Richter's Anchor® Stone Building Sets

Richters Anker-Steinbaukasten

(Vol. 8, # 8)

In previous months I have made the Bridge Set (1895) a front-page issue, although it is usually only a "subpage of a subpage" item.  The reason is that, for the first time in living memory, original metal parts were in the hands of a collector (me <g>).  To help explain this "upgrade", this month I am featuring one of these bridge designs.  It was built using a combination of the new (reproduction) parts and the old (Richter) parts.  The only real difference is the new parts have bright nickel plating and  are not rusted.  The bridge on the left is featured on the builder's page.  But first, let me remind people of the "state of the art" at the time.

Iron bridges were more than 100 years old when this set came out.  Almost all of these bridges, first built in England, were a truss design -- as are all of the bridges in the Richter set.  The Brooklyn Bridge, an early (but by no means the first) suspension bridge, had been in use for more than a decade.  But for some reason these technical developments had not been included in construction toys.  Then the firm of the Keller Brothers (also in Rudolstadt and also making stone building sets) produced a set which featured bridges made from a combination of metal parts and stones.  In 1892 this Keller set won a Gold Metal in London.  Richter's pride was hurt!  To reestablish his preeminence in the construction toy set business, he purchased a patent from inventor Julius Weiss (Berlin).  In 1895/6 he brought out this special set.  He knew it was too expensive to sell well, but he wanted to set a standard to which other makers (read Keller) could not aspire.  Subsequently Richter came out with a large number of sets in multiple series which included metal parts.  Both Meccano and Erector came onto the market well after Richter was into his third  (and working on his fourth) generation of toy building sets with metal parts.

A "real" report on the metal parts from the Bridge Set (1895) has already been sent to the editor of the MLB of the Club of Anchor Friends (CVA).  The MLB, not the web page, is the proper forum for any article on Anchor and Richter history, stones or sets.

Again, let me note that the reproduction parts made by Rob Buis and Fred Hartjes are remarkably accurate.

Please note that set # 20A is in stock.  Pricing is shown on the new puzzles and sets page.

The last CVA meeting was on Saturday, April 26, 2003.  The next meeting date will be on Saturday, October 25, 2003.  I plan to be there.   See the CVA page for details.  Prior to the meeting I am planning to tour southeastern Germany (Dresden and southeast from there).

The Club of Anchor Friends (CVA) has published a Stone Catalog.  I still have two copies, in the correct European binder -- $30, ppd.  Even if you have no other Anchor reference book, you need to buy this one.  This catalog is not, and will not become, available on CD-ROM, and the next update won't be available for many months.  A major update is in the works -- some 100+ new pages and replacement 50 pages.  Since the catalog uses a loose leaf format, you will need only the new and changed pages.  The amount of detailed information in this catalog is very great, and the information keeps coming in.  And it has become clear that e-mails with just numbers of stones in a set just will not do; Leo Coffeng must receive a photocopy or scan (in color if at all possible) of an actual packing plan.

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 , but not St. Petersburg, Russia).  Starting in 1880, Richter's Anchor building stones were covered by international patents and trademarks.  AV Burkhard Schulz, Ellerau (bei Hamburg), has produced a wonderful video entitled Ankerstadt Rudolstadt.  He gave a copy to the CVA Archive, and it is possible he might let you have a copy if you want one.  Americans remember: 1) the video is in German and 2) the German TV system is not compatible with the USA TV system.  Unfortunately, a DVD will not solve the incompatibility problem.

Today, there are many collectors and builders using 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, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Great Britain and the USA.  The meetings of the Club of Anchor Friends is held in the Hotel Lapershoek in Hilversum.  

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.  All e-mail questions will be answered, to the extent of my knowledge.

Sets and puzzles are being produced again!  The 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 new puzzles and sets.  Anchor Stone Building Sets are great presents, and the supplement sets make wonderful follow up gifts.  These new sets recently won the 1997 Parents' Choice Gold Medal.  In 1999, the Anchor sets won the National Parenting Publications Award.  For an 1880 toy to win in 1997 and 1999 says a lot about the quality of these sets and Anchor in general.  These sets are a perfect supplement to computers.

For those who are really interested in Anchor stones, I have written a book about them.  (I just got tired of either looking up the same information again and again, or trusting my memory on specific details such as dates and names.)  It is expensive, $50 (or 50 Euros, your choice), ppd, because I print it myself on my PC and color ink is expensive.  The book undoubtedly contains far more information about Anchor stones and sets, the Richter company, etc. than you'll ever want to read.  This book is a lot of work to print (I print about a dozen at a time, in either English or German, and it takes a week, full time.), so please don't think I am urging you to buy one.  The book is also available on CD-ROM, which costs just $2.00.  See below.

Web Page Notes:  Most subpages do not change from month to month.  The "builder's page" is revised every month.  A few people have asked me to number the "issues" of the Anchor page.  Well, they started in August, 1996, (with Vol. 1, # 8, to keep the number of the month the same as the issue's number).  The number of this "issue" is shown at the top of this page.  All web pages are found in the CD-ROM Archive.  See below.

