We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Tinkertoys®?

Mary Elizabeth
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Sports n' Hobbies, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Along with Erector Sets®, Legos®, Lincoln Logs® and K’NEX®, Tinkertoys® are a type of building toy on the Toy Industry Association’s list called “Century of Toys” — the 100 tops toys of the twentieth century. Created in 1913, the same year as Erector Sets®, Tinkertoys® was invented by two Evanstonians: Charles H. Pajeau and Robert Pettit, the inspiration being children building with empty spools of thread and pencils.

Most Tinkertoy® pieces are made of wood and are very similar to the original design. The basic types of pieces include:

Rods: color-coded by length, these sticks of identical diameter have a slot in each end to hold a flag, if desired.

Elbows: plastic pieces, bent in the middle, connect rods at an angle.

Couplings: plastic pieces that can connect two rods end to end and — in its middle hole — can rotate around another.

End caps: plastic pieces that tidily cover rod ends.

Spools: wooden hubs that accept rods around their circumference and through a hole in their center. Unlike the couplings, the center hole secures the rod, not allowing the spool to rotate.

Flags: thin green plastic quadrilaterals that serve as flaps, wings, or arms.

Pulleys: round pieces with a center hole like that in a spool and an indentation to hold a string.

More advanced sets include plastic tubes, pods, pod couplings, and pod hangers, and rail holders, as well as connector clips, a face plate, and robot arms. The tubes allow curves to be added to the designs.

All kits include a design guide with building ideas. Sample ideas include a race car, a robot, an airplane, a helicopter, and a castle. This brings up a point about how children can use Tinkertoys®. On the one hand, Tinkertoys® can be used to help children work from a model and follow directions. On the other hand, Tinkertoys® also give children scope for imaginative play, in which they simply explore the possibilities offered by the elements of the set to create an abstract or specific, planned or improvised structure.

Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary Elizabeth
By Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to writing articles on art, literature, and music for Sports n' Hobbies, Mary works as a teacher, composer, and author who has written books, study guides, and teaching materials. Mary has also created music composition content for Sibelius Software. She earned her B.A. from University of Chicago's writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont.
Discussion Comments
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the...
Learn more
Sports n' Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Sports n' Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.