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Introduction of Light Red and Green (1958)

As early as the end of 1957, there was a move to liven up Meccano's image with a brighter colour scheme.  The Meccano historians say that the first evidence of this came with the sales leaflet of August 1958, but I have an all-products booklet of July 1958 which shows the new colour sets one month earlier.  It is also known that a full set of manuals printed as early as February of that year, also show the new colours (see Print Refs.).

There is a theory that the colour change came about as a result of the regulations to introduce lead-free paint in the mid 1950s, particularly in childrens' toys.  As Meccano probably had to change their paint formulation anyway, they may have taken this opportunity to brighten the shades.  No announcement of the change of colour scheme was made in Meccano Magazine.  Although it is not possible to accurately judge the shades of red and green from Meccano's printed leaflets, the colours of the 2" and 3" Pulleys unmistakably changed from black to blue, and the Road Wheel was shown with a blue centre and grey tyre.  The 6" Pulley was changed from medium red to light red, rather than to blue, which is something of a mystery.

Before the change of colours, both the Conical Disc and the centre of the Road Wheel (which are basically the same part) were in medium red.  However, in 1958 the Road Wheel was changed to blue, but the Conical Disc was changed from medium red to light red.  Consequently, these parts no longer matched each other.  This seems to have been a mistake, as the colour of the Conical Disc was belatedly changed to blue to match the Road Wheel in 1960  See here.  One theory is that the Binns Road paint shop followed a general instruction to convert all medium red parts to light red, and it took two years for those stocks of Conical Discs to become exhausted.

Apart from the introduction of the new colours, no other changes were made to the unexciting packaging, or to the manuals.  The parts were still strung onto cardboard inserts.  The No.10 set was still packed in the wooden presentation chest.

Blue wheel and pulleys The colour of the Pulleys and Road Wheel changed to blue at the start of the light red and green period.

Green strips

The shade of red remained pretty consistent throughout the period, but at least three different shades of light green have been seen.  The top shade in the photo shows the medium green from the previous period up to 1958.  The bottom two shades are from the light red and green period.  There is one shade of green from this period that is a lovely shade of bright green, and this is a particular favourite of many Meccanomen.

Another unusual colour change at the start of the period was the Windmill Sail.  This was already in a two-tone shade of light green on medium green (top photo).  In 1958 both shades were lightened even further (bottom photo).

(Photo courtesy G. Illingworth)

Other Changes in 1958
The E15R motor and T15 transformer were introduced, and marketed alongside the existing E20R motor for a time.  E15R stood for Electric motor, 15 volts, with Reversing switch.  The E15R was a same-size redesign of the E20R motor, to run on the lower output of the Dublo transformer - 15VA compared to the 20VA rating of the 20-volt system.

Two wooden storage boxes for Meccano parts were made available to dealers and customers.  From August, the No.10 outfit became available in the new 4-drawer wooden cabinet, as well as the existing presentation chest.  The two outfits were listed as 10P and 10D, both priced at £45.
The small yellow cardboard boxes in which spare parts were sold, now had green instead of yellow printed labels.  However, this change only affected the parts in the new colours, for identification purposes.  Unpainted parts were still packed in boxes with yellow labels.  See the pages on Spare Parts Packaging. Spare part box


1958 Sales Leaflets

This all-products booklet from July 1958 showed the first appearance of the new colours.

Leaflet 7/58

The Road Wheels are shown in blue with grey tyres, which is correct.  The sales leaflet issued one month later showed the Road Wheels with black tyres.  The outfits were still strung onto card in the old-style boxes during 1958.

Leaflet 7/58

Another page in the July 1958 leaflet shows the accessory sets and motors available at the start of the light red/green period.  The 'New E15R motor' was listed (available later) alongside the existing E20R.  Motors available at the end of the period, in 1964.

Dealers' leaflet

Leaflet 8/58

Part of the sales leaflet which was issued one month after the all-products leaflet.  This wrongly shows the new Road Wheels in blue with black (not grey) tyres.  Click here for a larger scan Front of the August 1958 sales leaflet
(courtesy C.Weston)


New T15 Transformer

T15 advert
The T15 transformer had two independent 15v AC outputs: 9VA for motors, and 6VA for lighting and accessories.


New storage boxes

Storage box advert


Above and right:  Two different advertisements for the two storage boxes introduced in 1958.

The larger box was to become the No.10  4-drawer cabinet.

The smaller box was also used as a dealers' storage box.  See here.

(Right photo courtesy C.Weston)

1958  Outfits

The sales photographs are taken from the July 1958 Sales Booklet.  The 1958 outfits were still strung onto card in the plain red boxes.  

1958 outfit 00

1958 outfit 0

1958 Outfit No. 00

1958 Outfit No. 0
(Photo courtesy C.Weston)


1958 outfit 3

1958 outfit 7

1958 Outfit No. 3

1958 Outfit No. 7


1958 outfit 4

1958 outfit 4

1958 Outfit No. 4
(Photos courtesy R. Jaggard)


1958 outfit 00A

1958 outfit 00A

1958 Outfit No. 00A
Simple plain envelope-style packaging for the smallest Meccano outfit. (Photos courtesy R. Jaggard.)


1958 outfit 0A

1958 outfit 0A

1958 Outfit No. 0A.  (Photos courtesy R. Jaggard.) This is an actual outfit, with a guarantee slip dated August 1958.   The logo on the small parts box is quite different from the ones shown in the publicity leaflet above, which date from the previous medium red and green era.  Details of Parts Boxes.

1958 outfit 3A 

1958 Outfit No. 3A
(from Sales Leaflet) 

1958 Outfit No. 4A
(Photos courtesy J.Thorpe)

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