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Meccano sets
Title : Meccano sets Meccano sets View More Images
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Format : Toy
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
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Description :

Various sets of Meccano containing struts, gear wheels, rubber tyres, pulleys, axles and including an electric motor, steam engine, magneto and Instruction books.

Meccano was a system developed in England by Frank Hornby in 1901. Inspired by a construction site he viewed from a train he developed a system of metal plates and strips pierced with even sized holes at half inch spacing. Initially marketed as 'Mechanics made easy', children could construct real working models in miniature with the sets. The only tools required were a small spanner and screwdriver.

'Meccano model making is the most fascinating of all hobbies, because it never becomes dull ... there is the fun of building a new model, and watching it take shape ... [then of] setting it to work just like the real structure it represented, by means of a Meccano Motor.' (Quoted in Jaffe, p. 113)

Hornby continued to develop his construction sets and in 1907 registered the name 'Meccano'. All sets were issued with an instruction manual which used correct technical language in order to educate young boys in engineering techniques. Hornby also issued Meccano magazine and established the Meccano Guild, in which members were identified with a triangular badge. Boys were encouraged to form clubs.

In 1964 Meccano was sold: competition from plastic construction sets and rising costs were factors. The company was bought by Lines Brothers, manufacturers of Triang, and after a number of further sell-ons was bought in August 2007 by Meccano SN, France.

Hornby's toy has inspired generations of boys and there are a number of collectors' clubs for Meccano.

Period : 1946-1979
Further reading :

Burton, Anthony. Children's pleasures: books, toys and games from the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood, London: V & A Publications, 1996

Jaffe, Deborah. The history of toys: from spinning tops to robots, Stroud [England]: Sutton, 2006

King, Constance Eileen. The encyclopedia of toys, Adelaide: Rigby, 1978

Love, Bert. The Meccano system and the special purpose Meccano sets, 1901-1979, London: New Cavendish Books, 1986, c1985

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