This picture which appeared in http://shorpy.com (a great site if you've never been there) was taken in 1939. The comments on the site from viewers of the picture reminisced about building things with the Erector set, and also with Tinkertoys.
I had both toys and also Lincoln logs, another building toy. I never was then or in later life very handy with my hands like some of the viewers of the picture, but I enjoyed making whatever I could.
This toy and the others I mentioned are indicative of what we played with in those days. We had to use our imaginations a lot of the time, even though I was a dunce in the 'building trade', I remember spending many enjoyable hours.
Also notice the kids shoes, hard oxfords and not the sneakers of today.