Richter's Anchor® Stone Building Sets

Richters Anker-Steinbaukasten

(Vol. 13, # 7)

The building on the left was constructed by AVs Geoff Crosse & Philip Mitchell of Western Australia.  Yes, AVs are everywhere!  Goeff wrote, "This was built by Geoff Crosse & Philip Mitchell mostly from a plan in one of the boxes less a layer or two because we ran out of blocks from those sets ... :-( "  You can see more pictures on the "builders page"

Again, I appeal for pictures of Anchor buildings.  I have a nice file of photographs from the 1920s, etc.  But most AVs like more current pictures, in color.  I am also planning a retrospective, covering former members of the CVA, such as AVs Leo Coffeng and Niels Gottlob.

AV William Seppeler has established an important web site/blog which provides designs for small sets and collections.  If you have just a set # 6, or the even smaller Brownie (Heinzelmännchen), you must check out this side.  In fact, all Anchor builders should look at it to see just how much variation is possible to a designer with a great imagination.

I try to keep the links at the bottom of this page up to date.  If you find that one does not work, please e-mail me.

The Richter villa is going to be closed.  The Spielhausverein must move, and the villa is to be sold.  But irrespective of whether or not it is sold, it is now closed to the public, except by appointment.  The city is worried about its physical condition and safety.  I am worried about all of the Anchor archive materials being housed there and about the large collection of old Anchor stones, many of which are quite rare.  We'll see what happens, but if you want to see the villa, you had better hurry!

All sets -- #s 6 through 28A, and the NS conversion set -- are now in stock!

One of the two sets previously not available at retail is now being offered here in the USA.  The set is a Conversion Set (Übergangskasten) from the NF series to the NS series.  This set contains all of the special arches and extra stones needed to build the NS designs through set NS 18.  The plans are supplied on CD-ROM, not printed out.  Since these arches did not fill a box, the factory has added a well thought out selection of filler stones to make up a complete box of stones.  New NS buildings are being designed by AVs today and are available on the web  in the form of PDF files from the factory's web site.   -- either here or in Europe. 

The Mosaic Set is still not available here in the USA.  This set contains 547 stones in four colors and is intended for floors in Anchor buildings.  The set is identical to the set Mosaik Set # 4 from the original factory.  547 stones means that the set is expensive, but Anchor buildings look very nice when they have floors on the porches and entrances. 

If you are interested in Anchor building designs, you have two choices for software: AnkerCAD and AnkerPlan.

For those of you who are interested, here is a picture of me and my cats.  Yes, I have two new (to me) cats.  Both "seniors" and both from Caring for Creatures, a local no-kill animal shelter.  Pictures as they are taken.  My picture was taken about four years ago, during my 67 birthday party. 

I am still looking for pictures from other countries.  Anchor stones are now popular in Korea, and pictures have been received.  So far, I have not received pictures from South America (other than one old collection in Argentina), Asia (other than Korea), Australia or Africa.  Since Anchor was popular worldwide, and it still is, there must be some AVs on these continents.

AV Rob Buis has been producing reproduction metal parts (listed here) of the highest quality.  To find out which ones are still available you should e-mail AV Rob Buis.  Yes, they are expensive, but if you want to build Anchor bridges using nickel-plated iron parts, you will find that most of the original parts are rusted, often bent, and very hard to use.  I build with Rob's parts.  Contact Rob for more information about his new Anchor metal parts.  Rob is setting up a web site for his reproduction metal parts.

Keep in mind that many more designs (NF 6 through 20) are available on the web  in the form of PDF files.  Another web site has plans for set # 6 in the form of a PDF file.   Of course they are free; all you need to do is print them out.  Next month this site will feature a new design for set # 6.  And, it is especially good because it uses all 105 stones in that first set.  (OK, some say that # 4 is the first set, but IMHO # 6 is the first useful set.)

You can look at last month's web page.  This feature has been available for almost a year, but the link was not well known.  All of the earlier pages are available on the web.

Aeropharm is the successor to the Ankerpharm factory in Rudolstadt.  The factory is doing well, meeting its business plan, and growing at about 30% a year.  (Possible at the beginning, but not over the long run.)  It may well happen that factories which trace their histories back to Richter and Anker become (again) the largest employers in Rudolstadt.  

I have received the new, 2008, price list.  Prices have gone up because of the weak US$.  The new prices for all of sets are found on the new sets page.  The Euro is even stronger against the US$ than before.  I have been forced to adjust prices.  The new prices are now on the new sets page.  

The last CVA meeting was on Saturday, April 12, 2008.  The next meeting date will be on Saturday, October 25, 2008.  I hope you will be there.  I am planning to be there.  In addition the new Anchor factory in Rudolstadt, Germany has scheduled three "Treffen", or "open door" days, at that factory for 2008 -- Saturday, July 5th; Saturday, September 20th; Saturday, December 13.  I plan to attend the September 20, 2008 Treffen.  See the CVA page for details.  

