Truncated Icosahedron, Meccano model

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index

Carbon 60 molecule (Meccano, 1928)

A replica of the sixty-cornered Meccano "football" model shown in Meccano Magazine in 1928.

Carbon 60


The technical name for the shape is a truncated icosahedron. An icosahedron is a shape with twenty equilateral-triangle faces that meet at its twelve corners in groups of five. If we shave off the twelve corners to crop the twenty triangles into hexagons, the removed corners turn into pentagonal faces, and we have a 32-sided shape with twenty hexagons and twelve pentagons.

Historical significance

Up until 1985, it was commonly presented as being "The surest fact in carbon chemistry" that pure carbon could only occur in three forms: crystalline diamond, planar graphite, and irregular soot.


  • H. W. Kroto, J. R. Heath, S. C. O'Brien, R. F. Curl & R. E. Smalley, C60: Buckminsterfullerene Nature volume 318, pages 162–163 (14 November 1985) doi:10.1038/318162a0
  • Editorial, 25 years of C60Nature Nanotechnology 5, 691 (2010) doi:10.1038/nnano.2010.210

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