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Foreign Variations

Due to the lack of reliable information about Meccano sets from other countries, this site is mainly concerned with UK outfits from Binns Road.  However, sets and literature from other countries does occasionally come to light and this page provides a means of collecting this information together.

Note about French guarantee slips: All French Meccano guarantee slips between January 1952 and July 1967 (which covers the entire Light Red & Green period) showed the expiry date of the 5-year guarantee, and not the date of manufacture.

If you have any 1958-64 non-UK outfits which are different from the outfits shown on this site, or you know of other foreign variations, please email me with the information or photos, etc.

French 5-Drawer Dealers' Cabinet

 Click on the thumbnail images to see larger pictures

This is a French dealers' cabinet from the Light Red & Green period (although the French parts were not red & green!).  The parts display on the front is reminiscent of the pre-war Binns Road dealers' cabinet with real parts on display.  The Parts Card dates from 1963, and includes the new Elektrikit parts (which were developed by Meccano France).  It folds into three to fit into a drawer.

 (Photos courtesy Jim Bobyn, who says that the parts display may be upside-down!)


1959 South African Sales Leaflet

1959 SA leaflet

1959 SA leaflet

1959 SA leaflet

1959 SA leaflet

This leaflet is dated August 1959.  1958 outfits 1 and 7 are shown, and no mention is made of the E15R motor introduced 10 months earlier.  However, the brand new outfit 10D is included!  The prices are in Pounds, Shillings and Pence.  S. Africa converted to Rands and Cents in 1961. (Photos courtesy W. Irwin.)

Dutch No. 0 outfit from 1959

Dutch outfit 0

Dutch outfit 0

Dutch outfit 0

Dutch outfit 0

Dutch outfit 0

This is a Dutch outfit dated April 1959.  On the end of the box there is a sticker on the left side which says "VLAAMS" which is Flemish, the version of Dutch spoken in Belgium, so possibly this set was sold in Belgium. The guarantee sticker inside the box is in Dutch, and labelled Dutch.  Apart from the obvious language differences, the set appears to be identical to the UK version, with the early 1959 small parts box.  (Photos and information courtesy W. Irwin.)

Italian Outfits No. 00 and 0 from 1961

Of interest is that both the Guarantee slips show 1961 but both manuals are from 1954.  (Photos and information courtesy R. Jaggard.)


Australian outfit No. 4

This is an Australian No.4 outfit from 1959, with a gold parts tin.  Note the "Australia" label on the corner of the box lid.

The set appears to be identical to the 1959 UK set, with a version 1 lid.

(Photos courtesy Mick Wright)


Canadian outfit No. 4A

Outfit 4A

This outft No. 4A dates from February 1962.

It has a yellow multi-lingual sticker on the lid (see detail below)

Was this sticker placed on all sets meant for export?

(Photos courtesy W. Irwin)

 Outfit 4A detail

Another multi-lingual sticker found on a 1963 1A outfit, by M.Burgess (Eng, Sp, Por, Sw, Nor)

Italian outfit No. 3A

  The multi-lingual sticker (above) apparently didn't last very long.  This outfit from May 1962 has an Italian sticker on the lid!  (Photos courtesy R. Jaggard)

Swedish outfit No. 3A

Mint 1958 outfit 3A.  Labels with Swedish text. (Photos Börje Thelin)


French Outfits

I suppose the most significant foreign variations were the sets produced by Meccano France.  These were being produced in a blue/gold/red colour scheme, although the shades were not the same as the pre-war English blue/gold colours with cross-hatched plates.  Here are some extracts from the French sales leaflets.  The French sales material appears to be of a much higher quality than the English leaflets, even though much of it was printed in England:

1960-61 French Sales Leaflet

1960 French leaflet

French parts list
French parts list showing the unique French colour
scheme. (Click for a much larger image 290k)

Cover and pages from the French sales leaflet dated 1960-61, showing the complete range of outfits from 0 to 10.
Note that the French outfits were not packed into plastic trays, but still strung onto card during this period.
(Photos courtesy C. Besse)

Above: Outfits 0 to 8 (Outfit 00 was probably not sold in France?).  Below: Outfits 9 and 10P.(Photos courtesy C. Besse)


1962 French Sales Leaflet
This leaflet shows details of the new 1962 Meccano range, now packed in similar trays to the Binns Road outfits, but in a pale blue colour

French leaflet

French leaflet

French leaflet

Top and left: Pages showing the new outfits 1 to 5, a selection of the newly-introduced parts, and the French motors. Note the open-ended Braced Girder, which was different from any of the Liverpool patterns.
Above: Motors shown in the 1963 leaflet. The No.1 Clockwork Motor is no longer shown, which is rather puzzling as it was used in some of the outfit models!
(Photos courtesy C. Weston)


  1963 French Sales Leaflet

French leaflet

French leaflet

Above: Two pages from the 1963 leaflet showing some of the larger outfit models.

