Here is some correspondence from a colleague:
When I saw your reference to Tinker Toys in the "Inner Engineer" essay, it brought back memories of my early childhood where playing with them was nearly my sole pastime. I can remember them back to kindergarten.
Today I was looking for the Kerner Ferry Bridge, a project for which I'll be leading a VE study in late June near New Orleans. I mistyped "Kerner" and typed "Kenner", coming up with this set. I probably hadn't thought of it for 40 years, but do remember that I used it so much that I wore out the connections in the ends of the I-beams.
Too bad kids don't play with this kind of stuff any more. I spent hundreds of hours playing with legos with my son when he was younger, but it just wasn't the same.