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Meccano
Meccano
is a model construction system created in Liverpool, United Kingdom, by Frank Hornby. The brand now maintains a manufacturing facility in Calais, France.[1] Meccano
Meccano
consists of reusable metal strips, plates, angle girders, wheels, axles and gears, and plastic parts that are connected together using nuts, bolts and set screws (also known as grub screws). It enables the building of working models and mechanical devices. Although Meccano
Meccano
has always been seen as an engaging educational toy, today the brand focuses on promoting engineering and robotics through fun play to support STEM learning. The ideas for Meccano
Meccano
were first conceived by Hornby in 1898 and he developed and patented the construction kit as "Mechanics Made Easy" in 1901. The name was later changed to "Meccano" and manufactured by the British company, Meccano
Meccano
Ltd, between 1908 and 1980. It is now manufactured in France
France
and China by Meccano
Meccano
S.N. of France, part of the Canadian Spin Master
Spin Master
toy company. In the United States, a competitive toy with a similar play pattern was launched in 1913 under the Erector Set
Erector Set
brand. Erector was purchased by the Meccano
Meccano
company in 2000 and continued to be sold under Erector Sets in the US through early 2015. After August 2015, the Erector brand was relaunched under the global brand name Meccano.

Contents

1 History

1.1 First sets 1.2 Heyday 1.3 Takeovers 1.4 New versions 1.5 Further developments 1.6 Motors 1.7 Compatible kits

2 Capabilities 3 Popularity 4 Influence 5 See also 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links

History[edit] For early Meccano
Meccano
history, see Frank Hornby. First sets[edit]

An early Meccano
Meccano
set on display in the Edinburgh Museum of Childhood

In 1901 Frank Hornby, a clerk from Liverpool, England, invented and patented a new toy called "Mechanics Made Easy" that was based on the principles of mechanical engineering.[2] It was a model construction kit consisting of perforated metal strips, plates and girders, with wheels, pulleys, gears, shaft collars and axles for mechanisms and motion, and nuts and bolts and set screws to connect the pieces. The perforations were at a standard ½ inch (12.7 mm) spacing, the axles were 8-gauge, and the nuts and bolts used 5/32 inch BSW threads. The only tools required to assemble models were a screwdriver and spanners (wrenches). It was more than just a toy: it was educational, teaching basic mechanical principles like levers and gearing. The parts for Hornby's new construction kit were initially supplied by outside manufacturers, but as demand began to exceed supply, Hornby set up his own factory in Duke Street, Liverpool. As the construction kits gained in popularity they soon became known as Meccano
Meccano
and went on sale across the world. In September 1907, Hornby registered the Meccano
Meccano
trade mark, and in May 1908, he formed Meccano
Meccano
Ltd. To keep pace with demand, a new Meccano
Meccano
factory was built in Binns Road, Liverpool
Liverpool
in 1914, which became Meccano
Meccano
Ltd's headquarters for the next 60 years. Hornby also established Meccano
Meccano
factories in France, Spain and Argentina. The word "Meccano" was thought to have been derived from the phrase "Make and Know".[3] The first construction sets had parts that were rather crudely made: the metal strips and plates had a tinplate finish, were not rounded at the ends and were not very sturdy. But manufacturing methods were improving all the time and by 1907 the quality and appearance had improved considerably: the metal strips were now made of thicker steel with rounded ends and were nickel-plated, while the wheels and gears were machined from brass.

A model steam locomotive built with Meccano

The first sets under the new Meccano
Meccano
name were numbered 1 to 6. In 1922 the No. 7 Meccano
Meccano
Outfit was introduced, which was the largest set of its day, and the most sought after because of its model building capabilities and prestige. In 1926, to mark the 25th anniversary of his patent, Hornby introduced " Meccano
Meccano
in Colours" with the familiar red and green coloured Meccano pieces. Initially plates were a light red and items like the braced girders were a pea-green. However, the following year strips and girders were painted dark green, the plates Burgundy red, while the wheels and gears remained brass. In 1934 the Meccano
Meccano
pieces changed colour again: the strips and girders became gold while the plates were changed to blue with gold criss-cross lines on them, but only on one side, the reverse remaining plain blue. This new colour scheme was only available in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
until the end of the Second World War in 1945. The old red and green sets were still produced for the export market and were re-introduced in the UK after the war. In 1958 the colours were changed slightly to what became known as 'light red and green' but this incarnation had the shortest lifespan as the colours changed dramatically in 1964 to the black and yellow colour scheme. However, this light red and green period did see the introduction of about 90 new parts, more modern packaging, a new cabinet was introduced for the number 10 set, the first plastic parts were introduced, and the "exploded diagram" instructions made their début.

