Meccano dates back to 1901 when the small strips of metal and assorted bolts were packaged together by Frank Hornby and called Mechanics Made Easy.

Meccano drawing

Meccano drawing

Using standard interconnecting plates and only needing a screwdriver and spanner as tools complex mechanical devices could soon be constructed by most schoolboys.

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.

In September 1907, Hornby registered the Meccano trade mark, and in May 1908, he formed Meccano Ltd.

Meccano production was not interrupted by the 1st World War.

Meccano remains a very versatile constructional medium. Just about any mechanical device can be built with it, from structures, to complex working cranes, automatic gearboxes or extremely accurate clocks. Meccano is frequently used to prototype new ideas and inventions.

One of the lesser known facts about Meccano is it’s ability to solve mathematical problems. One example is the use of the bolted strips of metal as an analogue computer or differential analyser.

It is reported that the only original, complete Differential Analyser left in the world is the one that helped Barnes Wallis design his famous bouncing bombs. They were the ones used in the Dam Busters attack on German hydro electric dams, in the Ruhr Valley, during World War II.

The Printed Version of the Encyclopedia of Meccano Parts, EMP, consists of six volumes.  When stacked one upon the other, they make a pile four inches high.

Below is a video, on YouTube from the Meccano exhibition in New Zealand during 2007


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