Meccano Set (unidentified)

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index
Exhibit

Meccano Set (unidentified)

BTMM map 004.gif
location:
Arch Two , Area 4
Meccano Construction Sets (display)

A large, old, Meccano set in a locking hinged-top wooden case, with a large (1920s?) Meccano label stuck inside the lid.

The box contains a large number of unpainted cogs and lattice pieces. The box layout and contents don't seem to correspond to any particular set from the catalogues that we've looked at. The box is obviously custom-designed to take Meccano (with a hinged-lid section with rods for holding wheels and cogs) and the very large Meccano sticker on the underside of the lid appears to be totally genuine, although it doesn't give an outfit number.

The box

The solution to this puzzle seems to be that the company did sell authentic wooden Meccano storage boxes separately to the sets, through small ads in the back of Meccano Magazine. This was partly as a service to customers whose expanded collections had outgrown their original boxes, and partly to allow the company to dispose of occasional "misdesigned" batches of cases, where a new box design turned out not to make a comfortable fit for the set that was supposed to go inside it.

It seems likely (especially given the absence of a set number on the box label) that this set represents someone's personal expanded collection in a ~1920s mail-order Meccano Ltd. box, rather than any of the ready-assembled outfits.

Artwork

The feel of the artwork is very 1920s Art Noveau - the large red "Meccano" logo doesn't quite correspond to the standard version(s), and has a more curvy and occasionally italicised feel. The main central image is a rear-angled view of a boy looking away from the viewer and examining a Meccano crane on the table in front of him, while black-silhouetted against a sunsetted horizon is the outline of an industrial port, complete with a crane that almost aligns with the model.

The slogan, on an Art Deco scroll, is "THE WORLD'S MECHANICAL WONDERS IN EVERY HOME".