Meccano Outfit 000, special parts

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index
2016 Exhibit

Meccano Outfit 000, special parts

File:BTMM map 000.gif
Arch , Area 0
==This exhibit is scheduled to go on display during 2016, as part of the museum's 25th anniversary improvements==,
1930: "A New Meccano Outfit, No.000 Outfit"

1930: "A New Meccano Outfit, No.000 Outfit" [image info]

1935: Franch catalogue entry for "Boite 000"

1935: Franch catalogue entry for "Boite 000" [image info]

A very rare set of the special parts included in Meccano Outfit 000.

The "extreme entry-level" set 000 was the very cheapest Meccano set available at the time, and the feat of producing an even cheaper Meccano set than the 00 outfit (and which could still make recogisable models) was achieved by supplementing the set's metal pieces with a sheet of unique printed pre-punched coloured card parts.

The more standard Meccano parts included in the set were strips, angle brackets, angled trunions, four small pulley-wheels and a single baseplate piece (and, of course, the ubiquitous nuts and bolts).

Card parts

The card pieces were:

  • 2 × Three-inch wheels
  • 1 × Aeroplane propellor
  • 2 × Railway signal arms
  • 1 × Windmill piece
  • 2 × Railway wagon ends
  • 2 × Railway wagon sides
  • 1 × Car bonnet part

Manual description


The thirty new models shown on this sheet, and scores fo others equally interesting, can be built with the aid of the splendid new coloured parts incorporated in the card in the lid of this outfit. All that is necessary is to cut the short retaining webs with a pair of scissors. The Wheels, the Signal Arms and the Propellor should be pushed slightly up from below before the cutting is done.

In building the card parts into models, it is better to have the bolt head rather than the nut on the coloured side of the parts, and the bolts should not be screwed up too tightly. Wherever possible, the 3" card Wheels should be supported and kept true on their axles by placing at their centres 1" Pulley Wheels as shown in the Pony Trap model above.

The sample model designs included in the set tried to make the most of the car parts, with the folding "car bonnet" piece reused as a birdhouse and dog kennel, the large wheel used as a parasol, and the "wagon sides and ends" parts reused as a variety of panelling purposes, as roofing, seating and aircraft wings.

The 000 Outfit

The anomalous use of card in the 000 Outfit makes it an odd relative of the rest of the Meccano range. Since Meccano Ltd. obviously had the ability to produce or source thick stamped and printed card, one might ask why they didn't make wider use of the idea. However, Meccano was considered to be a "metal" toy, Frank Hornby had emphasised the "metal" aspect when arguing why Meccano was different to and better than other construction toys, and the company might also have been anxious about the idea that if they legitimised the use of card parts as supplementary pieces for their "proper" sets, it might encourage other companies to consider using thick card as the basis of their own construction toy systems, which would then be cheaper to produce than Meccano. A company such as Deans would have been quite capable of producing a card-based construction set in book form (perhaps with a small cloth bag of fasteners attached), so it was probably felt necessary to limit the use of card to the very cheapest set in order to preserve the idea that metal sets were intrinsically superior.

External links