The MECCANO Light Red and Green Period
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This is intended to be a detailed and complete history of Meccano's light red and green period, which ran for six years, from 1958 to 1964. I got my first Meccano outfit (a No.2) at Christmas 1959, so this period of Meccano history is of particular interest to me.
Although this period only lasted for six years, there were significant changes to the Meccano system during this time: A record 90 new parts were added to the system; bright colourful packaging was introduced; outfit 10 gained a new cabinet; parts stringing was abolished for all but the largest sets; the first modern plastic-cased motor was introduced; manuals with written instructions disappeared; electrical automation was made possible; the first plastic parts arrived; and Meccano went multi-lingual!
In retrospect, it was probably one of the most significant periods in Meccano history.
Dealers' Display Card from the light Red and Green period, c.1959 (courtesy R. Jaggard)
The information on this site has been painstakingly pieced together from various, and often conflicting sources, along with my own personal recollections and those of others. Many changes that occured in the early sixties are often wrongly attributed to the silver/yellow/black period of 1964. A lot of previously undocumented information has also come to light, as well as some unsolved mysteries, and more than a few surprises!
|This site is mainly concerned with
the history of the Meccano construction system in the UK, rather than related
subjects such as Meccano Magazine, or other developments at Binns Road.
However, there is a section describing the Meccano contents
of the Meccano Magazines of the period, and also a page devoted to non-UK
There are still one or two gaps in the information, and it is often almost impossible to track down precise dates when changes occurred. Please let me know if you can spot any omissions or errors, or if you can provide any additional information or interesting photographs.
email: Melvyn Wright
Light Red and Green Animated Dealers Display Unit
The Medium Red and Green
It would be helpful to start with a look at the Meccano system immediately before the introduction of the new colours in July 1958. The medium red/green colour scheme had been in existence since 1945. 2" and 3" Pulleys were in black, and the tinplate Road Wheel was in red with a black tyre (see the outfit below). There were twelve main outfits in the range (numbered 00 to 10) plus the accessory sets, and the gears set 'B'. Motors consisted of the Magic and No.1 clockwork motors, and the E020 'Cricket Ball' and E20R sideplate electric motors. The outfits were packed in identical red boxes (apart from size of course) with the parts strung onto cardboard inserts. The No.10 outfit was packed in a wooden chest with a hinged lid and two lift-out trays - known as the 'presentation chest'. The manuals had the yellow dragline cover, or the green railway crane cover for the accessory outfits.
|Typical Medium Red and Green outfit, from the
period before the introduction of light red and green. This shows the
design of the box lid and the manual cover.
Outfit No.4 is shown, but the packaging for almost all of the outfits was identical, with the same pictures on the box lid and manuals. Yes, every outfit had the Giant Blocksetting Crane on the lid, and the Giant Walking Dragline on the manual; even though there was no chance of building any of these models with any of the outfits!
The parts were fixed in position inside the box by stitching them onto a yellow backing card. This method provided an attractive display in the shop window, but was not very practical for use, as there was no means of keeping the parts in position once the string had been removed.
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This web site is Copyright (C)1999-2017 Melvyn
I am most grateful to the following people, who have given me (and continue to give me) valuable assistance and information in connection with this site: Clive Weston, Roland Jaggard, William Irwin, Greg Rahn, Rod Purdie, John Evans, Jim Picton, Oscar Nenninger, John Nuttall, Doug Ward, Graham Jost, Carlos Besse, Eugenio Zalazar, Robert Simpson, Thomas D. Smith, Staffan Kjellin, Cameron Parle, Tony Press, Alf Jacob Munthe, Mick Wright, Joseph N Attard, Tim Gant, George Illingworth, Simon Coultas, Carl-Gustaf Snellman, Jari Berling, Michael J. Walker, Peter Adamson, Alan Burns, Börje Thelin, Les Megget, Jim Bobyn.
If I have forgotten to mention anybody, please let me know.
"Meccano" is a registered trademark of Meccano SA, Avenue de Saint Exupery, Calais 62100, France. I am a Meccano enthusiast, and have no connection with Meccano SA. The name "Meccano" is used on this web site only as a means of referring to the construction set of that name, and not to infringe any trademarks.