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A Bit of History about Meccano
First released in 1898, the original Meccano sets had metal and plastic pieces for plates, rods and gears used for building structures and machines. A man named Frank Hornby wanted to give curious kids in England the opportunity to explore the principles of mechanical engineering. With the use of bolts and metal nuts, he was able to provide young thinkers the tools to build functioning machines.
“Mechanics Made Easy” was the name given to the toy line that was meant to educate kids about mechanical engineering. The toy line featured levers, pulleys, and all sorts of simple yet useful mechanical components; they were made to help children build models that could function and replicate real machines utilised by people every day.
The toys quickly grew in popularity, which led Hornby to set up a manufacturing shop in Liverpool. He changed the name to “Meccano,” trademarked it, and watched as people buy and play with his Meccano toys. While early Meccano sets were kind of flimsy, Hornby learned many innovative metalworking techniques as the years progressed, and Meccano sets started to become sturdier and able to withstand more extreme usage.
Meccano reached peak popularity in the 1930s. Brand new sets were being released with more parts than ever, and even though production had to be shut down during WWII, toy sales were still soaring.
Meccano Sets of Today
While the original Meccano sets were designed for older children, it did not prevent grownups from buying this brand of toys. Hobbyists and collectors are enjoying the excitement of building makeshift yet fully functional machines.
Meccano also released the “Meccano Kids Play” series which was aimed to attract younger-aged kids. The series features oversized plastic parts to prevent little children from swallowing the pieces. It also has a little plastic screwdriver so kids can put together the parts. Most Meccano Kids Play products are cars, trucks, and other vehicles – and only minor assembly is required. The Meccano Kids Play series will give little children the sense of satisfaction and learning the same way older kids experience with their more complex Meccano sets.
All modern-day Meccano sets feature 4mm holes at ½ inch spacing so that every part is interchangeable. The best thing about Meccano nowadays is that it can essentially be used for small scale mechanical engineering projects. It teaches children research, engineering, problem-solving, and mathematical skills. Many kids who have grown up already still love to play with the sets that allow them to build simple to complex machinery.
Ready to invent and discover the world?
You can do so with Meccano toys and sets! Meccano has a cult following among toy hobbyists due to the time, patience, and effort it requires to construct the model kits. It is great for exercising the mind, not to mention the gratification that comes after you have completed a project. Check out these popular ranges: