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Changes  in  1961

In February 1961, the tinplate Road Wheel was replaced by a plastic version with a blue centre and light grey tyre.  This plastic Road Wheel is generally associated with the new parts of 1962, but it appeared one year before that, and was included in the 1961 outfits.  Was the new wheel introduced prematurely?  See here.

Although the new Road Wheel was slightly wider than the tinplate version, it would still fit into the recesses in the plastic trays, therefore it was not necessary to change the packaging.  The large 4 1/4" version of the Road Wheel did not appear until 1962.  This large wheel was never included in any outfit.  

 

The new plastic Road Wheel, first seen in 1961

Road Wheels

Large Road Wheels

Above: The tinplate Road Wheel (187) was replaced by the plastic version in the same basic colours, although the grey was somewhat darker and had a green tinge. The new plastic version was far less versatile than the tinplate version, as it coud only realistically be used as a road wheel.  The old version could also be used as a flywheel or the end of a boiler, etc.

Right: A boxed set of the larger 4 1/4" plastic Road Wheels (187b) introduced in 1962.  The colour of the tyres on these wheels was a much better match for the rubber Meccano tyres of the period, and they do look surprisingly effective in this photo.
The wheels were withdrawn in 1973 after the mould was damaged.  They did not prove popular, and are rare today.  For some reason, the paint tends to flake off around the central raised section, even if never used.

The December Meccano Magazine shows the first appearance of a 4 1/2"x 2 1/2" Flexible Plate with a central hole.

The December Meccano Magazine also features a colour advert showing the outfit No.10 Lifting Shovel.  This has a pair of red 1 1/2" Flat Girders along the chassis, but no red flat girders have ever been seen from this period. (A larger version of this advert can be seen on the homepage of the Meccano Web Ring.)

I am not aware of any other changes to the system or parts in 1961.  Meccano Ltd. were preparing for a major change, developing new parts, outfits and manuals which would appear at the beginning of 1962.

1961  Sales Leaflet

This sales leaflet from May 1961 now shows the new plastic Road Wheels.

Leaflet 5/61

Leaflet 5/61

Leaflet 5/61 - motors

The motors available in 1961.  The E020 motor has now disappeared, which means that there were twice as many clockwork motors available as electric ones!   Compare this page with the 1959 one. This same 1961 leaflet was issued in Canada, but with a 1962 date on the front.  It was printed in February 1962, at the same time as the new 1962 outfits were being introduced in the UK.  The Canadian leaflet also mentioned the forthcoming Emebo motor.

1961  Outfits

These outfits are the same as the 1959-60 outfits, but with the new plastic Road Wheels.  The sales photos are from the May 1961 Sales leaflet.  Note that the parts tins and boxes shown are still from 1958.  This is because these photographs are from the 1959 leaflet, and have been retouched to 'convert' the Road Wheels to the plastic variety!  It would be pointless to include photographs of all of the 1961 outfits here, because the differences between them and the 1959-60 outfits are trivial.  Therefore, photographs of 1961 outfits are only shown where no 1959 outfit is available.

1961 outfit 1

1961 outfit 2

1961 Outfit No. 1 (no changes)

1961 Outfit No. 2

   

1961 outfit 3

1961 outfit 4

1961 Outfit No. 3

1961 Outfit No.4

   

1961 outfit 6

1961 outfit 10

1961 Outfit No. 6

1961 Outfit No. 10
Now only available in the 4-drawer cabinet.
(Note the prominent display of the expensive circular parts!)

1961 outfit 10

These photographs show the layout of a February 1961 No.10 set.
This set is in mint condition, and still in its original stringing.
Photos courtesy R.Purdie.

1961 outfit 10
1961 outfit 10 1961 outfit 10

 
Accessory Outfits
Accessory outfits were used to convert one Meccano set into the next higher one.
(So a set 2, plus a set 2A would equal a set 3, etc.)

 
1961 outfit 2A 1961 Outfits 1A, 2A, and 3A
The packaging of these outfits was identical to that shown on the 1959 outfit page.
One can imagine the disappointment that must have been felt by many on opening these boxes and seeing the plastic Road Wheels, which would not have matched their existing tinplate wheels.  This is particularly true of the 2A outfit, where the buyer would have ended up with one tinplate and one plastic Road Wheel.  I speak from bitter experience!  (Photos courtesy R. Jaggard)

1961 Outfit No. 2A

1961 outfit 1A

1961 outfit 3A

1961 Outfit No. 1A

1961 Outfit No. 3A

1961 Outfit 6A
This outfit, dated January 1961, is identical to the 1959 outfit, except that the positons of the Sleeve Pieces and Double Angle Strips are reversed (top right).  This is not thought to be an 'official' variation.

This outfit has the early 1959 small parts box with a green label (Photo courtesy M. Walker)

1961 Outfit No. 9A

The above two packets are found underneath the Flat Girders.      (Photos courtesy R. Payn)

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