During all the years when Meccano was being built up as a business, Frank Hornby was not idle as an inventor. He was continually experimenting, continually working to invent other parts of Meccano, which would improve and enlarge the system. In that way, he adopted the worm wheel and the contrite wheel, which make it possible for boys to get so many more interesting arrangements of gears; the single bent strip; the crank, the coupling, the perforated rectangular plate, the sector plate, spring motor, and the wide girder strip.
The Meccano spring motor, shown be- low, is a wonderful little power plant that will run many of the mechanical things that boys build. It will run an automobile, a derrick, a swing, like the one on page 78, or most anything that does not require continuous power. It has a big, strong spring with a key that winds it easily; a starting and stopping brake, and a reversing lever. Very many different arrangements of gearing can be built on, it, as it has the Meccano equidistant holes around the edge on each side. Then the Meccano Girder Strip, on page 95, another of "Frank Hornby's recent inventions, helps boys build large things. It is wider than any of the other strips and enables the boy to build big towers and bridges and sky-scraper buildings and other things quicker, easier, and more like the real ones.
As these new inventions were added to the Meccano outfit, the adaptability of Meccano was of course enormously increased, yet there was one thing which was always kept in mind, and which today is strictly adhered to. That one thing is that every new part must maintain the principles of interchangeability. Furthermore, this meant at the beginning, and means today, that Meccano is in reality mechanical, electrical and structural engineering in miniature. A boy could never learn incorrect mechanical principles from playing with Meccano. Everything that he learns from playing with Meccano will some day be useful to him in understanding engineering, and constructional mechanics, no matter whether he ever becomes an engineer or not. Everything that he learned by playing with Meccano will help him about his home or in his business. It will give him the knowledge that will be a power to him and will help in his future success.
As a result of the strict adherence to these mechanical principles-and there can never be more than one set of correct mechanical principles-the boys who play with Meccano have their ingenuity, their power of initiative and their imagination developed so that they do not need to always follow the models in the book of instruction, but can start out boldly after a little experience and draw their plans and invent and build newer and bigger models. Ingenious boys can build all kinds of things with Meccano. Not long ago, a boy submitted the model of a weaving machine on this page and sent a necktie which he had woven with it. Any boy who has ever seen a weaving loom, of which there are a vast number in America, will immediately see how practical this little Meccano model weaving machine really is.
think of the fun he had building his loom! A little French boy who lives
in Nancy, France, made a wonderful clock which will run just like a big
clock-and keep good time too. For centuries back the Swiss people, and
also the French, have been noted as the most remarkable watch and clock
makers of the world. Nancy is not very far from
He shared the second prize. An English boy built an automobile that would run along the floor, that had two different speeds, that had a reversing mechanism, that had headlights and a driver's seat, and a steering wheel and a tonneau, just like a real automobile. It ran with the Meccano spring motor, and he, too, shared the second prize. An American boy who lives in the big city of New York made the safe shown on this page. The door has a combination lock and the whole safe is made entirely with Meccano parts. It has little shelves and compartments inside just like the big safes you see in any bank. The combination lock on the door is so perfect that no one who doesn't know the combination can open the safe; yet this boy knows just how to turn the little knobs that work the combination and can open the same without the least trouble.
Some day this boy might put into actual practice the principles he learned while making this safe, and he might even become the celebrated inventor of an entirely new kind of combination lock for the big safes and vaults that are used all over the country to keep burglars, thieves and robbers out of money vaults in trust companies and banks.
The English boy who invented and built the armored motor car on this page must have had his imagination inflamed by the stories of how real armored motor cars are used in battles. Perhaps his home in England is near the place where some of these armored motor cars are built and he has seen them and built this one just like the real ones he saw. Perhaps as he was building this car, he was thinking what a wonderful thing it would be to run a real one and go to war and earn a great name for himself by heroic deeds. Perhaps as he built this car he was planning to be a British hero and die for his country, if need be, when he grew older.
In the last prize contest there were over ten thousand models submitted by boys-just think of how many different things can be made with Meccano. They came from the United States, from England, from France, from Canada, from Ireland and other countries. These models were of almost every kind of machine and structure. There were models of wire rope making machines, steam shovels, swinging boats, seaming machines, drilling machines, mangling machines, tool making machines, Zeppelin airships, grass cutters, deck chairs, jack-knife bridges, horizontal beam engines, road scrapers, letter scales, double acting wind-mill pumps, siege guns, automatic chocolate and gum vending machines, mowing machines, mechanical hammers, trip hammers, pile drivers, merry-go-rounds, giant see-saws, scenic railroads, roller coasters-a list of all of them would fill all the rest of the pages of this book.
presses, too, were built and submitted by some boys. The one in particular
shown on this page is a perfect miniature model of a Gordon Printing Press.
It was made by a boy in London, England. But one model that almost every
boy will be very much interested in is the one of an electric locomotive,
shown on page 103, built by an American boy. This is a close duplicate
of the enormous, powerful electric locomotives that are used by the great
Pennsylvania Railroad to pull the fast express trains from the Pennsylvania
Depot in New York City through the tunnel under the Hudson River and out
into New Jersey, where the steam locomotives are hooked on to pull the
great trains across the country.
This Meccano electric locomotive runs on a regular track, with a third rail, and gets its power from three ordinary dry batteries which operate the Meccano electric motor built into the locomotive. This boy makes his 'electric loco- motive whiz up and down the track, stop at stations and start again and switch over on to another track just like the big real ones do. He certainly must have a fine time with his Meccano toy; and when he gets tired of the electric locomotive, he can take it apart and build something else. Can you not understand, now that you have read about and seen pictures of some of the interesting things that can be made with Meccano, what a very great advantage the inter-change-ability feature of all Meccano parts is?
Do you now see how easy it is for any boy to build one thing, then take it apart and build something else, then take that apart and build still more things? This inter-change-ability is one of the most important features of Meccano. In fact, it is so important that every part that has ever been made to go with Meccano outfits can be used with any other part that has ever been made. And that principle of inter-change-ability is going to be continued in all Meccano outfits. So many boys who already own Meccano outfits have wanted to enlarge their outfits and make them better and even more useful, that Frank Hornby has perfected a Young Inventors' Accessory Outfit which contains all the parts with which any boy can build new and advanced models.
Any boy who has a Meccano set ought to have this Inventers' Accessory Outfit, because it contains many new parts that will make Meccano-cal Engineering much more fun - much more interesting - much more instructive.