French leaflet

French leaflet


Above: Adverts for Meccano-Elec, the French (original) version of the Elektrikit.  (Photos courtesy C. Weston)

Right: French Meccano-Elec Leaflet.  (Photo courtesy J. Nuttall)

Below: French version of 1080 Controller


  1964 French Sales Leaflet

French leaflet

French leaflet

Above: Extracts from the 1964 leaflet showing the striking effect of the blue and gold colour scheme.  The outfit 7 hovercraft model did not appear in the English manuals.  (Photos courtesy C. Weston)
Below: Another French leaflet showing the larger outfits 4 to 8  (Photos courtesy R. Jaggard)

French leaflet

French leaflet


French Gears Outfit B manual cover, from around 1962
(Photo courtesy C. Besse)
Example of French Guarantee Slip.
This is for the Magic Motor.(Photo courtesy C. Besse)

Italian All-Products Leaflet circa.1962

  (Scans courtesy R. Jaggard)

French 4 'M' outfit from 1962

French outfit 4

French outfit 4

This outfit shows the blue/gold colours of the French outfits.  Pulleys and other parts were in red.  The most surprising detail is that the plastic Road Wheels were in red and grey, as opposd to blue and grey.  These colours would later be adopted by Binns Road when the new colour scheme of silver/yellow/black came along in 1964.  The manuals are printed in French, rather than being multi-lingual, which is consistent with the 1962 date.

French Elec outfit A (Box Of Electrical Pieces A) from 1962

This outfit was the prototype for the English Elektrikit.  Although both manuals had the same silly picture on the cover, at least the French had the good sense to put a more interesting and informative picture on the box lid.

French Meccano-Elec Outfit 1

This was a larger version of the French Elec Outfit A (above).  It was a self-contained outfit to build all of the Elektrikit models.  For some reason, Binns Road never marketed their own version of this outfit.  The outfit in the photo is in mint condition, with a manual dated September 1962.  More information about this set can be found on this page.   (Photos courtesy R. Jaggard)

Australian No.1 outfit from 1959

This export set is from April 1959.  It is in a 1958 box and all the parts are in medium red and green, except for one 2 1/2" Strip which is in light green!  The parts box is from 1959.  (Photos courtesy R. Jaggard)

Australian No. 8 outfit from 1960

Australian outfit 8

Australian outfit 8

Australian outfit 8

 This unused Australian outfit No. 8 from July 1960 is still strung.  The outfit is identical to the English1960 outfit, except that the colours are light green and medium red!  Yes, the owner of this set (Rod Purdie) does know the difference between medium and light red, as he is the owner of a 1961 No.10 set in light red and green. See here.  A near-mint 1958 No.10 outfit has also been discovered in the same colours, also in Australia.

Late Canadian / French Outfit No.0 Manual

Canadian Manual 0

From Canada, this is a French language, but Liverpool produced, No. 0 manual in the 1958-61 style,

Dated February 1962, and with a print reference of 262/1, this old-style manual was printed at the same time as the new outfits were being introduced.  The first of the new style No.0 manuals had already been printed 4 months earlier, in October 1961.  Why was this manual printed after the outfit had been discontinued, and the new manuals were in use?  (Photo courtesy C. Weston)


Late Canadian Outfit No.1

Another very late oddity from Canada:  This outfit No.1 has a guarantee slip dated September 1962 - seven months after the introduction of the new outfits.

1961 Canadian outfit No.7

This No.7 outfit has a guarantee slip which states 10/61 although the year is not clear in the printing.  Contains only two manuals, both English language: a 60.6 with print code 13/360/22.5 and strangely a 56.7/8 with print code 13/356/13.5 (which may be a replacement by a previous owner).
(Photos courtesy S. Judd)

1962 Late Canadian outfit No.7A

French language box labelled 'Boite Complimentaire'.

This pre-1962 type outfit has a guarantee slip which dates 5/62.

Contains two manuals; an English 7/8 manual (print code 13/361/2.5) and a French 7/8 manual (print code 13/559/2).

The outfit number on one small parts box is black (as expected) while the other is green (the same as the UK 7A set on the 1959 page)

The double bent strip and 1" angle brackets are nickel plated.

(Photo courtesy S. Judd)


German outfit No.3A, (from Finland)

German outfit 3A

German outfit 3A

The above 1958 outfit was bought from a shop in Finland during Christmas 1959.  "Buying Meccano in Finland in the 1950s was a linguistic gamble.  Anyone buying another set would have to be prepared for a manual from a seemingly random selection of English, Swedish or German ones instead.  The Accessory outfits were not even seen in the Finnish shops until Christmas 1959 when this German No.3A set was bought. The set was identical to that shown on the 1959 page, but the outfit had a German lid and included a German No. 4 (not 3A) manual (13/858/3)."    (Photos and information courtesy L.S.)

Right:  Guarantee slip from an early 1958 Finnish No.3 outfit (Courtesy Jari Berling)


Swedish manual for outfit No.3, dated Nov. 1959 (Courtesy S. Kjellin)

Swedish manual 3

Swedish manual 3

1958 Swedish Outfit 2 (Courtesy Rolf Johansson)

1958 Spanish Outfit 0A (Courtesy R. Jaggard)

Finnish manual for outfit No.1, printed Feb.1958 (Courtesy L.S)
Note that this early printing shows the blue road wheels with black tyres



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