Meccano

Hornby Model Construction System in 1901

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Meccano

Meccano is a “model construction system” that is made up of recyclable material such as plates, axles and gears, strips of metal, and joining materials. These materials are useful in building models and mechanical devices.

The idea was conceived by Frank Hornby from England in 1901. These models were licensed for production by Meccano limited after Frank Hornby took out patents for these systems. Initially, the system was referred to as “Mechanics Made Easy” but later on it was changed to its current name, Meccano.

The founder partnered with an entrepreneur called David Elliot who injected venture capitals into the projects after which they begun producing sets. The prototypes comprised of fifteen separate pieces and they were basically made from tin plate. Because the idea of developing models using strips and plates was new, the company grew steadily with time.

A few years later the company produced an array of different sets and pieces. With rapid growth, the owners set up a new factory on Duke Street, UK. In addition, the company bought new equipment and hired many employees.

Later on in 1908, Frank Hornby bought out his partners share in the company and proceeded to change the brand name of his sets to Meccano. The company flourished and had export markets in North America, South Pacific and the British Commonwealth.

Fourteen years later, “Meccano in Colors” was launched. The components of the company were changed to red, green, and bass. A decade later, the colors were changed in the UK. In spite of this, the production of earlier sets continued for export.

After the demise of Frank Hornby, his relatives took over the management of the company but during WW2 production at the factory was stopped for sometime. When the war intensified, production was shifted from Meccano systems to war materials. In the following years the company was bought, ownership of the company has changed several times.

Currently, Meccano has since been revived and it has an impressive array of products. Today it has resurged like the old system that propelled it to fame. This company continually seeks to improve its system through innovation and adopting new technologies. It has a subsidiary company going by the brand name Erector which serves the American market. It has branches in many countries in Europe. The 100th anniversary of the company was marked in 2001, with celebrations being staged at different centers worldwide.

Play Sets

A new version based on earlier construction systems which comprised of plastic parts was developed in 1991 for children who were 4 years old and over. Some of its current play sets are construction tools, rescue team, multi models, design, and xtreme rally toys. In 2006, the company introduced the pre-school toy line to cater for the needs of young children. These toys were basically systems that were made of plastic and they were, therefore, easy to use. In the year 2008, the company once again launched a line of robot like products called “Spykee”. These systems were controlled remotely from a computer through Wi-Fi or from anywhere with internet. Price Guide Generally, for a comprehensive guide to a list of Meccano products and their corresponding prices, you can visit the online auction site e-bay or the respective country website.

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