Instruction book for the 1956 Meccano
Meccano
No. 7 and 8 Outfits, showing a model of a walking drag line excavator built with the red and green Meccano
Meccano
pieces of the time.

Heyday[edit] In 1934 the nine basic Meccano
Meccano
outfits (numbered 00 to 7) were replaced by eleven outfits, labelled 0, A to H, K and L, the old No. 7 Outfit becoming the L Outfit. This L Outfit is often regarded as the best of the largest Meccano
Meccano
outfits. In 1937 the alphabetical outfit series was replaced by a numeric series, 0 to 10, the L Outfit being replaced by the smaller No. 10 Outfit. Although reduced in size from the L Outfit, the No. 10 Outfit became Meccano's flagship set and remained relatively unchanged until it was discontinued a half-century later in 1992. Accessory sets were retained, numbered 1A to 9A, that converted a set to the next in the series (for example, accessory set 6A would convert a No. 6 set to a No. 7 set). As had been the case from early days, Meccano Ltd
Meccano Ltd
would also supply individual Meccano parts to complement existing sets. World War II interrupted the production of Meccano
Meccano
in England when the Binns Road factory converted to manufacturing for the war effort. The Korean War
Korean War
in 1950 also disrupted production due to a metal shortage and it was not until the mid-1950s that Meccano
Meccano
production returned to normal with new parts being added to all the sets. In 1955 outfits 00 to 10 as well as conversion sets 00A to 9A were available.[4] In 1961 a Mechanisms Outfit and a Gears Outfit were added to the range,[5] and in 1962 outfit 00 was withdrawn.[6] Takeovers[edit]

1970s No. 2 Meccano
Meccano
set.

In the early 1960s Meccano Ltd
Meccano Ltd
experienced financial problems and was purchased by Lines Bros Ltd
Lines Bros Ltd
(who operated under the brand name "Tri-ang") in 1964. In an attempt to redefine Meccano's image, the colour scheme was changed again, this time to yellow and black plates, with silver strips and girders. The silver was soon replaced by zinc in 1967 when it was found that the silver pieces marked easily. The colours of yellow and black were chosen because they were the colours typically used by most large construction vehicles of the day. In 1970 electronic parts were introduced, and the current black-coloured plates were changed to blue. The range of sets was reduced by one with the deletion of the old No. 9 set and the renumbering of the old No. 0 to 8 sets to No. 1 to 9. The No. 10 set remained unchanged.[7] Lines Brothers went into voluntary liquidation in 1971 and Airfix Industries purchased the Meccano
Meccano
business in the UK and General Mills of the US purchased the French business. The French company was known as Miro Meccano. In 1973 outfits 1 to 10 were still available, but new kits were added: Army Multikit, Highway Multikit, Plastic Meccano, Pocket Meccano
Meccano
and two Clock Kits.[8] In 1978 the range of Meccano
Meccano
sets was further reduced and changed with the replacement of the No. 2 to 8 sets by six completely new sets, labelled A and 1 to 5. The old No. 9 and 10 sets were left largely unchanged. While some Airfix
Airfix
divisions were profitable, particularly their model kits, they needed to save money. With unions threatening all out industrial action if there were any job losses, Airfix
Airfix
shut down the Binns Road factory,[9] bringing to an end the manufacture of Meccano
Meccano
in England. Meccano
Meccano
still continued to be manufactured in France, as the British and French businesses had different owners. Meccano
Meccano
France
France
made the famous dark blue and red Construction
Construction
SET 1 to SET 10 Boxes Series until the early 1990s. Ownership summary

Period Ownership Comments

1901–1908 Frank Hornby
Frank Hornby
(inventor) and David Elliott (financier) Branded as Mechanics Made Easy

1908–1936 Meccano
Meccano
Ltd, UK. 100% owned by Frank Hornby Frank Hornby
Frank Hornby
bought David Elliott out and rebranded the business.