The Club of Anchor Friends (CVA) has published a Stone Catalog.  It seems no more will be printed prior to the completion of the update, which should happen this winter.  To satisfy the demand, the old Stone Catalog has been made available on CD in the PDF format.  This file has also been added to CD # 6, because that CD has the book and other basic reference information.  Or, you can ask me to send a file by e-mail, but the file is close to 107M.  Should you buy the printed version?  It all depends on 1) whether you have European A4 paper (required to keep the scale) and 2) how feel about printing more than 300 double sided pages.

The amount of additional work to do continues to grow; the discovery of the original molds has added even more work.  I saw one mold which was used to make a stone I had never seen -- not even heard of.  That mold was one of a pair -- a corner stone and a rectangular stone.  The new factory has made a few samples of each.  Of course there was no way to know the correct thickness.  Close examination has shown that these stones are a new design for the roof stones of the DS (Dachstein -- roof stone) sets.  I obtained samples of the new roof stones at the Ankerfest.  I have not really looked at them yet, but I will now that I am home.  For more information, you can e-mail me.  

Remember that the loose leaf format makes it easy to update your catalog.  The next update is now scheduled to appear in late 2006 or '07.  This revision will be a major update, far larger than thought earlier.  Progress is being made.  It will probably be as large as the current catalog!  A second binder may be needed.  This increase in size is not an indication of errors, but an attempt to get as much information as possible in this catalog.  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; a photocopy or scan (in color if at all possible) of an actual packing plan is required.

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.  But the stones are now being kept in Den Haag (Rigolettostraat 28).

The factory has begun using the old molds!!! 

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),  Germany, 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.  But Burkhard is now offering the video on CD which can be run on almost all computers.

Today, there are many collectors and builders using Anchor Stone Building Sets.  These collectors often participate in setting up Anchor displays at various exhibitions.   The last exhibition was held from September 20 until October 2, 2004, in Jena, Germany, in the Goethe Gallery. 

A number of Anchor collectors are members of the international Club of Anchor Friends (Club van Ankervrienden), a Dutch club with members from the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Denmark, Chile, Hungary, 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 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 -- ISBN: 0-9656288-0-9.  (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, $60 (or 40 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, or as a download -- English version or German version.

 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 another CD.  As of today, there are sixteen (16) CD-ROMs in the Archive.  Plus, for CVA members only, there are 9 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 (unchanged) 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, exhibition buildings, building plans for Imperator (1st Series); # 4 (unchanged) contains the building and layer plans for the second series of GK-Br and Imperator, the VE series; # 5 contains the KK-NF and KK-Br building and layer plans, plus Comet, Erste Folge, Orion, Eagle, Imperator (all metal), advertisements, Richter, Rudolstadt, CVA Stone Catalog; #  5A KK-AF building and layer plans, price lists, Strata, book (PDF -- German and English); # 6 contains documentation including my book in both English and German and various magazines (like the Anker Zeitung) and magazine articles; # 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, Mosaic sets, games, VEB, LaVelle, 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; # 9 Catalogs, wood building sets; # 10 Personal Designs; # 10A Eigenentwürfe; # 10B more Personal Designs (they won't fit on two CDs now), factory, Sonderkasten (special sets);  # 11 Movies, A. Paul Fricke, web site and web site index; # 12 an overview using PDF and other more modern PC programs and formats, and # 13 additional overview (it won't fit on one CD now) and the web site.  Only the members of the Club of Anchor Friends are permitted to purchase the eight CD-ROMs containing all of the MLBs (up through Winter of 2005), 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 the relocation of files or the addition of more data.  Do not count on the description of what is on each CD-ROM.  I have to relocate files as more and more information is added.  Either order them all (they're cheap), or e-mail me first.

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  

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 this web site, I can provide only a limited view of the wonderful world of Richter's Anchor stones.

Other web sites with Anchor pictures and information:
         web site operated by the CVA, (in Dutch, Deutsch, English, Français);
         the home page of Burkhard Schulz, (auf Deutsch);
         new Anchor factory in Rudolstadt, Germany, (auf Deutsch and in English);
           This web site offers many new designs for the sets.  The designs are drawn in the standard Richter manner.  Those
           who have created their own designs are invited to send them to AV Burkhard Schulz, Ellerau (bei Hamburg).
           This web site also contains additional Anchor links.
         successor to the Ankerpharm factory in Rudolstadt, Germany, (auf Deutsch);
         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, (auf Deutsch);
         a German retailer of Anchor sets who ships worldwide, (auf Deutsch);
         the best retailer of construction toys in America, includes Anchor sets and puzzles, of course;
         an English retailer of Anchor sets;
         an American retailer of Anchor puzzles and sets;
         an American retailer of Anchor puzzles;
         an American retailer who also ships to Canada;
         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); 
         Herbert Thaller's homepage, not all Anchor, but wonderful Anchor buildings if you follow the links, (auf Deutsch);
         Alan Winston's Anchor blog ;
         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 July, 2008.  

Anker-Steinbaukasten, auf Deutsch.  

Anker-Steenbouwdozen, in nederlands.  

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

"Anchor" and "Anker" are registered trademarks of the Anker Steinbaukasten GmbH.

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.: (434) 589 8752