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 for.

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 no bounds.

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 hobby.

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.