CD-ROM Archive: I can  supply the CD-ROMs of the CVA's CD-Archive.  More scans are being added all of the time, and the "holes" in the documentation are being filled.  Of course, more scans means more CDs, and as scans are added some files are moved to other CD.  As of today, there are eleven CD-ROMs in the Archive, plus, for CVA members only, 7additional CD-ROMs of the old MLBs and 2 CD with the AHN.  (Do not try to buy these MLB CD-ROMs unless you are a CVA member.  I check the membership list!)  All of the scans are JPG files.  # 1 contains the GK-NF building and layer plans, excluding # 34, the Anchor book in PDF format in English, plus odd things like box covers, figures, insets, rulers, etc.; # 2 contains the DS and # 34 building and layer plans; # 3 contains all packing plans, the Anchor book in PDF format in German and the web site with index; # 4 contains the building and layer plans for the second series of GK-Br and Imperator, the VE series; # 5 contains the KK building and layer plans, plus Comet, Erste Folge, Eagle, Imperator (all metal) and mosaic plans; # 6 contains documentation including my book in both English and German and various magazines (like the Anker Zeitung) and magazine articles, plus information on other Anchor products (like Lebkuchen, medicines and mechanical music instruments) ; # 7 contains the building and layer plans for the series 100 (Neue Reihe), 200 (Modern [American] House Series), 300 (Landhaus [Country House] sets), 400 (Festungs- und Burgen-Baukasten [fortress and castle sets]), NS, Capital, Täfelchenlegen, games, VEB, LaVelle, Orion, KMBK (Art Model Building Sets), Eisenbrücken, A-B (American Bridges); # 8 contains the building and layer plans for the series GK-AF, the first series of GK-Br, Exhibition models, Richter (includes his will and other documents regarding his estate), Rudolstadt; # 9 Catalogs, Special Sets, pictures of the original factory (perhaps I will add pictures of the new factory, assuming permission is granted); # 10 Personal Designs, plus advertisements and Im (1st series), and # 11 an overview using PDF and other more modern PC programs and formats.  Only the members of the Club of Anchor Friends are permitted to purchase the seven CD-ROMs containing all of the MLBs (up through Fall, 2001), including both the English and the German language translations and an overview CD.  CDs of the AHN have been added to the Archive.  The AHN needs two CDs, plus a third CD for the overview.  If you want to buy one or more of these CD-ROMs, please send $2  (or euros, your choice) for the first CD-ROM and $1 each for the rest -- postage included, no matter where they are going.  CDs are inexpensive, so I do not see a problem if, at this stage of the Archive, some CDs may become obsolete due to relocation of files.

The new Anchor factory in Rudolstadt, Germany has added many new designs to its web site (thanks to the help of Burkhardt Schulz).  They can be easily downloaded, as they are PDF files.

Please note that this home page is revised monthly.  Most of the graphics are JPEG, which improves quality and reduces file size.  The URL name -- -- indicates that this site is the official web site of the Club of Anchor Friends.

My e-mail address is  If I ever change the ISP for the web site -- -- my old 'rlc' e-mail address will change, but my 'ankerstein' e-mail address is (more or less) permanent.  

Many new graphics, and additional text, are uploaded once a month, as close to the first as possible.  I do not change the full set of graphics, as most people never read beyond the first page.  If you only have a little time, I urge you to take a look at the "builders" page.  And please plan to drop by monthly to see the new pictures.  In the restricted 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);
         the USA importer and distributor;
         a German retailer of Anchor sets, (in German);
         a German retailer of Anchor sets who ships worldwide, (in German);
         a Dutch retailer of Anchor sets;
         the best retailer of construction toys in America, includes Anchor sets, of course;
         an English retailer of Anchor sets;
         an American retailer of Anchor sets;
         German Museum in München, (in German);
         Stephen Wessel's Anker page, (in German);
         information on Gustav Lilienthal, (in German);
         Kunst-Auktionshaus Martin Wendl, (in German);
         Construction Toys;
         Lego on Long Island;
         Architectural Toys;
         the web site of Rachel Fulton, Associate Professor of Medieval History at the University of Chicago;
         the puzzle web page is a must for all puzzle collectors, although not much on Anchor puzzles.

         If you feel that your web site should be included in this list, please let me know.  

For the month of August, 2003.  

Anker-Steinbaukasten, auf Deutsch.  

Anker-Steenbouwdozen, in nederlands  (und auf Deutsch).  

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

"Anchor" and "Anker" are registered trademarks of the Rudolstädter Anker-Steinbaukasten-Fabrik GmbH & Co. KG.

Thank you for visiting the CVA "Anchor" web site.

or you can write to:

George Hardy
6 Deer Path Road
Lake Monticello, VA 22963
Tel. and Fax: (434) 589 8752



No Java.  No music.  No moving icons.  No garbage.  Ever.  Just Anchor.