1936–1964 Meccano
Meccano
Ltd, UK. 100% owned by Frank Hornby's family Frank Hornby
Frank Hornby
died in 1936

1964–1971 Lines Bros Ltd, UK (quoted on London Stock Exchange) Argentinian rights licensed to Exacto in 1966

1971–1980 Airfix
Airfix
Product Ltd, UK (quoted on London Stock Exchange) Commonwealth rights only

1971–1980 General Mills
General Mills
Inc, USA (quoted on New York Stock Exchange) Rest of world rights except Argentina

1981–1985 General Mills
General Mills
Inc, USA (quoted on New York Stock Exchange Global rights except Argentina

1985–1989 Meccano
Meccano
SN, France
France
(Owned by Marc Redibo) Revoked Argentinian licence to secure global rights

1989–2000 Meccano
Meccano
SN, France
France
(Owned by Dominique Duvauchelle)

2000–2007 Meccano
Meccano
SN, France
France
(Owned 51% by Dominique Duvauchelle and 49% by Nikko Toys of Japan) Nikko distributed Meccano
Meccano
outside France
France
during this period.

2007–2013 Meccano
Meccano
SN, France
France
(Owned 51% Ingroup and 49% by 21 Centrale Partners[10]) 21 Centrale Partners: Owned by the Benetton family. Ingroup: Owned by the Inberg family who ran Meccano.

2013– Spin Master
Spin Master
Ltd, Canada (Quoted on Toronto Stock Exchange from 2015) Design and marketing in US and Canada.

New versions[edit] In 1981, General Mills
General Mills
bought up Airfix
Airfix
Products and with it what was left of Meccano Ltd
Meccano Ltd
UK, giving it complete control of the Meccano franchise. All the existing Meccano
Meccano
sets were scrapped and a totally new range of sets were designed for production in Calais, France called " Meccano
Meccano
Junior". These new sets included many plastic parts and could only build small models.

Meccano
Meccano
model motorcycle built with the Meccano
Meccano
Motion System 50 set.

