Introduction to Meccano Collector/Historian Series

by William Irwin - Auckland, New Zealand

I recently visited a Meccano enthusiast who is a fairly prolific model builder for his own pleasure and also for the occasional exhibition. After showing me his latest Meccano creations he led me into a back room with the words “I AM NOT REALLY A COLLECTOR but I have this red/green set 9 in wooden box ….”, and he proceeded to show me a rare gem which enthusiasts throughout the world would pay their eye teeth for (or more if it was advertised on E-Bay). It was naturally not for sale.

I am sure that, like the enthusiast above, most Meccanomen/women are closet collectors of one sort or another and only a few of us are prepared to admit it. Collecting Meccano depends on one’s knowledge of Meccano history. The two subjects are intertwined. Most of us have acquired Meccano for model building purposes, and in the process have come across old sets, parts or literature from yesteryear and wondered how they fitted in to the overall Meccano picture. Thus another collector/historian is born, closet or otherwise!

Meccano history has been very well covered in literature in the past few decades. An excellent Brief History of English Meccano 1901-1981 by Graham Jost is included as the first item in this series as an introduction, followed by a few pertinent notes by Geoff Wright on Meccano Colour Schemes. Another starting point for newcomers must be the Hornby Companion Series volumes 1 to 8 published by New Cavendish books, especially volume 6, The Meccano System by Bert Love and Jim Gamble. A very good chronology and description of Meccano sets, which includes contents lists, is: Meccano The First Century, Books One to Three, by John Lavers, published by MW Models as Datafiles 4.1 to 4.3. Several web sites covering specific periods of Meccano history are now also springing up, the first one being the Meccano Light Red/Green Period web site by Melvyn Wright at

The ISM Collector Historian Series is a forum for the Meccano collector/historian to showcase interesting and unusual Meccano items of information gathered by them either by accident or diligent research, which has hitherto been unknown, or not easily accessible to the average Meccano enthusiast. Should you have anything to contribute to this series please contact William Irwin at or Michael Adler at

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