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Marvellous Meccano!

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The ideal companion to any Mamod steam engine

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A Meccano engine c1929-33 with trip hammer

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A 1973 Mamod SR1a on a Meccano 'Rolling Road'

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Mamod workshops with Meccano

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The drive mechanism of the rolling road, for static display of a mobile

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The Mamod SP3 crane in its final form - complete with SE3 load!

Many steam toys since the introduction of Bowman engines in the 1920s have been compatible with Meccano. The fact that many stationary steam engines had holes spaced 1/2" apart immediately made them the ideal companion piece for Meccano. The steam engine was a so much more interesting power source to watch than say a comparable electric or clockwork motor. All Mamod stationary engines were marketed for their popularity with model builders, and that they were easily integrated into Meccano construction sets. Other engines which included Meccano holes for easy use with Meccano included the Wormar range of engines as well as Hobbies ranges. With some simple engineering and creativity any engine could be used to drive any type of Meccano contraption a young model builder may have chosen to make!

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The highly versatile MEC1 made from 1965-1976

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Details of the SP3 drive mechanism - note extra user-installed shaft

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My 'powered' lineshaft for demonstration purposes

The Meccano rolling road in action

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The simple, strong construction of the rolling road. Box is for batteries.

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A closer view of the SP3 drive and reduction gear - mostly French Meccano

After the relative poor sales of the steam engine marketed by Meccano around the late 1920s (an earlier one was available I think from around 1914) the company seemed unwilling to make any more, and it was not until 1965 when they asked Malins Engineers to make a new stationary engine, to their specification, that there was anything that could be considered as a 'dedicated' Meccano steam engine. The MEC1 was a truly useful machine, with its simple but ingenious reversing control and robust construction, was an indispensible machine for any Meccano builder of note! It was discontinued in 1976, only to re-emerge as the Mamod SP3 in 1979.

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The successor to the MEC1, Mamod's own SP3. Made from 1979-1985

Both the MEC1 and the SP3 are very desireble engines. Both are easy to integrate into Meccano construction sets and both high revving. Of the two the SP3 production run totalled just 10,000 units and lasted until 1985 - presumably video games were beginning to eat into the traditional market for toys like Meccano. The Meccano MEC1 was first concieved in 1965 - built to Meccano's own specification, it was the first Malins manufactured engine with a simple reverse control, this was subsequently applied to the SR1 and TE1 respectively in 1967 to give us the SR1a and TE1a. The engine was part of Meccano's 'Powerdrive' series and was initially marketed in a brightly coloured box, with of all things a picture of the Malins Engineers workshop forming an attractive backdrop to the engine in its window carton. From 1970 the boxes for the Meccano engine were dark blue. The final MEC1s were made in 1976, then in 1979 it reappeard as the SP3 albeit with a whistle and sight glass, as well as solid fuel burner. However the glory days for Meccano were over and for the SP3 it meant a relatively short life span of just 5-6 years before it was deleted along with (sadly) the SP5 and the SP1.

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A 1963 TE on the rolling road

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Meccano contrate gears forming a coupling between lineshafts

An amazing site based in New Zealand, with marvellous pictures and great background history and detail.

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A 1973 Mamod SR1a on the rolling road