18 November 2012

The Man Who Saved Christmas...

How many of us knows or perhaps remember 'The Man who saved Christmas'?...

A. C. Gilbert was definitively not a name I heard until I searched for movies for the upcoming Christmas season. As a rule in our family during the Holidays we see ONLY movies which remind us of the hopeful feelings the Christmas season brings to one and all. The same applies to any music so we gather DVDs, a handful of well loved Videos (yes we still have some of those!), and CD's on one shelf and chose from these.
Even the most cynical amongst us (remember Scrooge?) will acknowledge the wondrous feelings Christmas brings! 
How better to explain a promise made 2000 years ago still envelops us in warmth and love each year as we remember the birth of our Saviour?

A quick search told me A.C. Gilbert is better known as the inventor of the Erector set or Meccano set and countless other toys cherished by children throughout the years. 
An Olympic pole vault athlete, he tied for gold medal at the 1908 London Olympics with a fellow American and financed his Yale education as a magician.

He chose not to pursue his father's dream of seeing him established as a doctor and instead poured all his talents into designing toys, many inspired by the steel construction girders used on railroad lines. 
By 1907 he co-founded the Mysto Mfg, (later to become the A.C. Gilbert Co.) manufacturing magic sets and by 1913 he had invented the Erector set

WW1 changed lives for many and the Gilbert family was not immune. In 1918 their beloved toy manufacturing company changed almost overnight into a ammunition factory. Toys manufacturing came to a complete halt. When the National Defense Council considered a ban on toy making, Gilbert opposed it with resounding success thus earning him the title of the 'Man who saved Christmas' by the media.

A. C. Gilbert loved toys his entire life and gave the world chemistry sets, microscope sets and many more educational toys in a 50 years career span.
You might be interested in knowing he is also credited for initiating employees benefits and founded the Toy Manufacturers organization of America.

As to the movie...A very nice rendition of A.C. Gilbert's life or 'The Man Who Saved Christmas' by Jason Alexander with Ed Asner as his father. Sturla Gunnarsson as the director offers us a unique look at the world of toy making at the beginning of the 20th century!

I recommend it as a great story to share with your family during this Holiday Season!

Note to readers: This post reflects my opinion only and was not requested!

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