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10 Engineering Toys From Your Youth

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William K.
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Those engineering toys from "days of old"
William K.   4/18/2014 9:01:24 AM
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I did have most of those, or my brother or sister had them, except for the rocket set. I had other rocket sets, the Alpha-1 and a pump-up water powered one. I don't see any way that anything could be blown up with the chemicals from one of those chemistry sets, all of the chemicals werem"quite safe", at least at the time that my brother got his set, about 1962. I did find out how to make gunpowder and rocket fuels, but not from any part of that chemistry set.

And I suppose that those items did stimulate me to explore what else could be made, as the projects in the books were usually quite simple.

I built mostly Knight Kits and Eico kits, and one Heathkit, those were always interesting. Likewise the various projects of the "8-in-one electronics kit-lab, which included both receivers and a couple of low-power transmitters. But that package had voltages that would never be permitted in any hobby stuff for anybody now. There were warnung about the 150 volts power on the terminals, and I never got any shocks. But it seems that presently even the very stupid people must be protected. What a way to stifle experimentation.

Daniyal_Ali
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Platinum
Re: Good stuff.
Daniyal_Ali   4/18/2014 2:55:10 AM
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I wish i had used the Heathkits too. I heard a lot of stories about it from my dad, but never had a chance to use it as they were discontinued in the 90s. But i did use a lot of electronics kits that resulted in boosting my interest in the field of engineering and later helped me pursue my career in electrical engineering. I feel happy for children of today's age as they have a lot of learning opportunities with devices like littleBits which make engineering fruitful as well as fun.

naperlou
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Re: Good stuff.
naperlou   4/17/2014 5:35:26 PM
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I think I might be 10 of 10.  We did have the chemistry set.  We were a bit cautious about it though, becuase a neighbor kid blew up his house with one. 

What I really liked was the Heathkits.  I also had the luxury of having a lot of electronic parts since my dad worked at an electronics lab.  He always brought stuff home for me.

fm
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Platinum
Re: Good Old Days!
fm   4/17/2014 5:11:05 PM
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Yeah, that woodburner had a wonderful smell! So did the big Weller soldering GUN that i used to solder (and tear apart) old electronics. But, sad, i missed out on Girder & Panel - i don't remember that one at all, even though i had Legos with gears, wheels, and little axle blocks that you'd stick the wheel pins into. Anybody remember the old Lego train set, where you had to build the track from individual toothed rails and ties?

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Good Old Days!
Rob Spiegel   4/17/2014 1:08:22 PM
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Hey Chuck. I used to do the same thing with my dad's coffee cans for nuts and bolts. I also used to have a wordburner set. I still remember the odor from the woodburner.

ChuckMahoney
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Gold
Re: Good Old Days!
ChuckMahoney   4/17/2014 12:08:39 PM
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My first mechanical toy wasn't even really a toy - my dad had coffee cans filled with nuts, bolts, hinges an dother bits that I would spill out onto a newspaper and assemble in to different things. After that was an Erector set, and then later those "100 in 1" electronic kits. Radio Shack also use to sell kits in plastic perfboard boxes that had to be soldered together. I built a ton of those.

Corona Rich
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Gold
Play on
Corona Rich   4/17/2014 10:42:55 AM
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Rob, it is a good list, and it brought back good memories.  Thank you!

I remember I would design mechanisms, rockets, train and slot car layouts at school and ride my skateboard home to try them out! 

Of course, that's before the kids were buried in homework every day!

Free play reaps amazing benefits, but we seem to have lost sight of this.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Good stuff.
Rob Spiegel   4/17/2014 10:13:41 AM
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Hi Corona, I debated whether to include the chemistry set, but then I figured those who has the mechnical engineering toys probably also had the chemistry set. I thought about Lego, but Lego didn't appear until after most of these toys and I was already planning to use Lego has a major player in the next set of engineering fun -- today's toys. That should be out next week.

Corona Rich
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Gold
Good stuff.
Corona Rich   4/17/2014 9:08:05 AM
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I was really hoping for 10 out of 10, but that Chemistry Set knocked me out of a perfect score. Well...my mom would't let me have one.

I noticed that there were no Lego sets on there.  With all the gears, belts, and chain drives available, it was possible to make some quite ingenious toys!  I even built one of my college engineering projects out of them.

Got the maximum score.

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: Good Old Days!
Rob Spiegel   4/17/2014 7:17:37 AM
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Thanks Daniyal_Ali. I did all the same things with my chemistry set. I ran through about three sets when I was a kid. My mom hated it, too. "What are you doing in there?" she kept asking as strange smells wafted from the bedroom.

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