The Unknown Meccano Outfits of 1928

by Tony Press - Melbourne, April 2001

Following the interest and excitement generated by the introduction of the 'new coloured' Meccano in 1926 and 1927, there was obviously a need to keep up customer enthusiasm and encourage the purchase of new Outfits.

In 1928 Binns Road introduced a series of greatly improved 'double value' Outfits with a full page advertisement on the back page of the September 1928 Meccano Magazine. This spread was repeated in November and December, no doubt to stimulate Christmas purchases.

  MM 1928 Back Page

These new larger Outfits were a great advance, with the introduction of a number of new parts, such as Boilers, Sleeve Pieces, Chimney Adaptors and many other small, useful items. There was also a great increase in Pulleys and Trunnions. A number of improved Models were added to the Manuals in these Outfits, utilizing many of the new and expanded parts.

On page 1039 of the December 1928 Meccano Magazine, four Meccano boys made the suggestion that Binns Road introduce a series of new ‘B’ Accessory Outfits, which would bring the old style Outfits up to date with the new ones. This suggestion was refused by Binns Road...."on account of the tremendous amount of additional work that would be involved".
Given the 'out of hand' dismissal of this suggestion made by the boys, it is strange that in fact such Accessory Outfits had already been introduced sometime during 1928.

              ‘B’ Accessory outfits No. 3 and No. 1    

I have acquired two of these 'B' Accessory Outfits, designated ‘Supplementary Parts For Outfit’ No 1 and No 3, each packed in a black covered box with an orange label printed in black. Both the labels are coded 728/2.5, with the outfit number printed on a circle of paper of the same colour as the label and stuck on. This would indicate that only 2,500 labels were printed and in turn that a total of only 2,500 'B' Accessory Outfits of all sizes were produced.

                           Supplementary parts for No. 3                     

               No. 3 Box contents
When found, the contents were missing from both boxes, but in my collection I had a very well cared for complete nickel 1924 No 3 Outfit which was stored in a nicely constructed home made box. Strangely, when found this Outfit included a number of painted parts and on checking it appeared that they were in fact the Supplementary Parts For Outfit No 3. These painted pieces looked incongruous with the nickel, especially the three red 3" Pulleys.

The contents for the various Supplementary Outfits were determined by subtracting the listed contents for the appropriate 1927 Outfit from that for 1928.

          Supplementary Parts for No. 1

                 No. 1 Box contents

These Supplementary Outfits are not often mentioned in Meccano Literature, with a brief note in 'Meccano The First Century Book 1' where on page 29, for 1928 it states "Connecting Outfits were issued - these were not usually advertised and are rarely seen today.'

The only detailed reference I have found to these Outfits is in Meccanomans Journal No 38, where, on page 1128, an article based on the findings of Bill Inglis gives the format of the Box label and assumed contents for each size. I would be pleased to hear if anyone has any more information on these Outfits.

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