Page 281. " Erector-set "
Erector Set is the trade name for a kids’ toy construction set that was popular for much of the 20 century. Invented in 1911, it consisted of small metal beams that had holes along them for fastening nuts, bolts, screws, and mechanical parts like pulleys, gears, and motors. The A.C. Gilbert Company owned and sold the toy until it went bankrupt in 1967, whereupon the name was purchased by the Gabriel Company, which sold identical versions in the 1970s and 1980s. Today they are made by Meccano S.N. of France, which is affiliated with the Nikko Group of Japan, and distributed in the U.S. by Nikko America.
Page 288. " Jed "
The name Mr. Dark picks for himself as a boy is, ironically, from the Israeli word for “friend of god.” It’s also short for Jedediah, whose Hebrew root means “beloved of Jehovah.”
Page 300. " De Camptown ladies sing this song "
Mr. Halloway sings the opening lines to “The Camptown Races,” a comic song in broad African-American stereotyped dialect written by Stephen Foster in 1850. Its original title was “Gwine to Run All Night” and it is also known as “The Camptown Ladies.” A camptown, or tent city, was a temporary workmen’s camp near a construction site, often a railroad line. The song mixes the good humor of a work camp with horse racing to grand, fun-loving effect.

The cartoon character Foghorn Leghorn often hummed or sang this song in Warner Brothers “Merrie Melodies” cartoons, and it makes a hilarious appearance in the opening scenes of the 1974 Mel Brooks film “Blazing Saddles,” in which the racial roles are reversed: white cowboys sing the song in the traditional manner while the black hero played by Cleavon Little pronounces its title in proper English and pretends not to be familiar with it.