Richter's Anchor® Stone Building Sets

Richters Anker-Steinbaukasten

(Vol. 14, # 7)

Not Anchor stones, but an F. Ad. Richter & Cie. product.  On the left is a picture of a Libellion music box made in Rudolstadt, probably between 1900 and 1910.  Libellions are quite rare,  The music is not in a fixed length format, such as a disk.  The music "book" can be of any length.  This Libellion is model # 2; it includes a spring motor drive which moves the music book over the playing mechanism.  You can see more pictures of the "Libellion".  Next month Anchor stones will be featured.

The Anchor factory in Rudolstadt will hold a meeting "Treffen" on Saturday, September 5th.  I have already booked my flights.  I plan to be there. 

Scheduled Meetings:

Next CVA meeting:  Saturday, October 24, 2009; Hotel Lapershoek in Hilversum.
Factory Treffen:  Saturday, September 5, 2009; at the factory.


Dordrecht:  Simon van Gijn - Museum aan Huis; Nieuwe Haven 29-30.  Until November.

More Anchor information now on-line.
The Internet is more convenient than ever.

You can now download almost the entire CD-ROM archive from a new web site.  Go down to the bottom of the page and click on "Site-Map" to find what is currently available.  The site is still "under construction" (noch im Aufbau).  Use of this site is much easier, quicker, cheaper, and more convenient than buying the CD-ROMs mentioned below.  Please use it!
And you can download my book as a PDF file -- English version or German version. 
There are a large number of short Anchor videos on YouTube.  Here is a link to one of the videos.  You can use the "related videos" suggestions to find many more.

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A new picture of me, with relatives, along with an AV Meyer-Margreth design I built in order to check out the AnkerCAD drawings by AV Burkhard Schulz.  Here are pictures of me and my cats.

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.  Someone visited this blog and created animated assemblies of some of the designs.  All Anchor builders should look at it to see just how much variation is possible to a designer with a great imagination.   New plans for set # 4 are on the site.

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 closed.  The Spielhausverein has moved, 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.  All of the Anchor archive materials being housed there and the collection of Anchor sets have been moved to Heidecksburg.  The large collection of old Anchor stones, many of which are quite rare, is still in the possession of the Spielhausverein.  We'll see what happens to these stones.  Watch!

All sets -- #s 6 through 30A, and NS conversion set -- are now in stock!

See new sets !

The Conversion Set (Übergangskasten) contains the stones to allow owners of the NF series sets to built the NS series designs.  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.   The Mosaic Set is out of stock -- both sets were sold. 

The Mosaic Set is available only at the factory.  I bought two sets while I was at the Treffen.  So that the Mosaic Set is now, once more, available here.  The cost is high -- $500, which is what I paid; no markup.  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 cats.  Both "seniors" and both from Caring for Creatures, a local no-kill animal shelter.  Pictures will be added as they are taken.  My own picture is new, taken in October, 2008, on a trip to Antwerpen. 

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 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 has a web site for his reproduction metal partsThis web site is newly revised and expanded -- with a lot of beautiful pictures.  He has also established a web site for box # 10 and box # 10B.

Keep in mind that many more designs (NF 6 through 20) are available on the web  in the form of PDF files.  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 a division of Hexal.  All of Hexal has been acquired by Sandoz.  Sandoz is increasing its investment in its Rudolstadt operation.  Based on my visit in September, 2008, it seems to me that the new facilities in Rudolstadt will be between two and three times as large as they were.  It may well happen that factories which trace their histories back to Richter and Anker will become (again) the largest employers in Rudolstadt.   

The last CVA meeting was on Saturday, October 25, 2008.  The next meeting date will be on Saturday, April 25, 2009.  Please note that this date is two weeks later than the one announced in the last MLB.  I am planning to be there.  In addition the new Anchor factory in Rudolstadt, Germany held three "Treffen", or "open door" days, at that factory for 2008 -- Saturday, July 5th; Saturday, September 20th; Saturday, December 13.  I attended the September 20, 2008 Treffen.  See the CVA page for details.  

The Club of Anchor Friends (CVA) has published a Stone Catalog. There  will be no further printing prior to the completion of the update, which happened in December, 2008.  At present, plans to reprint the catalog are not public.  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.  The file is too large to be e-mailed, close to 90M.  Do you need 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 almost 250 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.  

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::  You can now download almost the entire CD-ROM archive from a new web site.  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 Andrea Mazzocco, Switzerland, (auf Deutsch);
         downloads from of Andrea Mazzocco, Switzerland, (auf Deutsch);
           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).
         the home page of Burkhard Schulz, (auf Deutsch);
         new Anchor factory in Rudolstadt, Germany, (auf Deutsch and in English);
           This web site 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);
         Hungarian web page by Janos Vegh, (in Magyar [Hungarian]);
         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 (store closed, but still on line);
         an English retailer of Anchor sets;
         an American retailer of Anchor puzzles and sets;
         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 ;
         Don Kenske's Anchor blog ;
         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, 2009.  

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
Palmyra, VA 22963
Tel.: (434) 589 8752