Meccano

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Meccano is a model construction system comprising re-usable metal strips, plates, angle girders, wheels, axles and gears, with nuts and bolts to connect the pieces. It enables the building of working models and mechanical devices.

Meccano was invented in 1901 in England by Frank Hornby and manufactured by the British company, Meccano Ltd, between 1908 and 1980. It is now manufactured in France and China. Currently sold "Erector Sets" are actually Meccano sets manufactured by Meccano S.N. of France, part of the Nikko Group of Japan.

Contents

History

The first Meccano sets

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.[1] 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 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 and went on sale across the world. In September 1907, Hornby registered the Meccano trade mark, and in May 1908, he formed Meccano Ltd. To keep pace with demand, a new Meccano factory was built in Binns Road, Liverpool in 1914, which became Meccano Ltd's headquarters for the next 60 years. Hornby also established Meccano factories in France, Spain and Argentina. The word "Meccano" was thought to have been derived from the phrase "Make and Know".[2]

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