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The 'New-Look Meccano' of 1962

As already mentioned, there were radical changes to the system, first announced in February 1962.  Many of the 1962 changes to parts and manuals are often wrongly attributed to the silver/yellow/black period of 1964, even by 'experts'!

In 1962 almost all of the existing sets and packaging were discontinued.  An entirely new and updated range of models was designed for outfits 0 to 9, based on the contents of the existing sets, but with a few significant parts changes.  Outfit 00 was discontinued.  Some of the more exotic parts (eg: boilers) were removed from the larger outfits, but the new contents were generally more versatile than those in the previous sets.  See here for details.  The new manuals had red covers, and were in exploded form, without modelling instructions. Four manuals were produced for sets 0/1, 2/3, 4/5/6 and 7/8.  A set of coloured leaflets was produced for outfit 9, and the existing No.10 leaflets remained.

The new outifts were packed in brightly-coloured boxes with a large 'M' on the lid, hence these outfits are generally referred to as 'M' outfits.  The Meccano design was continued around the sides of the lid so that the boxes could be recognised when stacked on toy shop shelves.  The parts were still held in yellow trays, but the layout was changed to accomodate the slightly different selection of parts.  Outfits 0 to 8 and accessory sets 0A to 8A were now available in the new-style boxes, the accessory outfits no longer being strung on card as had been the case up to this time.  Outfits 9 and 9A were in new 'M' boxes, but were still strung onto card.  Outfit 10 remained largely unchanged, except for the inclusion of a selection of the new parts, which were needed to build some of the models from the smaller outfits. See here for details.

These new outfits featured in a special motorised dealers' display unit.  See here.

 
Other Changes in 1962
Over 30 new (or redesigned) parts were added to the system, including Narrow Strips and Plastic Plates.  The Plastic Plates were manufactured from 'Cobex Strip' (whatever that is!).  Details of all the new parts are given here.

Two new parts which were not mentioned in the publicity at the time were the 7 1/2" Strip Plate (195), and the Wire Hook (57d).

Braced Girders changed from double to single bracing, and three lengths were discontinued.  See here for details.

1" Pulleys were now fitted with grub screws as opposed to set screws.

The 00 outfit was withdrawn, along with the 00A accessory outfit.

The Meccano-Elec Outfits were introduced in France, these were the precursors to the 1963 Elektrikit.

The red grip was removed from the Crank Handle in the No.2 set.  Sets 3 upward still contained the deluxe version!  Some mint outfits have been found to contain the cheaper Crank Handles, particularly in the accessory sets.  There may have been a move to substitute the cheaper version in all sets towards the end of the period in 1963/4

In beween April and June, some of the brackets and other small parts (12a, 12b, 45, 125, etc.) were changed from green to nickel plated.  This change is wrongly dated in Meccano reference works as 1964.  If the new 1" Double Bracket was initially produced in green (which is very doubtful) this too was changed to nickel very shortly after introduction.  No genuine green examples have yet been found.

The Large 3-spoke Steering Wheel was introduced in black, and the existing small Steering Wheel was changed from black to light blue.  For some reason, the new Steering Wheel didn't change to blue until 1964.  See here for details.

The Emebo motor was introduced in August, although it had been shown in the February sales leaflet, along with the new outfits.  See here for details.  The name stood for Electric Motor, Enclosed, Battery Operated.  Rated at 4 to 12 volts, it was later found to suffer from overheating problems when driven continuously from a 12 volt supply.  Despite this, the motor was a welcome addition to the Meccano range as the E15R was bulky, expensive, inconvenient for battery operation, and almost always needed a cumbersome, noisy and inefficient gear reduction.  The Emebo was compact and powerful, and could be reversed remotely by changing over the leads.  This first plastic-cased motor was a landmark introduction to the Meccano system, and sounded the death knell for the bulky sideplate universal motors.  Right from the month of its introduction, Meccano Magazine featured many models using the new Emebo motor.
The Gears Outfit B was changed to yellow plastic tray packaging. See photos.

Extra parts

A selection of the more popular spare parts were packed in polythene bags, and made available for marketing on a display board.  See this page for more details
(Photo courtesy R Jaggard)
Flexible Plates gradually acquired a central hole around 1962, starting with the 4 1/2"x 2 1/2" size.  The Plastic Plates which were new this year were introduced without central holes - except the 5 1/2"x 1 1/2" one.

A number of 'Accredited Service Specialists' were appointed in the UK to handle repairs to Meccano motors and Hornby trains.   This ties in with a new series of 26 Servicing Leaflets that were printed in December 1961 and May 1962.  Most of these leaflets featured Hornby products, except for Nos. 23 - 26 which featured Meccano motors (No.23 was probably the E15R, but this has not been confirmed).