In 1985 General Mills
General Mills
left the toy business completely, selling off their toy divisions. Meccano
Meccano
was sold out to a French accountant, Marc Rebibo, and, once again, all existing Meccano
Meccano
sets were scrapped. The " Meccano
Meccano
Junior" sets were replaced with three "Premier Meccano" sets and two "Motor" sets (including a six-speed motor) were introduced. Due to high demand, the old Meccano
Meccano
No.1 to No.10 construction sets from 1981 were re-introduced. In 1989 Marc Rebibo sold what remained of Meccano
Meccano
to Dominique Duvauchelle. Allen head zinc plated steel bolts replaced the original slot-headed brass-plated bolts and the "Plastic Meccano
Meccano
Junior" sets were brought back. With younger model builders in mind, many theme sets were also introduced, including the " Construction
Construction
and Agricultural" 200-Series & 300-Series, the "Space" 100-Series and the "Dynamic" 400-Series minisets. The old-style No. 5 to 10 sets remained in production until 1992. In 1994 additional theme sets were introduced and a pull-back friction motor was added to the Plastic Meccano
Meccano
System. In 1996 "Action Control" sets with infrared controls were added and 1999 saw the introduction of a "Motion System" range of sets that changed the look of Meccano
Meccano
completely. There were six one-model sets, two five-model sets, and five new sets numbered 10 to 50, the 20 to 50 sets being motorized. A complete change from the normal practice (sticking to a single majority colour) was that every set had its own colour scheme, often in bright neon colours. In 2000 Nikko, a Japanese toy manufacturer, purchased 49 per cent of Meccano
Meccano
and took on its marketing internationally through its established channels for radio-controlled toys. Development and design remained with Meccano
Meccano
SN, based in Calais, France. Nikko launched a successful range of new sets, including "Crazy Inventors" and the "Future Master" range. Significantly, Nikko radio control and programmable electronics started to appear in the System. However, under commercial pressure, Nikko sold its interest in the Meccano
Meccano
name and System back to Meccano
Meccano
SN, the French parent company, in August 2007. Meccano
Meccano
is now manufactured in France
France
and China.[11] During 2013 the Meccano
Meccano
brand was acquired in its entirety by the Canadian toy company Spin Master.[12] Meccano
Meccano
today is very different from its heyday in the 1930s to 1950s. The target market of youngsters has not changed significantly; however, the mass market, instant-appeal approach does not always satisfy serious Meccano
Meccano
enthusiasts. For example, it is often difficult to obtain original spares. Many parts were introduced since the Liverpool
Liverpool
factory closed under the French-and-Japanese running of the company. These included plastic parts, can motors, and modern battery holders. Metal
Metal
became an expensive raw material to work with and many of the metal parts were replaced with plastic parts. Allen (hex-headed) zinc electroplated steel bolts replaced the slotted bolts. Some Meccano
Meccano
modellers enthusiastically embrace the changes and new parts. However, the "purists" look down on these new parts. Some enthusiasts set self-imposed limits on using only parts deemed to be traditional and steer clear of those parts viewed as “not truly Meccano”.[citation needed] Original specialist parts, such as very long (up to 2 foot) angle girders, loom shuttles, printing rollers, etc. often required for large Super Models are becoming more difficult to obtain. There are replica manufacturers who satisfy the needs of enthusiasts who wish to build models requiring these parts. What has remained the same during all these years is the Imperial ½ inch perforation spacing and the 5/32 inch whitworth thread for nuts and bolts (and other threaded parts). These unchanged standards and complete interchangeability of parts results in many modern models functioning perfectly with Meccano
Meccano
components that are more than 100 years old and vice versa. Indeed, old and new parts can be intermixed with impunity, the only problem being the odd mixture of colour schemes. Further developments[edit] In 2013, Meccano
Meccano
launched " Meccano
Meccano
Evolution", a new "back to basics" iteration of Meccano, which allowed smaller and more detailed models to be built using simpler and more "functional" parts than were supplied in previous "new Meccano" sets. Meccano
Meccano
Evolution has narrower strips, with holes spaced at twice the density of the original system. In late 2013, the company also opened a public " Meccano
Meccano
Lab" play space and R&D centre, in Calais, France.[13][14] In 2015 Spin Master
Spin Master
launched Meccanoids, Meccano
Meccano
modular robots.[15][16][17] Motors[edit] The current range of Meccano
Meccano
electric motors are small DC types designed to run on domestic batteries. These are low-torque high-speed "can" motors. These are inexpensive and suitable for small models that a child might construct from the standard range of sets. Adult enthusiasts tend to use a wider range of high-performance motors that are better suited to powering large models. During Meccano's heyday, the electric motors available were universal wound (for use on DC or AC supplies) that were called the MECCANO MOTOR M-Series in the 1970s; these electric motors ranged from 3 volt to the E20R 20 volt Electric Reversible Motor depending on the motor model. They became better known as the M1, M3 and M5 Electric Motors. Particularly well known were the E020, E20R and E15R universal motors, issued after the Second World War. These could be run from a mains Meccano
Meccano
Transformer No.T20 1 AMP 20 Volts Set or, in the case of the E15R, a 12 V car battery. Earlier there had been short-lived (and potentially lethal) mains motors designed for DC mains with a domestic lightbulb in series to drop the voltage, followed by motors of the post-War pattern but wound for 4.5 or 6 V DC and suited to lead/acid accumulator power. These, as well as the latter accumulator are now rare if in good condition.

A Mamod
Mamod
made Meccano
Meccano
steam engine, 1965–1979.

