1928-1930 Special Inventor’s Set

by Greg Rahn

The late 20’s was a time of expansion of the Meccano system that was unmatched before and certainly after!
A great many parts were added to the range. These included constructional parts, gears and a number of specialty parts that more than one purpose for, could rarely be found. The great majority of these parts were introduced in 1927 and 1928.
A lot of these parts appeared too late to be included in any of the larger sets of the time. It is a pity that some of them were destined to be only available as spare parts, never making it to a set. This caused them to have little demand and ultimately spelled their demise in the future. An attempt was made in 1928 to showcase some of these more exotic parts. This was a stopgap measure to make up for their missing inclusion in the regular range of sets. Some of these new parts did, however, make it into the mainstream by 1929.
The set designed as the vehicle for their introduction was called the Special Inventor’s Set. (see set manual ad)

It was advertised in the set manuals of the time and in Meccano Magazine.
The advertising 1st appeared in the 1929 Book of New Models. (see book of new models ad)

The set contained:

4 of 19b-3 pulley -dark red- double tapped 1 of 157-fan-dark red
4 of 142b-3 tyre-dunlop rubber 1 set of 30a/c-bevel gears-brass-marked with meccano
1 of 138a- ship's funnel-red&black c/w steam pipe 1 of 168-ball thrust bearing-3 pieces complete- medium green
1 of 160- channel bearing-dark red 1 of 151-single sheave pulley block- green-no tab ( grey w/tab in 1929)
4 of 20b-3/4" flanged wheel 1 of 152-double sheave pulley block- green-no tab ( grey w/tab in 1929)
1 of 165- swivel bearing-Meccano marking on boss 1 of 159-circular saw
1 of 166- end bearing- Meccano marking on boss 2 of 154a-corner angle bracket-right-nickel
1 of 116a- small fork piece- Meccano marking on boss 2 of 154b-corner angle bracket-left -nickel
1 of 150 -crane grab-black 1 of 26a-19 tooth-1/2" x 1/2" pinion-marked with meccano
1 of 62b- double arm crank-dark green 4 of 89a-3" stepped curved strip-dark green
4 of 50a-slide piece c/w boss-brass

A set came to this Author in the fall of 1999.
It was part of a lot bought in Western Canada.
The lot contained a late 20’s #4 set, a 1929 dark red long side plate motor
and the Special Inventor’s set pictured here (see 1929 special inventor’s set pic)

The set was nearly complete. The pulley blocks were missing.
The blocks were changed/improved in 1929 adding the tab and color changing to grey.
It is not certain that these grey ones were included in the set or not. It is likely they were.
The ones pictured here are thelater grey ones.
One unusual feature of this particular set was the fact an error part was included.
Note the missing hole in the #30a bevel gear!
There are some published lists of the contents of the Special Inventor’s Set but the author
doubts it was compiled with the aid of an actual genuine set.
Errors in the contents list suggest a picture was used.
Mistakes in the list include the replacement of the 26a gear with a chimney adapter
and the number of #154’s and 89s’s.

Meccano, The First Century Book One, by John Lavers, Datafiles 4.1 from MW Models. - page 30

The set only lasted 2 years. It’s demise was announced in the May 1930 Meccano Magazine.
It failed to reach volume sales and didn’t warrant the expense of the special packaging.
The set today is very rare and even rarer to be still together after 70+ years!
The set pictured above is strung onto a repro stringing card for display in the author’s collection.
An original box is being sought but probably won’t be found. A repo box may have to do!

Greg Rahn

Cochrane, Alberta, Canada

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