Some of the new parts of 1962

Some new parts of 1962

Wre Hook

Click here to see the new Braced Girders
Click here to see the new Steering Wheel
Click here to see the new large Road Wheel

The new Emebo Motor

The Emebo motor of 1962.  The first plastic-cased Meccano motor.  Early motors had red leads, followed by green, and then black leads.
The Emebo was sold with a 1/2" Pulley and three Driving Bands of different lengths.
See the Emebo servicing leaflet

Emebo motor

Emebo motor

Early Emebo motor with red leads.  (Courtesy R. Jaggard)

This badly-worded note packed with the Emebo motor warned against running the motor specifically with an AC mains power supply.

Unfortunately, the note didn't say why, or point out the consequences of doing so.  Nor did it define exactly what was meant by 'continuously' - A few minutes? Half an hour? A few hours? A day?  So, many people kept on running it anyway - until it seized up!  The note was very misleading and confused people, who thought that the AC power would somehow get to the motor and perhaps demagnetise it, or affect it in some other way.  The simple truth was that the brushes overheated with prolonged operation and melted the surrounding plastic.  It was nothing to do with the AC mains supply.  This would have happened with prolonged battery operation as well, if a large enough battery was used (eg a car battery).  The note should simply have warned against allowing the motor to overheat.

This photograph from the Emebo instruction leaflet shows the motor connected to a Hornby 1080 Battery Controller.
This controller was designed to fit onto three Ever Ready type 126 batteries with screw terminals (remember those?).  The batteries were 4.5 volts each, giving a total of 13.5 volts.  The controller provided forward, reverse, and speed control.
(Photos courtesy C. Weston)

1962  Advertising

Advertisements for the 'New Meccano'

Leaflet 2/62

Leaflet 2/62

The advertisement in the February 1962 edition of Meccano Magazine.
Note that the new Double Bracket (11a) is shown in green.
It is doubtful that they were ever produced in this colour.

The February 1962 Sales Leaflet, announcing the new 'M' series outfits and manuals.

Leaflet 2/62

Leaflet 2/62

More pages from the February 1962 Sales Leaflet, introducing the new exploded-view manuals.  The Emebo motor was one of the highlights of the February product launch, but was not actually ready until August!

1962-4  'M' Outfits

Completely new boxes, manuals, and some variations to contents of outfits.  The sales photographs showed the outfit numbers printed in white.  In fact, this colour was only used for the accessory outfits (see here), the main outfit numbers were printed in yellow.

1962 outfit 0

1962 outfit 0

1962-4 Outfit No. 0.  The layout of this set appears to be identical to the 1959-61 sets, enabling the same moulds to be used for the plastic tray.  However, extra parts were included in the green parts box, and under the Flanged Plate.
(Photos courtesy C. Weston)
   

1962-4 Outfit No. 1.  Here again, Meccano managed to reuse the 1959 trays and squeeze extra parts into them, including a pair of 1" loose pulleys, and some plastic plates.

     

1962 outfit 2

1962 outfit 2

1962-4 Outfit No. 2.  The Road Wheel was replaced by a 2" Pulley for extra versatility.  The Crank Handle was changed for one without grip in the No. 2 set of this period.  Note also the Reversed Angle Bracket.which is now nickel plated (to the left of the blue 2" Pulley).  (Photos courtesy C. Weston)

     

1962 outfit 3

1962 outfit 3

1962-4 Outfit No. 3.  Outfits 3 and above still had the Crank Handle with red grip, but perhaps only for another year.  Central holes are now starting to appear in the Flexible Plates, starting with the 4 1/2"x 2 1/2" one. (Photos courtesy R.Jaggard)

   

1962 outfit 4

1962 outfit 4

1962-4 Outfit No. 4. This outfit was now the smallest one to contain any Road Wheels.  (Note that the parts tin in the advertisement is still shown in gold.  These tins were phased out in 1960, and as far as is known, no 'M' set ever had a gold tin).

   

1962 outfit 5

1962 outfit 5

1962-4 Outfit No. 5.  What appears to be a simple row of red plates at the bottom, turns out to be a multi-layered arrangement of Flexible Plates, Plastic Plates, Triangular Plates, Flanged Plates, Transparent Plates, Flat Plates, Curved Plates and Braced Girders. Too bad if the owner didn't make a note of where everything went! See right.

   

1962 outfit 6

1962 outfit 6

1962-4 Outfit No. 6

This set was in a 2-layer box, as the previous version.

