Listed below are some of the other notable construction toy systems that were produced during the 20th century. The list is by no means exhaustive, as by some estimates hundreds of such systems have come and gone over the years.
  • Bing's Structator (Germany)
  • BRAL (Milan, Italy)
  • Construction (E.Germany)
  • Constructor
  • Construct-o-Craft
  • Elektromehaniskais konstructors (Russia)
  • Ezy-Bilt (Australia)
  • FAC (Sweden)
  • Lyons
  • Marklin Metall (Germany)
  • Mekanik (Sweden)
  • Mek-Struct (China)
  • Mini Meta-Build (New Delhi, India)
  • Necobo
  • Palikit
  • Pioneer
  • Primus Engineering Outfits (England)
  • Schefflers
  • Sonneberger
  • Steel Engineering (U.S.A.)
  • Structomode
  • TECC (Czeckoslovakia)
  • Tekno (Norway & Denmark)
  • Thale Stahlbau Technik (E. Germany)
  • The Constructioneer
  • The Engineer (Toronto, Canada)
  • TRIX (Germany and England)
  • Trumodel (U.S.A.)
  • Vogue (Melton Mowbray, England)
  • Wisdom / Sagesse (China)

Metalcraft Construction Sets

Hi folks, Doc here. During the late 1920s and well into the 1930s the Metalcraft Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri (Metalcraft Lyons after 1929) was producing a line of unique metal construction sets. They are probably best known for their airplane sets based on Charles Lindberg's Spirit of St. Louis. However, fans of A.C. Gilbert's Erector and many other systems will appreciate what may be their most impressive sets, those based on famous airships of the period like the Graf Zeppelin.

Like almost all of the other the metal construction systems I have profiled on this website, Metalcraft sets feature nearly all metal parts and screw and nut construction. However, unlike those other systems, which feature standard part types like plates, girders, angles, etc. for building an almost endless series of models, Metalcraft sets were designed to build a series of one-off toys, each with a specific theme, using specifically shaped and formed parts (see photos below). As such, Metalcraft sets, like Dan Dare sets which appeared some years later (and which I have also profiled here on this website), might be considered the predecessors of the plastic model kits that would come to dominate the building hobby in later years. Despite this, sets produced by Metalcraft, Dan Dare, and similar brands were still designed to build multiple models.

Boss Inner
Screw Head
Nut Shape Nut Width
var 3.9 mm 6-32 ? ? ? ? hex 7.9 mm

As stated previously, Metalcraft parts were made from stamped and formed sheet steel. Screws had round slot heads with 6-32 threads, nuts were hexagonal and on the large side (7.9 mm wide). Due to the nature of the single purpose parts, hole spacing varied as each part dictated. Many sets had parts with a tinned metallic finish, but in selected sets like No. 960 and No. 961 the parts were painted.

Metalcraft produced and marketed a number of airplane related sets, including two Spirit of St. Louis sets with models based on Charles Lindberg's record setting monoplane, plus a Hanger set and an Airfield set. In addition, breaking with their tradition of metal construction sets, the company produced two wooden model sets that could be used to build rubber band powered flying models. These airplane related sets, all but one of which are shown in the images below, include:

  • No. 951 Spirit of St. Louis - 25 models
  • No. 952 Spirit of St. Louis - 100 models
  • No. 890 Spirit of St. Louis Hangar
  • No. 968 St. Louis Robin Endurance Flyer
  • No. 955 Flyer flying model
  • Airfield Set

Spirit of St. Louis Set No. 951 (25 models)

Spirit of St. Louis Set No. 952 (100 models) and Set No. 890 Hanger

Set No. 968, the St. Louis Robin Endurance Flyer flying model

Set No. 955, the Flyer flying model

At least three "Zeppelin" sets were produced. The largest was the No. 880 (shown below), which first appeared in 1928. It was originally based on the famous Graf Zeppelin, designed by Dr. Hugo Eckener, Friedrichshafen, Germany, in 1928. The model was made from tinned sheet steel, and measured an impressive 27 x 5½ x 7 inches (68.6 x 14.0 x 17.8 cm). In later years, the No. 880 reappeared as the No. 962. Two smaller sets were also produced, the No. 960 and No. 961 (also shown below). These airship related sets include:

  • No. 880 Zeppelin - multiple models
  • No. 960 Zeppelin - 8 models
  • No. 961 Zeppelin - 20 models
  • No. 950 Beacon and Mooring Mast

Set No. 880, the largest of the Zeppelin sets; builds models of the (per the box lid) "R-100, Italia, Los Angeles, LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin,and all principal dirigibles and airships"

No. 880 LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin model, 27" long

Set No. 961, contains over 165 parts to build over 20 different airships

Set No. 960, contains over 100 parts to build over 8 different airships

No. 960 Zeppelin model

Set No. 950 Beacon and Mooring Mast

Metalcraft manual and promo sheet for No. 955 Flyer set