Meccano Colour Schemes.

by Geoff Wright

This article originally appeared on the Meccano List Server in response to numerous queries.

As far as I understand it, the position at Binns Road was:

1. Before 1926, the only coloured parts were Black 19a Spoked Wheels, Red 64 Ships Funnels, die cast 2" Pulley in Black & Black 3" Pulley with four spokes.

2. In 1926 a few parts were painted Light Red (e.g.Flanged Plates) and light Green (e.g.Braced Girders).

3. By 1928 most parts were painted Dark Red or Dark Green with some Parts in Grey (e.g. 169 Digger Buckets). Some Parts changed colours during the period (e.g. 133 Corner Brackets changed from Red to Green), some Grey Parts were in a very deep dark Grey (e.g. 163 Sleeve Pieces).

4. By the early 30s the shades of Red & Green had lightened somewhat.

5. By 1935 shades lightened still further to Medium Red & Medium Green, very close to post-war late 40s/early 50s. Parts of this period can be distinguished from postwar - they were stamped only "Meccano". Some Parts were Blue (e.g. 19b Pulleys and Sprockets). Braced Girders changed from Green to Red. Boiler had Green centre and Red ends. Some Pulleys appeared for a time Red with Green Rims. The funny Red & Green colours, sort of pastel shades, were used for example on (if my memory serves me) Eccentrics, Pulley Blocks, and Clockwork Motors, also X series Parts, for a while.

6. In late 1934 Blue & Gold was introduced, to last until the War (in the UK). In the late 30s some Parts changed from Gold to a Middle Red (e.g.Trunnions) and Tin Road Wheels changed from Gold with Red Rim to Red with White Rim. Great variation in shades of Blue, from lighter (e.g.Strip Plates) to very dark (e.g. Some flexible Plates - tin printed). Some Pulleys were seen for a time Red with Black Rims. Some export sets featured medium Green parts instead of Gold and/or medium Red Parts for Blue/Gold Plates. In early wartime Blue/Gold Plates lost their criss cross lines.

7. Postwar Production started in Medium Red & Medium Green - parts could be distinguished by being stamped "Meccano Made in England". Although the Green Parts were consistent, the Red shades could be rather variable. Pulleys and Sprockets were now in Matt Black. Boilers were all Red. Road Wheels changed to Red with Black Rim. A short run of these appeared with silver centres and black rims. Does anyone know when ?
During the Korean War all nickel parts became chemical black.

8. Late 50s and early 60s - new light shades of Red & Green. Red was consistent, but three distinct shades of Green have been seen. Some Strips and Brackets became nickel (e.g. 6A & 12A) Pulleys became medium Blue. Tyres changed from black to grey rubber. Road Wheels, first metal and then plastic were blue with light grey rim. Also seen were Orangey-Red 19a Spoked Wheels.

9. 1964 Complete change - Pale Yellow Plates, Silver Strips, Black Flanged & Plastic Plates. Road wheels Red with Grey Rim. Some Silver parts also seen in nickel (e.g.215) During this perion a few metal Flexible Plates appeared in Black - further details would be welcome.

10. Late 1960s, Silver Paint and nickel plating changed to Zinc Plating.

11. 1970 Black Parts changed to Medium Blue. Matt Black changed to shiny Black. Soon after, Grey Rubber Tyres changed to Black Neoprene. Corner Brackets 133 changed from Yellow to Zinc Plate. By this time Yellow Parts were not so pale. Introduction of "Multikit" Sets brought in many colour styles and variations not really relevant to this survey.

12. 1978 Total change. Strips etc. Dark Blue, Plates etc. Deep Yellow. Small Brackets etc. Brass Plated. Zinc and Black to be eliminated, but still turned up at times. Some parts were in both Dark Blue or Deep Yellow (e.g. 20A pulleys) Small Neoprene Tyres became light Grey. By 1979 Brass plating had been replaced by iridescent plating. Has anyone seen 162A Boiler Ends in 1978 colours?

Geoff Wright

Previous page