Mechanics Made Easy - Meccano, dual-branded tinplate sign

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index
Exhibit

Mechanics Made Easy - Meccano, dual-branded tinplate sign

Meccano - Mechanics Made Easy, metal sign.jpg (i)
File:BTMM map 000.gif
location:
Arch , Area 0
-
1907

An incredibly rare lithographed tinplate sign carrying both the Meccano name and the "Mechanics Made Easy" logo, from ~1907/1908. This is one of the very, very few artefacts from the period that we've ever seen that carries both these brandnames.

Historical Background

Frank Hornby's construction system started out as "Mechanics Made Easy" in around 1901/1902 (having been patented in 1901), and was then relaunched in 1908 as "Meccano", with not only the new name, but new packaging and sets, some revised parts, a new limited company (Meccano Ltd), and a new factory site. The name "Meccano" was trademarked in late 1907, and the new company was established in summer 1908.

This sign would seem to date from the transitional period, and is also notable in that it doesn't use the distinctive Meccano lettering specially commissioned by Frank Hornby, with a heavy slope-sided "M" and an "O" with a tilted hole. Although artists commissioned by the company to produce lettering sometimes forgot to "tilt the O", the first letter of the brand logo was very distinctive, and it's odd to see the name used here without it.

It's possible that the artwork for the sign might have been produced before the logo design was ready, or before it had been approved and standardised.