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BrainiacV
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Platinum
Re: Well Done
BrainiacV   10/30/2014 10:05:05 AM
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True, before being seduced by the dark side of programming, I was studying to be an architect.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Well Done
Charles Murray   10/29/2014 5:55:43 PM
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I've often wondered how many Girder & Panel kids became civil engineers, BrainiacV. I suspect that toys like those have a real influence on eventual career choice.

BrainiacV
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Well Done
BrainiacV   10/29/2014 4:46:21 PM
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I loved my Girder and Panel set as well.

I used to cut up Christmas lights and rewire them to install lighting in them. No insulation on the splices, it's a wonder I didn't electrocute myself (I was 10 at the time) but I was careful and never had a mishap.

BrainiacV
User Rank
Platinum
Re: The good old days!
BrainiacV   10/29/2014 4:41:08 PM
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A friend of mine and I used to fill syringes with denatured alcohol, set up a candle in front of a Creeple People troll doll or plastic army man and then flamethrower them by squirting the alcohol through the flame to ignite it.

It was safer than holding a match in front of the aerosol nozzle of bug spray. :-)

Fun with fire. But I used to take the garbage out to be burned on the farm as a kid, so when it came to campfires I was the go to guy to arrange the logs to make a roaring fire. 

Jim A
User Rank
Iron
Another Construction Toy
Jim A   5/3/2014 7:38:59 PM
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About the same time I was playing with Lincoln Logs in the late 40s or early 50s I had a set of rubber bricks similaer to legos except narrower, they only had one row of prongs and holes. As I recall the bricks had two prongs and were redish brown (brick color) and there were longer gray blocks that could be used as foundations or to bridge openings in walls. Anyone remember what they were called?

cookiejar
User Rank
Gold
Meccano sets & Heathkit
cookiejar   5/3/2014 4:58:01 PM
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Frank Hornby patented the Meccano set in 1901.  The Erector set was first sold in 1913.  I got my first Meccano set in 1949 at age 5 from my uncle in the U.S.  Meccano rather than Erector was popular in Canada.  It was my favorite toy, until I discovered Heathkit at 13.  Meccano and Heathkit were my main influences in entering engineering.

At University I started noticing pieces of Meccano sets in my classmates homes.  So I did a survey of the popularity of Meccano in Engineering students, Science students and Arts students.  In that era, every engineer had a Meccano set and loved it.  In the Science faculty it was about 50%.  If an Arts student had even heard of Meccano, he hated it.  Meccano encouraged creativity within strict part boundaries, just like engineering.

In our Electrical Engineering graduating class, it was only the students who were into Heathkit that ended up in electronic design for their careers.  Heathkit's clear documentation really helped one to get into electronics.  I still have my over 30 Heathkits in working order.

I found out quickly enough when hiring engineers that it was the ones really into related hobbies that ended up the best designers, not the ones with the highest marks.  These days Meccano, Heathkit and cars seem to have been replaced by robotics as the most influential hobbies.


tinstaafl
User Rank
Iron
chemistry set
tinstaafl   5/2/2014 5:13:52 PM
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ah, yes, the chemistry set ... 

 

i didn't mix everything into a stew; i tried to get it to catch fire; after all, if smoke is good, flames are better!  i had to do a double-take when i saw the Heathkit; i built a paper-tape reader and punch that was in a box almost exactly like the one shown, and it actually worked.  couldn't use it too much, though, because it was *really* loud (huge solenoids).

 

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Girder and panel available again
Cabe Atwell   4/27/2014 10:43:54 PM
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With the multitudes of electronics learning kids out now, like Lil' Bits, kids born today have so much more. The next generations better be tech-masters! If they end up end-user plebians... all is lost.

 

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Girder and panel available again
Charles Murray   4/24/2014 6:49:10 PM
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I was big on Lincoln Logs, too, Cabe. I'm willing to bet that a lot of engineers had Lincoln Logs when they were kids.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Girder and panel available again
Charles Murray   4/23/2014 6:08:24 PM
Girder & Panel was also one of my favorites as a kid, Jim_E. A couple of years ago, we did a story about Bridge Street Toys. It was founded by a husband-wife engineering team.

http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1395&doc_id=235912

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