Sixty years ago this month, the February 1957 issue of Radio Electronics featured this electronic kit for beginners, the Erec-Tronic. The magazine noted that similar outfits had been around for a long time, but they usually amounted to a wooden breadboard with a few rows of Fahnestock clips. But the Erec-Tronic was the ultimate in educational kits, thanks to the Jiffy-Clip, which could be used horizontally as an alligator clip, as shown on this illustration. But it could also be slid over the pins banana-plug style for quick assembly and disassembly.
The set was touted as a natural for the boy who was just taking an interest in things electronic. It quickly de-mystified schematic diagrams, since the parts could simply be placed right on top of the schematic template to form circuits, such as the code practice oscillator shown here.
The Jiffy connector also removed the necessity for the “mess, dirt, or danger” of solder for the young electronic experimenter. The set shown here sold for about $17, and a transistor version was also available for $13. But these sets were not limited to beginners. Big kits for industry or education were also available with over 300 resistors, 100 capacitors, and scores of sockets and potentiometers, with large basis for assembling advanced circuits. These sold for up to $395.