Richter's Anchor® Stone Building Sets

Richters Anker-Steinbaukasten

(Vol. 8, # 11)

One of the six special sets put out by the Richter company between 1887 and 1895 was the Grosse Festung (Large Fortress), sold from about 1891.  The overall picture, from the plans, is shown here. Development and sale of tis set was mentioned for several years prior to its availability.  The  Grosse Festung was the largest of these special sets, being made up of well over 9,000 stones packed in sixteen double-size (17 × 12) trays.  Only one example is known, and that one was missing nine trays and the packing plan.  (One must assume that the other trays [#s 10 through 16] were correctly packed, which is often not the case with Anchor sets.  The set seemed to be unused, but who knows?)  Thankfully the trays were numbered, and only the lower numbered trays, containing no rare stones, were missing.

I own this set and built the fortress once before.  But I lacked enough stones # 17R and # 30R.  Thanks to the new factory, these shortages have been corrected.  Questions have been raised about my original count of the stones.  So, I have rebuilt it.  At first, I built one half of the outer defenses and doubled the quantity.  I found the result unsatisfactory, so I constructed a building table 5.5 × 6.5 feet (1.5 × 1.8 meters) and built it again.  

Let me admit that there were many errors in the original count.  Making such counts is much more difficult that one might think, unless one has tried.  And one must ask, which is the "correct" answer?  The stones required to construct the building or the stones found in the factory original trays?  To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever selected the stones shown on the AF packing plan and tried to build it with just those stones.  I intend to do just that.

On the builder's page you will find pictures of the Great Fortress, as built by me in both 1986 and 2003.  In both cases, I used other stones from my collection to build the center raised platform of 50 × 887.5 × 887.5.  The plans call for a wooden platform, but I like stones better.

Please note that set # 20A is in stock.  Set # 22A will be introduced at Nuremberg in February.  You should expect it to be available here in the early summer.  Pricing is shown on the new puzzles and sets page.

The last CVA meeting was on Saturday, October 25, 2003.  The next meeting date will be on Saturday, April 24, 2004.  I plan to be there.   See the CVA page for details.  

The Club of Anchor Friends (CVA) has published a Stone Catalog.  I now have only one copy, in the correct European binder, for just $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.  The next update is scheduled for the end of 2004.  There has been some discussion of putting the revised catalog on CD-ROM.  That would mean 2005!  The revision will be a major update -- 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.

The CVA is in the process of developing a "Stone Market".  As it develops CVA members will be informed, which means not on this web site.  The mechanics are complex, so there may be several revisions before its process becomes routine.

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, 8 additional CD-ROMs of the old MLBs (including an overview CD-ROM) and 3 CD-ROMs of the AHN (including an overview CD-ROM).  (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 eight 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.  The Euro payments should be sent to the CVA in the usual way that you use.  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 -- ankerstein.org -- indicates that this site is the official web site of the Club of Anchor Friends.

My e-mail address is georgeh@ankerstein.org.  If I ever change the ISP for the web site -- www.ankerstein.org -- 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, (auf Deutsch and in English);
         successor to the Ankerpahrm factory in Rudolstadt, Germany, (in English);
         the USA importer and distributor;
         Pagina Web en Castellano, (en Español);
         a German retailer of Anchor sets, (auf Deutsch);
         a German retailer of Anchor sets who ships worldwide, (auf Deutsch);
         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, (auf Deutsch);
         Stephen Wessel's Anker page, (auf Deutsch);
         information on Gustav Lilienthal, (auf Deutsch);
         Kunst-Auktionshaus Martin Wendl, (auf Deutsch);
         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 November, 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.

georgeh@ankerstein.org

or you can write to:

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

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