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Bruce Hansen's Erector Junior Models

Bruce writes: "Here are a couple of models built with a 1945-47 Erector Junior #5 set. When World War II broke out, steel was a rationed commodity. Steel Erector sets weren't produced between early 1942 and early 1946. But Gilbert did produce sets (1943-47) made from a non-rationed resource: wood! The Erector Junior sets came in three sizes: #1, #3 and #5. Wooden pins were substituted for screws/nuts and all the girders were wood resembling tongue depressors. Here's a picture of my 1945-47 #5 set:

The first model is the one featured on the box lid, the Bascule Bridge. The action in this model is a bridge raised/lowered with a hand crank. I had to use a weight at the base of the bridge (carpenter's square in this case) to keep the base from tipping.


The second model is a Windmill with Pump. This model is also driven via a hand crank (no motors were used in Erector Junior sets). There is a pulley on the cranked shaft that has the axle running through one of its edge hole (not the center). When the axle turns, the pulley acts like a cam and raises/lowers a girder pump. String is used to drive the windmill blades.


I found building with Erector Junior to be a major pain! The pins that hold parts together don't grip very well and the models end up being the proverbial house of cards. I shored things up by looping rubber bands around the pin heads to keep things together. Regardless of the building difficulties, the sets do make a nice, unique display."