1962 outfit 6

    

1962 outfit 7

1962 outfit 7

1962-4 Outfit No. 7

Outfits 7 and 8 were now packed in the yellow trays for the first time.  They had previously been strung onto card inserts.

(Photos courtesy R. Jaggard)

1962-4 Outfit No. 8

This large outfit was packed in a 2-tier box which was reinforced with wooden inserts along the sides.

(Outfit photos courtesy S. Coultas)

1962 outfit 8

    
1962-4 Outfit No. 9.  This outfit came in a 3-layer box, but was unusual in that the parts were not packed into yellow trays, but still strung onto card.  However, the outfit did now include a brightly-printed lid to match the style of the other M outfits.  The example pictured is of an unused 1962-4 outfit still strung.  There is some evidence to suggest that early outfits still had the old label on the box lid.  (Photos courtesy D. Ward)

1962 outfit 9

1962 outfit 9

1962 outfit 9

1962 outfit 9

As the Boiler was removed from the1962 No.9 set,  there was now no cut-out in the middle tray.  This same box was used after 1964 for the Silver/Yellow/Black sets, until the No.9 set was discontinued in 1970.  During this period, this outfit was designated as the 'Master Engineers Set' and this 1962-64 box was inserted into a simple cardboard sleeve carrying the graphics for the 'new' set.
    

1962 outfit 10

The 1962-4 No. 10 'M' outfit.
This remained largely unchanged from the previous version, except for the inclusion of the new manuals, and a selection of the newly introduced parts.  The wallet with the 12 special leaflets is not shown in this photograph. See here.
(Photo courtesy R. Jaggard.  Photographs of this complete set, and others, can be found on this page from the NZFMM web site.)

Outfit 10, nickel parts

This detail from the above No.10 set shows the change of Double Bent Strips and Chimney Adaptors from light green to nickel in 1962 (not 1964 as is commonly thought).

 

Accessory and Special 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.)

With the arrival of the new outfits, the Gears Outfit and all the accessory outfits were finally changed to the new-style boxes and plastic tray packaging. The Mechanisms Set kept its 1959 packaging, and was never sold in an M-type box.  See Mechanisms Outfit lids.

1962 outfit 0A

1962 outfit 1A

1962 outfit 0A

1962 outfit 1A

1962-4 Outfit No. 0A.  This is an early mint set dated January 1962, with green brackets.  The reflections are caused by the cellophane film. (Photo courtesy C. Weston)

1962-4 Outfit No. 1A
(Photo courtesy C. Weston)

1962 outfit 2A

1962-4 Outfit No. 2A
(Tray photo courtesy C.Weston)

1962 outfit 4A

1962 outfit 4A

1962-4 Outfit No. 4A.  This outfit was packed with a 4/5/6 manual which, in theory, wouldn't have been required.
Note the presence of 12 1/2" Braced Girders in the smaller 1962 outfits.  Prior to 1962, even outfit No.10 didn't include these parts.  Note also the new Transparent Plastic Plates which show up well in this photograph.  This is an early set produced before the small brackets were changed to nickel.

1962 outfit 3A

1962 outfit 5A

1962-4 Outfit No. 3A
(Photo courtesy C.Weston)

1962-4 Outfit No. 5A
(Photo courtesy C.Weston)


(lid photo courtesy R. Payn)

1962-4 Outfit No. 6A

1962-4 Outfit No. 7A
(Photos courtesy R. Jaggard)

 

1962 outfit 8A

1962-4 Outfit No. 8A

This was the largest outfit (both numerically and physically) ever to be packed in the yellow trays.  The box was so large that it had to be reinforced with wooden inserts along the four sides.

The previous 8A outfit was in a 2-layer box, but this 1962 version was only a single layer, which was approx. 24 x 16 inches.

 

As can be seen, this set came with many of the more unusual parts: Circular Girders and Plates, Triangular Plates, 5 1/2" Curved Strips, Bell Cranks, and the new Flexible Gusset Plate and Narrow Strips.  A 3" Sprocket Wheel and Wheel Flange are also hidden away underneath the central Circular Plate.

The set also came with a set of ten No. 9 special leaflets and binder.

