Analysis of Meccano Manuals

1928-1935

Changes to the manuals during the era

1 - Liverpool Manual Changes

This era is divided into two sub-eras - 1928-30 and 1931-35. Note that there was an overlap between this era and the following lettered outfits era which was introduced in 1934. Click here for an overview of the outfit models and changes during the era. It also shows the relationship between the models of this era and the previous and following eras.

1928-30
In the smaller outfits (00-3) the majority of the models were either completely new or extensively redesigned from the previous era. In the larger outfits (5 -7) there was virtually no change from the previous era, although many were renumbered. During this sub-era the manuals changed every year with new models being added in and some deleted. Many of the new models were also featured in the Books of New Models which were published between 1928 and 1931. A 000 outfit was introduced in 1930. The covers of the 1928 manuals were the virtually the same as the previous era. In 1929 the front cover changed to bright red, although the overall design remained unchanged.

1931-35
In 1931 the manuals had a revision which resulted in most of the non model pages at the beginning and the end being removed. This was presumable to save printing costs. Aditional manuals were introduced, together with for the first time, Accessory outfit manuals. There was very little change to the models in 1931 from 1930 except for extensive renumbering. During the 1931-5 period there was very little change to the manuals, and models and numbering remained unchanged.

Changes to the manuals

Colonial/Export Editions

2 - American Manual Changes

Click here for an overview of the American outfit models during the era and how the manuals corresponded with each other. It also shows the relationship between the models in the American manuals and the Liverpool manuals.

1927
This era actually began in America with the revised Outfit 00 launched in 1927. The 00 outfit was similar in size to the 1928 Liverpool outfit 0. Most of the 131 models in the new American outfit 00 manual (Ref 27.1) were the same as would be in the 1928 Liverpool outfit 00 and 0 manuals. There were five models which were unique to America.

A supplementary outfit 00 manual (Ref 27.4) was also issued. This consisted of a single sheet of paper folded once to give four pages. There was no title or any other identification on this manual. It consisted of 159 very elementary models, most of which were unique to America, although some were the same as Liverpool 1928 models, but with a different picture. Many of the models were very similar to the models which subsequently appeared in the Liverpool 000 manual in 1930 (e.g. the numbers and letters).

1928
The American 1928 main manuals (00-3x and 4x-6x) (Refs 28.1 & 28.2) were largely based on the Liverpool 1928 manuals. Note that there was no outfit 0 in America as the outfit 00 was now similar in size to it.

The outfit 00 models in the 00-3x manual consisted of the models from the 1927 outfit 00 manual and its supplement, together with a number of additional models, the majority of which were in the 1928 Liverpool manual.

The first 20 outfit 1 models in the 00-3x manual did not appear in the Liverpool manuals until 1929. What is interesting is that they are laid out virtually identical on the page. Virtually all the remainder were in the Liverpool 1928 manual.

The models for outfits 2-6 were identical to Liverpool except that numbering order was different. In most case individual pages are laid out as per the Liverpool manuals with identical pictures. However the text is all formatted differently with different fonts used. Like previous eras there was no No.7 outfit.

Later in 1928 a supplementary manual was issued for outfits 00 & 1 (Ref 28.3). This contained an additional 162 models for outfit 00 (00.311 - 00.472) and 20 for outfit 1 (1.195 - 1.214). All bar one of these models were new models in the Liverpool 1929 manuals. There was no title on the front page, only a heading on each page saying what outfit was needed to build the models. The pages are not numbered.

A summary of the comparison between the 1928 American manual models and the Liverpool manuals is as follows:-

