1962 - 1970 THEMED SET PERIOD

In 1962 Meccano Ltd decided to make changes to the range. Plastic was becoming increasingly common as a cheaper material than metal, for the first time Meccano decided to introduce plastic into its range in the form of plastic plates that where easier to bend than flexible plates and as the colour was part of the material rather than painted on would not scratch or flack. If these new plates had a downside it was that they where thin and easily broke. At the same time these plates where introduced in transparent form meaning that meccano models could now have (glass) windows, particularly vehicles windscreens. The new sets took advantage of these parts. Along with new boxes but still in red, green and white and showing a model that could be made from that set.

set 2

Meccano Red and Green Set 1 with the new Instruction Book

New manuals where introduced with a red cover, however it was the inside of the manuals that showed the greatest change. Up to this time manuals had shown a photograph of the finished model and written instructions also with a content list . In all but the set 10 the written instruction where replaced by an exploded drawing or in larger sets drawings showing how the model should be put together.

exploded drawing

New Instruction Book and Exploded Drawings

One set was deleted a conversion set 9a. This set had failed to sell in sufficient quantity for several years to make it viable. So for the first time in the Meccano range a buyer could no longer buy the smallest set and over the years convert to the largest. However it was not just the 9a sets that where selling in sufficient quantity it was the whole range. Things came to a head in 1963 when Meccano Ltd was having difficulties in meeting its obligations to its bankers after making a loss of £675,000.. The shareholders decided the time had come to put Meccano Ltd up for sale. Why had that happened? We will take a look at this on the last page of this history. The savior was Lines Brothers. Better know as Triang the makers of large metal toy peddle cars and Triang Railways among other things. This was the end of the road for the Hornby family as far as Meccano was concerned. Roland Hornby resigned from the company.

Lines Brother got straight to work after the take over, changing the colour of most of the parts from Red and Green to Silver and Yellow along with some black. A much more modern look, the plastic trays where changed to expanded polystyrene. Whilst the basic content of the sets and the manuals stayed as they had been from 1962.

set 2

New Colours following the Triang Take Over

But it was the outside of the packaging that received most attention. Apart from the Set 10 every set was given a name. The first 3 where called Play Set (0) Junior Set (1) and Super Junior (2) These featured some models that could be made with the set on the front. However sets 3 - 8 where themed, each showing photos of models down the left hand side and the same models set in a drawing on the right. These where grouped round a theme so that set 3 Highway Vehicles Set showed a group of cars and lorry's, whilst Set 6 Ocean Terminal Set showed Ships and Dockyard Cranes. Set 9 was slightly different called Masters Engineer's Set it returned to the idea of the smallest sets and showed several models that could be made with the set.

set 3set 8

New Themed Boxes following the Triang Take Over

This was possible the most colourful period for Meccano with modern boxes and modern colours. 2 new electric motors where introduced the larger with a gearbox, these 2 motors where added to sets 3 and 4 to produce the Junior Power Drive Set and Power Drive Set in 1968. Another innovation of Lines Brothers was Plastic Meccano. Basically larger strips, wheels axles flanged plates and nuts and bolts produced in plastic and described as, 'Big parts for Little Hands,' in other words aimed at younger children in the hope that they would go on to main stream meccano.

plastic meccano

New Plastic Meccano following the Triang Take Over

What effect did this have on the fortunes of the company? Although Lines Brothers carried Meccano Ltd for several years the company returned to a small profit in 1968. In 1969 Lines Brothers renamed Meccano Ltd Meccano Triang in preparation for changes for the new decade however events where again about to overtake Meccano Ltd.

MAIN EVENTS OF THIS PERIOD

  • 1962 New Plastic Plates and Narrow Strips Introduced
  • 1962 New Manuals with Exploded Views Introduced
  • 1962 New range of Sets Introduced
  • 1963 Bad Financial Year at Meccano Ltd
  • 1964 Meccano Ltd taken over by Lines Brothers
  • 1964 New Yellow and Silver Colours Introduced
  • 1964 Themed Sets Packaging Introduced
  • 1965 Plastic Meccano Introduced
  • 1969 Meccano Ltd name changed to Meccano Triang