1962 outfit 8A

 

1962-4 Outfit No. 9A
Here are photographs of the outfit 9A box, followed by photos of a complete mint outfit from November 1963.  This was a 3-layer box (2 trays plus a separate card layer) with a similar format to the outfit 9 box shown above.  As with that outfit, the parts were strung onto card.
(Box photos courtesy J. Thorpe)

Although this outfit is a fairly late one,  the Cranks are still in light green, but the Double Arm Cranks are in nickel!  These can be seen in the left-hand photo above.  Also shown is the wallet containing the Outfit 10 Instruction Leaflets.  As was the case with the No.9 box, the 9A box was also used after the Light Red and Green period, right up until the set's demise in 1970.  This 9A outfit from 1962-64 is probably the rarest outfit from the Light Red and Green period.
(Outfit photos courtesy R. Payn)
   

1962 Gears outfit

1962 Gears outfit

1962-4 Gears Outfit B
The Gears Outfit was now sold in yellow tray packaging, and an 'M' style lid
(Outfit photo courtesy S. Coultas)


Mysteries surrounding the 1962 product launch

There is quite a bit of interesting evidence to suggest that the 1962 product launch didn't go at all smoothly, and was subject to major delays and difficulties.  The intended launch date may have been as early as Christmas 1960.

The new accessory sets contained a slip of paper, with a list of additional parts which would be needed to convert the pre-1962 outfits.  Clive Weston has pointed out to me that the printing date on this leaflet is 6/61.  This means that the new outfits had already been compiled, and the models had also been designed by June 1961 at the latest - eight months before the sets were launched.  The new parts would also have been manufactured by then, so it is a mystery why the new sets and parts were not announced until February 1962, missing the vital Christmas market.  A product launch gone wrong?  Click here to see a scan of the 1961 leaflet.

Perhaps the manuals provide a significant clue:  The earliest 7/8 and 9 manuals to come to light are dated March 1962.  So the manuals for the three largest sets were not printed until a month after the sets were announced!  It seems likely that the delayed launch was caused by difficulties in the production of the new manuals, particularly those from the larger outfits.  The drawing office almost certainly experienced major problems with the preparation of the exploded drawings for the larger models.  These new manuals were entirely different from the previous ones, which consisted of nothing more than photographs and written text.  These manuals were also riddled with errors in the labelling of parts and the Parts Required lists, which also points to a rushed job.

The Emebo motor was also subject to major problems and delays.  It was clearly meant to form part of the "New Meccano" range announced in the February sales leaflet, but all price lists up until June 1962 showed it as being 'available later'.  It wasn't advertised in the Meccano Magazine until August 1962.  As the new outfit models were designed by June 1961, none of them included the Emebo motor, but a slip of paper was included with the manuals which gave suggestions as to how the new motor might be incorporated into models - another sign of a botched product launch?  Click here to see the Emebo leaflet.  To cap it all, after introduction the Emebo was found to suffer from overheating problems which were apparently insoluble, and led to the warning about running it continuously from a power unit.

There are other unexplained mysteries regarding the launch of the 1962 outfits and literature:

The sales leaflet (above) shows the new outfits with the gold parts tins, yet these had been replaced by green tins almost 2 years before this.  The gold tins had long disappeared by the time that this leaflet was printed, and the photographs are new as opposed to retouches of earlier photographs.  It seems reasonable to suggest that these 'M' set photographs were taken in mid-1960 when the gold tin was still current.  Why photograph brand new outfits containing obsolete tins?  If this is so, then the outfits and models had been designed, and even the packaging had been produced by the middle of 1960 - nearly 2 years before the sets were eventually launched.  Were these outfits originally intended for a Christmas 1960 launch?  Everything was completed, except for the new manuals.  

The small Steering Wheel was changed from black to blue in 1962, yet when the new larger Steering Wheel was introduced, it was in the old black colour.  This is further evidence that the new parts were produced before 1962, and sufficient stocks of the new Steering Wheel had been produced in black to last until 1964, when the colour was 'corrected'.  This also applies to the Plastic Plates, which were introduced without central holes, just as the Flexible Plates were being converted to central hole.

Much was made of the new exploded-view manuals when they were introduced, yet the first "More New Models" leaflet with the same exploded-view format was published over a year before, in November 1960.  These 'secret' leaflets were never publicised by Meccano.  They were never advertised in sales literature, nor mentioned in Meccano Magazine.

The February 1962 price list, which showed the new outfits and parts, has a February 1961 date reference.  Mistake or not?

Were the new plastic Road Wheels (introduced in 1961) originally meant to be part of the 1962 product launch?  The other new parts of 1962 were also designed by the middle of 1961 (or even 1960) so why did Meccano choose to release the plastic Road Wheel and not the other parts?  Was it an economy measure?  Releasing the Wheels in 1961 (unannounced) made no sense as the manuals were not retouched; the Wheels were not suitable for some models; the accessory sets were rendered incompatible; and the Conical Disc had only recently been changed to blue to match the tinplate Road Wheel.

Overall, there are signs that this product launch was started in early 1960, and finally ended in August 1962, with the completion of the Emebo motor!

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