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Shooting the Breeze with Tom Lindsey


(Lindsey is a native Pickens resident who spent years in  real estate as a broker with Century 21 Lindsey and Pauley before retiring a few years back.)

You are an avid collector of A.C. Gilbert erector sets/toys and will attend a convention in Atlanta next month for other connoisseurs. How long have you been interested in these specific vintage toys? And why?

    I never had an Erector Set when I was a kid.  Jerry Denson had a small set that we played with back in the late 50's. Most sets have a small "house" in them that's made of real thin metal.  I DO remember us placing a Cherrybomb Firecracker in it to see what would happen.  Don't think we ever found the remains of the house. Jerry's mom kept the set and I refurbished it for him several years back. Only thing missing from the set was the house!! I have been collecting Gilbert Toys since 1997. Started when Dan (my youngest son) went off to college. Had empty nest syndrone real bad. I have over 140 complete sets now...All complete and in excellent condition. Gilbert bought American Flyer Train before WW II and I also collect them. I really don't know why I started collecting Gilbert.  It is fun though.

You said Gilbert began making the toys in 1913 so there are toys out there that are 101 years old. What's the oldest piece you own?

    I have a 1913 Gilbert Erector Set # 1. This was the first year & set that Gilbert made.  It's a very small set in a cardboard box.  The manual is worth more than the set. They are very hard to find! I do own at least one set from every year Gilbert was in business. He sold the company in 1962.

What's your favorite set/toy?

    I get asked that question a lot.  When I pull a set out to show someone I always say, "This is one of my favorite sets!"  One of my favorite sets is an early 50's Amusement Park set. It can build a Parachute Jump; a Merry-go-Round;a Ferris Wheel; and hundreds more models. I have all the large models built and working in my basement.  Being a kid again is fun!

You said the toys harken you back to your boyhood. What's your  favorite memory from childhood?

    Going to the beach every year with my family. My Dad worked for Georgia Power and got two weeks vacation at the same time every year. We all loaded up in the "Family Truckster" and off to the beach. We stayed in the same little Tourist Court every year and had a ball.  We all came back brown as butterbeans!

What other things do you for fun besides collecting?

    We do a lot of fun things with the grandkids. Going to Grandview on the weekends is one of them. We’ll be so glad to get the lake back full of water in a year or so.

How would you describe a perfect day?

    I'm an early riser, but not an early doer. It takes me several cups of coffee to get jumped started in the mornings. Perfect day would be just hanging out at home with my wife Sue and working in the basement on my collection.  I buy and sell a lot of Gilbert on eBay to pay for my habit.  I do read a lot, but it puts me to sleep.  Nothing better than an afternoon nap.

What's one of the funniest or most embarrassing stories your family tells about you?

    Boy, I better not get into embarrassing or funny storys. In my 67 years I’ve had a LOT!