Popular since the 1880s, Anchor Stones by German toymaker Richter are seeing a comeback as well-made, high-quality toys come back into vogue.
Anchor Stones are building blocks cut to precise specifications and made of quartz sand, chalk and linseed oil and have been made the same way since the first one was created in the late nineteenth century. The idea behind the stones was to give children geometric shapes to play with that could create a number of buildings and could stand largely unaided due to their high construction value.
The toys survived through the first and second World Wars but were replaced by an inferior plastic version after the division of Berlin. In 1995, production of the original stone blocks began again and the company and product are now enjoying marked commercial success.
Anchor Stones come in a variety of kits and expansion sets, each with diagrams of various buildings that can be created from the stones. Each stone is hand-finished and designed to have specific weight and balance so that no glue is needed in order for even large structures to stay together.
These stones have devoted followers in both adults and children and the best way to start is with a Building Box #6 - the basic starter set. From there, other sets can be added to increase the number of structures that can be built.
The toys aren't cheap - at Amazon the basic set will run almost $180, but they are meant to last a lifetime. In a world of cheap, consumable and easily breakable toys, it's nice to see one that has stood the test of time and is still as popular as ever.