Meccano

Updated 16 October 2012.

What is Meccano ?

The Meccano System

Meccano was invented by Frank Hornby in 1901. It is a system of metal construction where standardized, preformed, re-usable perforated parts can be attached to each other. Structures and mechanisms can be built. The basic tools are a screwdriver and spanner. No special workshop machinery is required. The Meccano System consists of a wide selection of strips, girders, wheels, rods, brackets, pulleys, sprockets and gears, electrical parts, motors, and a large range of specialized parts. The standard hole spacing is ½” or 12.7 mm. The standard thread is 5/32″ Whitworth, 32 TPI. The diameter of axle rods is 8 SWG or 0.160″ or 4.04 mm. Gears are 38 DP i.e. 38 teeth per 1″ diameter. The name “Meccano” was registered by Frank Hornby on 14th September 1907 at the Design Registry of the UK Patent Office. The registered name is now owned by Meccano SA, Avenue de Saint Exupery, 62100 Calais, France. The name Meccano has become a household word. The majority of common mechanisms and structures can be constructed, often with a very high degree of precision. Meccano clubs exist in many parts of the world which hold regular Meccano exhibitions. Meccano can also be used in schools and universities to demonstrate mechanical and engineering principles.

The above description of Meccano is reproduced, with permission,  from the website of the International Society of Meccanomen (ISM). To visit the website point to International Society of Meccanomen under Blogroll and click on ther link in the preview.

The ‘Handy Boy’s Book’, published ca. 1920, includes a chapter on mechanical toys, concentrating on Meccano. The opening paragraph of the chap[ter is as follows.

‘In recent times several mechanical toys have been introduced – mostly of metal but many of wood. These consist of  standardised parts that can be joined to represent articles in common use, such as trucks etc, but also working models, such as windmills, roundabouts, etc. It is convenient to describe these as toys, but really they are very much more than toys. No boy could use a Meccano (one of the first of this class of “toy”) habitually without acquiring an accurate knowledge of the principles of practical or applied mechanics in general and of engineering in particular. Moreover,since it is learned by means of graduated outfits proceeding from the simple to the intricate – and every outfit is exhaustive – the knowledge acquired can seldom – if ever, be forgotten. Another advantage of this step-by-step method is that no excessive demand is made upon the purse, while monotony is rendered impossible by the admirably varied selection of subjects in every outfit. Both of these advantages can be readily illustrated.’

In the 1950s I made many Meccano models, but only have photographs of a few of them. In 2005, while in Turin, Italy, I noticed some large Meccano sets for sale in a shop, and this revived my interest. I bought some Meccano and later joined ISM as ISM 954.

Some of my models are described briefly. A few models built using other construction systems are included. To view models click on a sub page, then follow a link. For Constructo and Eitech models see the Constructo and Eitech page.

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