Meccano in its centennial year
There can be few Meccanomen who have not been touched by the thought that
we are in the Centennial year of Meccano. Perhaps it is a good time
to take stock of where we stand at the moment. Far from feeling stranded
at the loss of Meccano Ltd, Liverpool, and the subsequent changes to
Meccano SA, Calais, the hobby has never in fact been stronger. It could
even be said that we are in a golden age. There is much to be thankful
There are active Meccano societies in 32 countries around the world, with
many of them producing excellent magazines, and holding first rate exhibitions,
which just seem to get better and better. Over 250 Meccanomen have been
able to link up with each other on the Internet forming a virtual Meccano
society in its own right, and all Meccanomen are served by magazines
with universal Meccano appeal such as Constructor Quarterly and The International
Meccanoman. The technical development of Meccano has never been stronger
with new and special parts available which has greatly extended the usefulness
of the system, enabling true modern small scale engineering. Although
the name Meccano is jealously guarded by the present manufacturer, the patents
have long expired, so that anyone is free to manufacture to the Meccano dimensions,
and parts are widely available at reasonable cost and good quality.
In recent years, an added dimension has been given to Meccano by the collectors
and historians whose knowledge of Meccano and its long history seems to know
Taken together therefore, all these factors add up to an exciting scenario.
The balance of interest of young people has shifted in the modern electronic
world away from hobbies and quiet application at home, to games and television.
Meccano is no longer sold widely in the shops as demand from this sector has
fallen away. It is hoped that a resurgence of interest might come about
as result of improvements made by the new Meccano manufacturer Nikko from
Japan which is known for its expertise in the field of electonic games which
could be linked to Meccano. The emphasis has shifted away from the
manufacturer to the hobbyist, and in recent years there has been little contact
between the two. It is quite possible that Meccanomen can be of great
assistance to the manufacturer by helping to publicise Meccano at their exhibitions.
They could also give advice as to how to improve the technology of Meccano.
In return, the manufacurer could have a presence at exhibitions, and give
prominence to societies in their products. In this way, increased awareness
antd interest might by shown once again by young people to strengthen the
The recent international exhibition at Skegness organised so competently
by the North Midlands Meccano Guild has been a showcase for Meccano, and has
satisfied the desire to mark our one hundredth anniversary in the most appropriate
way. May Meccano thrive for the next hundred years.