For many years, live steam engines were made and sold under the Meccano
Meccano
brand, although they were not made by Meccano. Earlier examples were just vertical steam engines, typical of the time, sold under the Meccano
Meccano
name. The first to be specially designed for Meccano was introduced in 1929. This was a vertically boilered engine in a chassis designed to facilitate it being integrated into Meccano models. From 1965 to 1976, Mamod
Mamod
made a steam engine for Meccano, the design of which was based on the 1929 version, with a similar chassis but using a standard Mamod
Mamod
horizontal boiler and engine parts. The model had no official model number, being known simply as the Meccano steam engine. However, it has since become generally known as the MEC1. Even after it was no longer being sold under the Meccano
Meccano
name, Mamod
Mamod
continued to manufacture the same model (with minor differences) until 1985, under their own name with the model number SP3. Compatible kits[edit] Some model construction kits are compatible with Meccano. One example is the Swiss brand Stokys (de), which has been manufactured since 1941. Their elements are mainly made of thick stable metal in order to fit to the general approach of Swiss Quality. Other examples are Exacto and Metallus (construction kits) (de). Meccano
Meccano
has always had several compatible products on the market (such as X-Series Meccano, Plastic Meccano, Mogul Toys and Speed-Play). In 2007, a plastic robot named "Spykee" arrived. The robot is controlled using a WiFi interface and has a webcam but cannot climb stairs as is sometimes claimed. It can also be controlled over the Internet and configured as a security camera. The robot is primarily packaged in a single plastic base component and comprises additional bolt-on plastic parts that are present for aesthetic purposes only (i.e. the arms do not function). The robot base does include some standard Meccano
Meccano
hole spacing. By September 2008, the Spykee robot family numbers five, with each robot having different capabilities. Since the 1920s, construction kits compatible with Meccano
Meccano
were manufactured in the Soviet Union.[citation needed] They did not have a uniform colour scheme, parts could be in any color. Usually the strips and girders were not painted, and the plates could be either unpainted or painted in red, yellow, and blue. In the 1970s, plastic parts were introduced. The "Krugozor" (English: "Outlook"; Russian: "Кругозор") plant in Moscow produced some sets which included electrical motors and gears. The largest set of the 1970s–1980s was called "Yunost-3" (Russian: "Юность-3") and contained about 200 parts. The "Yunost" ("Adolescence") series were practically identical to Meccano
Meccano
sets with the same number,[citation needed] but there is no evidence of larger sets (equivalent to No. 4 or larger) being produced. There were instructions for building 44 models. Today, many similar kits, mostly Russian and Chinese-produced, are being sold in Russia.[citation needed] Unlike the Czech Merkur sets, the Soviet ones used mixed Metric and Imperial measurements despite the latter having been abandoned in Russia since the 1920s. The spacing between holes was 12.7 mm, or 1/2 inch, and the hole diameter was 4.3 mm, or 1/6 inch, but the nuts and bolts included were Metric. Capabilities[edit]

Meccano
Meccano
model of a steam shovel excavator powered by a restored 1929 Meccano
Meccano
steam engine. It was built by Chris Els in 2004.

With a Meccano
Meccano
set there was a wide range of models that could be built. Here are the models for which instructions were given in the largest set of the late 1950s, the "Outfit 10":

"Railway Service Crane", "Sports Motor Car", "Coal Tipper", "Cargo Ship", "Double Decker Bus", "Lifting Shovel", "Blocksetting Crane", "Beam Bridge", "Dumper Truck", "Automatic Gantry Crane", "Automatic Snow Loader", "4-4-0 Passenger Locomotive"

On top of these there were instruction leaflets available for:

"Combine Harvester", "The Eiffel Tower", "Showman’s Traction Engine", "Twin-Cylinder Motor Cycle Engine", "Trench Digger", "Bottom Dump Truck", "Road Surfacing Machine", "Mechanical Loading Shovel"

It has been said that the instructions sometimes contained deliberate errors to challenge the ingenuity of its users.[18] However, those involved in their production maintain such errors were accidental, and are no more common than the unintentional errors in other modelling plans.[citation needed] Since this time, enthusiasts such as G. Maurice Morris and MW Models have taken to publishing their own model plans, ranging from small models up to large and complex machines.

MOTAT's Meccano
Meccano
differential analyser in use at the Cambridge University Mathematics Laboratory, c. 1937. The person on the right is Dr. Maurice Wilkes, who was in charge of it at the time.

