Richter's Anchor Stone Building Sets

Richters Anker-Steinbaukasten

The building on the left is a "Synagogue and Well in Moorish style" from the April 1888 plan book for set GK-AF # 21A (23, later 25).  The "giant" step, from 21 to 23 (25), was due the the very large supplement set (of 722 stones) from set # 21 to set # 23.  Richter felt that this large supplement set was a marketing mistake, so he "promoted" the set # 23 to # 25 and divided the large supplement set (# 21A) in two -- resulting in a new set # 21A (347 stones) and a new set # 23A (383 stones).  The German telegraph identification words were changed also, but in other languages no differentiation between the larger and smaller set # 21A was made, although which set # 23 one owned was clearly identified by all new telegraph words and the old # 23 telegraph words were assigned to set # 25.  Confused?  Well, don't be.  This example is one of the more straightforward examples of the confusion of numbers and names found throughout the history of Anchor Stone Building Sets.  Sometimes the confusion was deliberate -- like the reassignment of the telegraph word "Italien" from set # 23 to set # 25; at other times it was an oversight -- like the failure to provide new non-German telegraph words to the new set # 21A.

As always, with Richter, newer was better, and so the two new supplement set supplied 730 stones, a "bonus" of eight stones.  After this mistake Richter maintained the supplement set sets quite uniform in size, while offering double, triple and quadruple layer supplement sets for those with the money and the desire. 

Richter's Anchor Stone Building Sets (Richters Anker Steinbaukasten) were the world's most popular construction toy from the early 1880s through W.W.I.  These building stones were made in Rudolstadt, Thuringia, Germany, (and at the company's branches in Vienna, New York and, possibly, St. Petersburg, Russia).  Starting in 1880, Richter's Anchor building stones were covered by international patents and trademarks.

Today, there are many collectors and builders (This page shows some exhibition quality buildings.) of Anchor Stone Building Sets.  These collectors often participate in setting up Anchor displays at various exhibitions.   A number of them are members of the international Club of Anchor Friends (Club van Ankervrienden), a Dutch club with members from the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Great Britain and the USA.

Over 600 different Anchor Stone Building Sets were produced in a number of different series.  In addition Richter offered other "stone" products such as puzzles and laying games.  Information on these building set series is provided here, but one can e-mail me on other Richter products.  People who would like to know more about a specific set, including value, or are only interested in additional general information are urged to contact George Hardy (This page shows some of my buildings.) by e-mail.  All e-mail questions will be answered, to the extent of my knowledge.

Sets are being produced again!  Their quality is high.  I urge people interested in starting Anchor building, and those who want to provide their educational benefits to their children, to consider buying these new sets.  The advertisement to the left (or above, if you are using 640 x 480 resolution on your monitor) is from "Best Bets - The best of all possible things to (buy) in the best of all possible cities" in the April 7th issue of the New York magazine, page 53.

Please note that this home page is under constant revision.  The graphics are JPEG, which improves quality and reduces file size.  I have used the savings from this graphics format to enlarge some pictures and add additional ones.  

Many new graphics, and additional text, are uploaded once a month, as close to the first as possible.  I have decided to change the full set of graphics only once a quarter, as most people do not read beyond the first page.  If you only have a little time, I urge you to take a look at the "builders" page.  So please plan to drop by monthly to see the new pictures.  In the restricted (1.4M) space of my home page, I can provide only a limited view of the wonderful world of Richter's Anchor stones.

Other web sites with Anchor pictures and information:
         new Anchor factory in Rudolstadt, Germany, (in German and English;
         for whatever reason, the factory has no e-mail address);
         Anchor distributor in the Benelux (in German, French, Dutch and English);
         Construction Toys;
         Lego on Long Island;
         Architectural Toys.

For the month of May, 1997.

Anchor exhibitions being held in the next few months.

Anker-Steinbaukasten, auf deutsch.  

Anker-Steenbouwdozen, in nederlands.  

Anchor Stone Building sets, in English.  (You found it.)

You are visitor number to the Club of Anchor Friends' home page since the posting date of .  From the first appearance of the Anchor home page, August 30, 1996, there has been a slow but steady increase in the number of people accessing it.  Over the previous eight months there have been about 1,700 visitors, with about 310 during April.  This revision is the tenth one that has been on the net.  (My first effort was up only four days, when I learned how to display graphics.)  The Date and Time is .  I plan to update this site monthly.  It was last updated on .

Thank you for visiting my "Anchor" web site.

or you can write to:

George Hardy
1670 Hawkwood Ct.
Charlottesville, VA 22901

Tel: (804) 295 4863
Fax: (804) 295 4898