answer was LEGO (btw the plural of LEGO is LEGO), but that was maybe when I was a bit older. If I think of my first fun building toys (back when I was of semi-sentient age, so we’ll exclude toddler playthings) certainly had Lincoln Logs as maybe the first good building toy.
Though I didn’t really understand who this Lincoln guy was. Apparently today many people still don’t.
@blaineg@Kyeh Ours were used to begin with, 4 kids using them and minimal in room supervision when we were since we couldn’t damage much with them. I’d imagine if mom sat there ours wouldn’t need as much tape.
Erector set, first. Tinker Toys second. Because I am old, indeed. Legos in my generation weren’t invented yet. Back when dirt was young, we had simpler toys and virtually nothing made of plastic.
The Mechano (similar to Erector) came first (1898, England), Erector by A.C. Gilbert Co. in 1913 (USA), Tinkertoy (1914), Lincoln Logs in 1916 (invented by John Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright while working in Japan) and Lego (1949, Denmark).
I must have gotten my first Erector set about 1949 or 1950. I think it came in a wooden box, but eventually I stored all the parts and nuts and bolts in a large, metal but old, bread box. When I got a Tinkertoy set, which came in a large round cardboard tube, those eventually ended up in the breadbox as well. One got with either the Erector or the Tinkertoy a small pamphlet with pictures of things one could build with that particular set. No other instructions. One just built by looking at the picture drawings. Great training for the mechanically inclined. True for my whole ancestral line.
Erector sets were more satisfying to me as everything bolted together with nuts and screws, but took longer to assemble, and almost as long to disassemble.
Tinkertoys were quite a bit quicker, but not as durable when finished as the slotted ends of the wooden struts eventually compressed and got lose in the spool sockets.
Because I grew up in an era when little was wasted and few things thrown away, I kept these sets pretty much intact until I long and away outgrew them. I remember the day when these were discarded. I was in my forties, my father had become late, and I was moving my Mother from Georgia to Delaware so that I could take care of her. Those Erector set pieces were all rusty, and not having room to move them, I let them go. But not without a pang or two.
My problem/frustration was that I never had enough parts of either to do the things that I wanted. Money was always very limited, and generally in much shorter supply than Erector or Tinkertoy parts.
Decades later the grands came along and showed an interest in Lincoln Logs. I gifted them with a massive set of Lincoln Logs bought on eBay at the time. I went overboard owing to my frustrations so long, long ago over not having enough parts to build.
@Jackinga You spoke for me, but seem a year or three older. Also thought of Erector set as my favorite, then Tinker toys (still remember making a “windmill” with that set – seems like there was a string involved somehow – little cardboard triangles for “vanes”), then Lincoln logs with real wood. Liked Erector set best, but probably played more with the Tinker Toys and logs, since they were easier to grab and go with. Soon after, I received a Lionel train set with track, a locomotive, a tender car, and several passenger coaches, as well as the controller and a few switching track pieces, for Christmas. (Must have cost my father a good chunk of his salary, but I was clueless to that at the time.) For several Christmases I got add-ons. I decorated around the oval with things made from the previous building sets.
Not long after, I graduated to some Radio Shack/Tandy kits, then Edmund Scientific kits (always wanted the Tesla coil set, but never got it). By high school, I was starting to play (and learn) with various HeathKits (wish they were still around!) Somewhere in there, I got a Chemistry set, back when they actually would give you the real deal. I remember starting a small fire on the kitchen linoleum with the can of alcohol included – parents never noticed the slightly darker spot.
I still have the Lionel set, and my son and I used to set it up for Christmas, but he is living with his family now, and it is in storage (He’s in too small an apartment to want it for now.) It’s been through a couple of transformers, but everything else is still original and worked fine last setup, even the horn and the smoke generator on the engine.
I found an old Heathkit ignition timer light in my garage once, but don’t even know where that is now.
In college I mainly tinkered with taking apart motorcycles (and usually getting them back together and running again). Even today I am not shy about taking apart and fixing anything mechanical or electrical. Best training started with those first three toys!
@phendrick I resemble your remarks. I always wanted a Gilbert Chemistry set, but was too poor to ever get one. Later, I became a professional chemist (Ph.D.), so I guess I wasn’t harmed too much.
Ahh the Heathkit! I built many of them. I can remember building test instruments, volt-ohm meter, oscilloscope, short wave radio, and an automobile ignition analyzer, which I still have but last time I tried it it didn’t work.
I also spent a good deal of time with Edmund Scientific. When we were living in Delaware, one could get to Edmund in NJ, in about a hour. I went there any number of times for this or that, and drooled over things that were not in my budget.
I didn’t build a Tesla coil, but I did build a van de Graff generator as a high school science project in the 1950s. Won 3rd place in a science fair; 3rd because I was down the hall looking at other projects when unbeknownst to me the judges came by. I was later told that I would have done much better had I been there to present my project.
I never had a train set, but always wanted one. Later I got an inop, used one from a friend and gave it to my son, when he was little one Christmas. We still have it with lots of track and accessories. It’s up in the attic. He was shocked many years later, when I told him that it was used and I had to repair it to get it working. I was in graduate school at the time and we were living on practically nothing.
I worked in a radio/TV shop through high school and part of college, and like you, I am not shy about taking anything mechanical or electrical to repair it.
Gee, I wonder what would have happened, if I had gotten one of those Gilbert Chemistry sets…
When I was very young, I played with pebbles, sticks and mud. I built things. Always had toys but they were boring. I made doll houses and furniture out of cereal box cardboard. Easier to work with at the time. Still today, I am such a tinker. Always fixing and making things