In 1934, Meccano
Meccano
began to be used in the construction of differential analysers, a type of analogue computer used to solve differential equations which has long since become obsolete. Though invented on paper in the 19th century, the first such machine had only been built in 1931, and normally they would be built by specialist manufacturers, at great cost.[19] For example, in 1947, UCLA in the US installed a differential analyser built for them by General Electric
General Electric
at a cost of $125,000.[20] However, a "proof of concept" model of a differential analyser which made extensive use of Meccano
Meccano
parts was built at Manchester University, UK, in 1934, by Douglas Hartree
Douglas Hartree
and Arthur Porter: use of Meccano
Meccano
meant that the machine was cheap to build, and it proved "accurate enough for the solution of many scientific problems".[21] This machine is now in the Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, England. A similar machine built by J.B. Bratt at Cambridge University in 1935 is now in the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) collection in Auckland, New Zealand.[21] A memorandum written for the British military's Armament Research Department in 1944 describes how this same machine was modified during World War II for improved reliability and enhanced capability, and identifies its wartime applications as including research on the flow of heat, explosive detonations, and simulations of transmission lines.[22] After a lengthy period of neglect, a restoration effort began in 2003, and a successful "full run through" of this machine was completed on 16 December 2008.[21] In 2005, Tim Robinson displayed his own Meccano
Meccano
differential analyser at the Computer History Museum, at Mountain View, California, US, and Robinson has also built and exhibited two models of Charles Babbage's difference engine, also using Meccano.[23] In 1990 Meccano
Meccano
S.A. built a giant Ferris wheel
Ferris wheel
in France. It was modelled after the original 1893 Ferris Wheel
Wheel
built by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. at the World's Columbian Exposition
World's Columbian Exposition
at Chicago and was shipped to the United States to promote "Erector Meccano" after Meccano
Meccano
S.A. had bought out the "Erector" trade name and began selling Meccano
Meccano
sets in the U.S. It went on display in New York City after which it was purchased by Ripley's Believe It or Not! and put on display in their St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine, Florida
museum. The model, the largest in size at the time, is 6.5 metres (21.3 ft) high, weighs 544 kilograms (1,200 pounds), was made from 19,507 pieces, 50,560 nuts and bolts, and took 1,239 hours to construct.[24] At this mass and size, some deviation from Meccano-only parts was a necessity, to prevent it collapsing (mainly in the structural spokes). The largest model by mass would certainly be in contention but some models have topped 600 kg.[citation needed] A recent large model, weighing approximately 500 kg and 23 m long, was built in September 2009 by TV presenter James May
James May
and a team of volunteers from the engineering department of the University of Liverpool, who created a Meccano
Meccano
bridge spanning the Leeds and Liverpool
Liverpool
Canal in Liverpool. As with other models of this size and weight some non- Meccano
Meccano
parts were used. It was built from "[about] 100,000 pieces of real Meccano", taking 1,100 hours, and consisted of a 9-metre (29.5 ft) "swing bridge" section, and a 12-metre (39.4 ft) "drawbridge" section.[25][26] A contender for the largest model on record was built in 2014 by Graham Shepherd of Grahamstown, South Africa. The fully motorized Krupp 288 Bucket Wheel Excavator (as used on large opencast mining) is complete with auxiliary conveyors. Construction
Construction
utilised Meccano
Meccano
parts as well as replica and strengthened parts (thickened profile plates and high tensile bolts in areas carrying large loads). Shepherd reports the model as being 1,335 kilograms (2,943 pounds) in mass and 17 ft tall. It required substantial timber support frames to facilitate final assembly.[27] Meccano
Meccano
remains a very versatile constructional medium. Almost any mechanical device can be built with it, from structures, to complex working cranes, automatic gearboxes or clocks. Meccano
Meccano
is frequently used to prototype new ideas and inventions. Model realisation using Meccano
Meccano
is limited mainly by the imagination and ingenuity of the builder. Popularity[edit]

Meccano
Meccano
Centennial poster and sticker issued in 2001 to celebrate one hundred years of Meccano, showing the Meccano
Meccano
blocksetting crane with a portrait of Frank Hornby, Meccano's inventor.