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  • Outfit 00 (00-3X manual) (Ref 28.1)
    These models can be split into three sections:-
    • Pages 5 to 8 (models 00.1 - 00.159)
      These are identical to the 1927 American outfit 00 supplementary manual. These are all very elementary models, with very small pictures. 34 of the models are also in the Liverpool 1928 manual, although the pictures are all different. Many of the models (e.g. the letters and numbers) are very similar to the Liverpool 000 outfit models of 1930. Were these models the inspiration for that outfit manual?
    • Pages 9 to 21 (models 00.160 - 00.289)
      These are identical to the 1927 American outfit 00 manual pages 3-15, with one exception. The model of a 'Toboggan' (model 92 on page 11 of the 1927 00 manual) is not included as it has now been made an outfit 3 model. This consequently results in a rearangement of models on that page. Five of the models are unique to America, the rest are also in the 1928 Liverpool manual.
    • Pages 22 to 23 (models 00.290 - 00.310)
      Of these 22 models, 19 are also in the Liverpool 1928 manual. 1 comes from the previous era and 2 are unique to the American manuals.
  • Outfit 1 (00-3X manual) (Ref 28.1)
    These models can be split into two sections:-
    • Pages 24 to 26 (models 1.1 - 1.20).
      These models were not seen in the Liverpool manuals until the following year (1929). Interestingly the model pictures and arrangement on the pages were identical on both American and Liverpool manuals. Did the artwork originate in Liverpool or America?
    • Pages 27 to 62 (models 1.21 - 1.184).
      All the 164 models in the Liverpool 1928 manuals were also in the American manual with the exception of the three models which used a motor. These three were replaced in the American manual by models from the 1927 Liverpool manual, (two of them subsequently reappeared in the 1929 Liverpool manuals).
  • Outfit 1X (00-3X manual) (Ref 28.1)
    Note that outfit 1X was the same as outfit 1, but with the addition of an electric motor.
    These models (185X - 194X) all utilise the American electric motor and so are unique to America, However two of them are virtually the same as the equivalent Liverpool outfit 1 models.
  • Outfits 2X - 6X (00-3X and 4X-6X manuals) (Refs 28.1 & 28.2)
    These models are the same as the Liverpool 1928 manual models,except that the order of the pages has been rearranged.
  • Supplementary Outfit 00/1 manual (Ref 28.3)
    • Outfit 00 models (Models 00.310 - 00.472)
      These are all the 160 outfit 00 and 0 models, plus one of the outfit 1 models that were added to the 1929 Liverpool manuals. In addition one model from the 1929 New Models Book was included, that did not otherwise feature in a standard manual.
    • Outfit 1 models (Models 1.195 - 1.214)
      These were 20 of the outfit 1 models which were added to the 1929 Liverpool manuals.
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Early 1929
In around early 1929 (could have been late 1928) the outfits were revised with a totally new numbering system. The old outfit range - 00, 1, 1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x & 6x were replaced by 0, 5 Special, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 & 70. In general the outfit contents were broadly similar to the 1928 range. The 5 Special was an additional outfit which was basically an outfit 00 with the addition of 2" pulleys and rubber tyres, an electric motor, and a few other additional parts.

The 1928 manuals were reissued for these new outfits. Stickers were put on the front covers over the old outfit numbers showing the new outfit numbers (0-40 and 50-70) (Refs 29.1 & 29.3). The non model pages were amended but the model pages were identical. The 1929 manuals did not include 'Contents of Outfits' pages.

Two new supplementary manuals were issued. An outfit 5 Special Supplementary manual (Ref 29.4) which contained 26 models (00.474 - 00.496) and an outfit 10 Supplementary manual (Ref 29.2) which contained 51 models (1.214 - 1.264). Note that there was a numbering error in the outfit 10 Supplementary manual, as there was already a model 1.214 in the 00/1 Supplementary manual. The numbering should have started at 1.215.

A page was included in the modified main manuals which detailed which models could be built with each new outfit. This listing also included models from the existing 00/1 Supplementary manual, which continued to be available, together with two new supplementary manuals for outfits 5 Special and 10. There were errors in the listing seen in Ref 29.1 and 29.3 - unless it was intended to issue yet another supplementary manual which was either never published, or has not yet been found.

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    Models which could be built with each new outfit
      As listed in manual Actual models which
    could be built
    Outfit 0 00.1 - 00.473 00.1 - 00.472
    Outfit 5 Special 00.1 - 00.496 00.1 - 00.496
    Outfit 10 00.1 - 1.266 00.1 - 1.184
    1.195 - 1.264
    Outfit 20 00.1 - 1.267 00.1 - 1.264
    Outfit 30 00.1 - 2.60 00.1 - 2.48
    Outfit 40 00.1 - 3.52 00.1 - 3.51
    Outfit 50 00.1 - 4.58 00.1 - 4.57
    Outfit 60 00.1 - 5.43 00.1 - 5.43
    Outfit 70 00.1 - 6.47 00.1 - 6.47
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A summary of the comparison between the early 1929 American manual models and the 1928 American manuals / Liverpool manuals is as follows:-