Frank Hornby
Frank Hornby
launched the Meccano
Meccano
Guild in 1919, to encourage boys of all ages—as well as early clubs—to become part of a central organisation, which oversaw club formation, and set guidelines for club proceedings. The Meccano Magazine
Meccano Magazine
was used as a means to keep Guild clubs informed of each other's activities (as well as encourage the sales of Meccano). The International Society of Meccanomen was founded in 1989 in England, nine years after the Liverpool
Liverpool
factory closed. This organisation is considered the modern replacement of the Guild system and now has some 600 members in over 30 countries. Today, over a hundred years since its inception, there are thousands of Meccano
Meccano
enthusiasts worldwide, many clubs and hundreds of websites covering Meccano
Meccano
history, model building instructions and nostalgia. Individuals and companies worldwide still manufacture parts, some long out of production. There are annual Meccano
Meccano
exhibitions around the world, notably in France
France
(at a different venue around May each year) and at Skegness
Skegness
in England (around July every year). Many notable shows also take place in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand each year to name a few. Publications devoted fully or in part to Meccano
Meccano
included Meccano Magazine from 1916 to 1981, and numerous Special
Special
Model Leaflets aimed at serious enthusiasts, on how to construct very large, complex models and machines. Some models use many more parts than an entire Set 10. The original large models from the 1930s model leaflets are called the Meccano
Meccano
Super Models, often popular at Meccano
Meccano
and other model engineering exhibitions and sometimes used as nostalgic showpieces by retailers. Modern dedicated publications include: Constructor Quarterly, The International Meccanoman and the ModelPlans series of instructions. These feature large model instructions and ideas for enthusiasts. There are also a myriad of club-generated periodicals, featuring Meccano
Meccano
content and keeping enthusiasts in touch. Influence[edit]

Pierre Bastien
Pierre Bastien
with his instruments made from Meccano

The careers many people chose were influenced by their experience and knowledge gained from using the product.[28][29] Meccano
Meccano
is mentioned in the first chapter of Graham Greene's novel The Power and the Glory.[30] It also mentioned at some length in J. J. Connington's 1928 detective novel, Nemesis at Raynham Parva (U.S. title, Grim Vengeance, 1929).[31] Pierre Bastien
Pierre Bastien
is a French musical artist who has created a large collection of kinetic experimental musical instruments constructed with Meccano. In Sydney, Australia an overhead gantry with directional signs and traffic lights erected in 1962 gained the Meccano
Meccano
Set nickname.[32][33]

Liver bird
Liver bird
sculpted in Meccano
Meccano
at Liverpool
Liverpool
Shopping Park, on the site of the former Meccano
Meccano
factory on Binns Road

See also[edit]

80/20 Bayko Erector Set fischertechnik K'Nex Lego Technic Märklin Merkur Modular design Open-source robotics Steel
Steel
Tec Tetrix Robotics Kit

References[edit]

^ Roger Marriott (2012) Meccano, Shire Books, Colchester, UK ISBN 978-1-78200-113-3 ^ "Hornby's 1901 patent". Retrieved 17 July 2007.  ^ O'Shea, Patrick. "What is Meccano?". Johannesburg Meccano
Meccano
Hobbyists. Retrieved 17 July 2007.  ^ Instruktion för bygglåda Nr. 2 (in Swedish). Meccano
Meccano
Ltd. 1955.  ^ Meccano
Meccano
The Thrill of Build-It-Yourself. Meccano
Meccano
Ltd. 1961.  ^ Contents of Meccano
Meccano
outfits 1962. Meccano
Meccano
Ltd. 1962.  ^ Book of Models outfit 2. Meccano
Meccano
Ltd. 1971. [page needed] ^ Meccano
Meccano
sarjat ja uutuudet 1973 (outfits and novelties) (in Finnish). Helsinki, Finland: Ky Lelumyynti. 1973.  ^ Ward, Arthur, The Boys Book of Airfix ^ http://pdf.lincolninternational.com/Consumer/2013/Meccano_November2013.pdf ^ Meccano
Meccano
revives French production BBC News 24 December 2010. ^ Strauss, Marina (13 August 2013). " Spin Master
Spin Master
acquires iconic Meccano
Meccano
in bid to take on Lego". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 25 February 2014.  ^ Meccano
Meccano
ouvre les portes de son laboratoire expérimental le 6 novembre 2013 : Le Meccano
Meccano
Lab' Archived 6 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Meccano
Meccano
Fr. ^ Calais : Meccano
Meccano
Lab, pour les (grands) enfants adeptes de jeux de construction L Voix du Nord , 6 November 2013 ^ "Introducing Meccanoid". Mecanno Maker System. Retrieved 12 January 2015.  ^ " Meccanoid G15KS".  ^ Poeter, Damon (6 January 2015). " Spin Master
Spin Master
Revives Meccano
Meccano
With 'Meccanoid' Robot Kit". PC Magazine. Retrieved 12 January 2015.  ^ "James May's Top Toys". 17 December 2008. UKTV. Dave.  Missing or empty series= (help) ^ Robinson, Tim (June 2005), "The Meccano Set
Meccano Set
Computers A history of differential analyzers made from children's toys", IEEE Control Systems Magazine, 25 (3): 74–83, doi:10.1109/MCS.2005.1432602 . ^ "UCLA's Bush Analyzer Retires to Smithsonian" (Google News). Computerworld. 9 January 1978. Retrieved 22 July 2010.  ^ a b c "Differential Analyser". Auckland
Auckland
Meccano
Meccano
Guild]. Retrieved 21 July 2010.  ^ Cairns, W. J., Crank, J., & Lloyd, E. C. Some Improvements in the Construction
Construction
of a Small Scale Differential Analyser and a Review of Recent Applications, Armament Research Department Theoretical Research Memo. No. 27/44, 1944 (see Robinson, Tim (7 June 2008). "Bibliography". Tim Robinson's Meccano
Meccano
Computing Machinery web site. Retrieved 26 July 2010. ). The memorandum is now in The National Archives, UK: "Piece reference DEFE 15/751". The National Archives. Retrieved 26 July 2010.  For the "Armament Research Department", see Fort Halstead, and cf. the entry for 1944 in "MoD History of Innovation" (pdf). Ploughshare Innovations Ltd. Retrieved 26 July 2010.  It has been said that this machine was used in preparation for Operation Chastise, otherwise known as the "Dam Busters raid" (e.g. in O’Neill, Rob (16 July 2007). " Meccano
Meccano
'Dam Busters' computer stars at MOTAT". Computerworld. Archived from the original on 17 August 2007. Retrieved 17 July 2007. ), but see Irwin, William (July 2009). "The Differential Analyser Explained". Auckland
Auckland
Meccano Guild. Retrieved 21 July 2010. It is rumoured that a differential analyser was used in the development of the "bouncing bomb" by Barnes Wallis for the "Dam Busters" attack on the Ruhr valley hydroelectric dams in WW2. This was first mentioned in MOTAT
MOTAT
literature in 1973. However after extensive enquiries and literature searches over the last few years, no evidence can be found that the [differential analyser held by MOTAT], nor any other differential analyser, was used for this purpose. Considering the secrecy surrounding war time activities at the time it could still be possible, but most people from that era are now deceased. Two remaining personalities still alive from that era were consulted, namely Arthur Porter and Maurice Wilkes, but neither could substantiate the rumour  ^ Robinson, Tim, Tim Robinson's Differential Analyzer (10 February 2005), Robinson's Difference Engine #1 (3 April 2006), Robinson's Difference Engine #2 (7 May 2006). Tim Robinson's Meccano
Meccano
Computing Machinery web site. Retrieved 29 July 2010. ^ "Greatest Meccano
Meccano
Models of the Twentieth Century". The New Zealand Federation of Meccano
Meccano
Modellers. Retrieved 17 July 2007.  ^ " Meccano
Meccano
bridge challenge". 8 August 2009. Archived from the original on 24 August 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2013.  ^ "May builds Meccano
Meccano
canal bridge". BBC News. 8 August 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2010.  See James May's Toy Stories. ^ bagger288meccano.blogspot.com, 14 October 2014 ^ "Harry Kroto Nobel Prize autobiography". Retrieved 17 July 2007.  ^ " Meccano Magazine
Meccano Magazine
story". Culture Shock. Retrieved 5 January 2010.  ^ Greene, Graham (2003) [1940]. The Power and the Glory. Penguin Classics. p. 12. ISBN 0-14-243730-1.  ^ Connington, J. J. (30 November 2012). Nemesis at Raynham Parva. Orion. ISBN 978-1-4719-0600-8.  ^ Consultation on the future of the Meccano Set
Meccano Set
Archived 20 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Roads & Maritime Services ^ Meccano
Meccano
set future on hold Daily Telegraph 9 June 2015

Further reading[edit]

Jim Gamble and Bert Love (1986), The Meccano
Meccano
System, London: New Cavendish Books. ISBN 0-904568-36-9.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Meccano.

Official Meccano
Meccano
website "Frank Hornby: The Boy Who Made $1,000,000 With a Toy" – 1915 book online London Meccano
Meccano
Club – Guide to London's Meccano
Meccano
clubs and events Classic M

.