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  • 0-40 and 50-70 manuals (Refs 29.1 & 29.3)
    These models in these manuals are identical to the 1928 American editions. (Refs 28.1 & 28.2)
  • Outfit 5 Special Supplementary manual (Ref 29.4)
    These models are all unique to this manual. Most of the models either use the small American sideplate electric motor and/or 2" pulley and tyres.
  • Outfit 10 Supplementary manual (Ref 29.2)
    This added in models 1.214 - 1.264. Note that there was a numbering error here, as there was already a model 1.214 in the 00/1 Supplementary manual. Of these models, fourteen were outfit 1 models added in the 1929 Liverpool manual and nine models were outfit 1 models from the 1930 Liverpool manual. Seven other models were subsequently published in the 1930 or 1931 Books of New Models published by Liverpool. This leaves 21 outfit 1 models which were unique to America.
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1929 Outfit 0 Manual (Ref 29.7)
The 1927 Outfit 00 manual (Ref 27,1) was reissued in 1929 for the renumbered outfit 0. The manual was identical except for the front and rear covers. The model pages still refered to outfit 00 at the top of the pages and the models were numbered 00.1 etc.

The front cover included a note saying that the outfit 00 models in this and the 00 Supplementary manual could all be built with the Outfit 0.

The rear cover advertised the progression of 1929 range of accessory outfit, the Meccano Guild and the Meccano Magazine

Late 1929
A new 0-40 manual (Ref 29.4) was published which now included all the additional models from the 00/1 and 10 Supplementary manuals. However there was some renumbering. There were no new models. The manual consisted of the models from existing American manuals as follows:-

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  • 00.1 - 00.310 : The same numbered models from the 1928/9 manuals (Outfit 0)
  • 00.311 - 472 - The same numbered models from the 00/1 Supplementary manual (Outfit 0)
  • 0.1 - 0.184 - Models 1.1 - 1.184 from the 1928/9 manuals (Outfit 10)
  • 0.185 - 0.204 - Models 1.195 - 1.214 from the 00/1 Supplementary manual (Outfit 10)
  • 0.205 - 0.255 - Models 1.214 - 1.264 from the 10 Supplementary manual (Outfit 10)
  • 1.1 - 1.10 - Models 1.185x - 194x from the 1928/9 manuals (Outfit 20)
  • 2.1 - 2.48 - The same numbered models from the 1928/9 manuals (Outfit 30)
  • 3.1 - 3.51 - The same numbered models from the 1928/9 manuals (Outfit 40)
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The 50-70 manual was also reissued (Ref 29.8). However, apart from the front cover, this manual was identical to the early 1929 edition.

As previously there was a page in both manuals which listed which models could be made from each new outfit. The one in the 0-40 manual was revised to take account of the model renumbering, the one in the 50-70 manual remained unchanged from the previous manuals (including model number errors).

1930
In 1930 there was a completely new range of outfits (1, 3, 5, 110, 115, 125 & 150). These outfits had a significant Gilbert Erector influence in them and were probably the first true Gilbert Meccano outfits. Outfits 1, 3 & 5 were based on the 1929 0, 10 & 20 outfits respectively. The remaining outfits were completely new.

The existing 0-40 manual (ref 29.5) remained in use for these new 1, 3 & 5 outfits whilst stocks lasted. In order to be able to use the old manual, it was overprinted on the front cover with info on what models the outfit could build. The following three variants have so far been seen (Note that in each case the last page quoted appears to be one out. It should have said - 'up to but not including' - the last page quoted:-
  1 (30.1) - 'All models shown from page 1 to page 91 are built with the No 3 outfit' (Note - Page 90 is the last page of '0.x' models and would be used with the new 1930 outfit 3).
  2 (30.2) - 'This outfit builds all the models up to page 94' (Note - Page 93 is the last page of '1.x' models and would be used with the new 1930 outfit 5).
  3 (30.3) - 'This outfit builds all models up to page 111'. (Note - Last digit is unclear, although it looks like 111 - Page 110 is the last page of '2.x' models and would be used with the new 1930 outfit ???).


Page last updated - 16 August 2015


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