Analysis of Meccano Manuals
A complete new series of manuals were produced, each manual covered a range of outfits, with individual model leaflets for outfit 9.
All model building instructions were by picture, there were no written building instructions. For each model there was a black and white photograph together with additional line drawings showing various aspects of the model. Part numbers were printed in red on the photos/drawings and on the parts list. Each model had a parts list (note that the model parts lists did not include the motors where used).
There were no accessory outfit manuals. This meant that excluding outfits 9 & 10 which had individual model leaflets, the Meccano range only needed 3 manuals.
Unlike earlier manuals where the outfit contents lists and illustrated lists of Meccano parts covered the whole Meccano range, these manuals only listed the specific outfits and parts for relevant manual. A separate combined outfit contents sheet was issued and included in some sets.
It should be noted that during the 1960s Meccano Outfits changed to be called Meccano Sets. One of the first to be called a set was the Powerdrive set in 1965.
Main Outfit Manuals:-
- 0-1 (to 1965), 1 (from 1965)
The 1965 No.1 manual was the same as the previous 0-1 manual but with all the old 0 outfit models (0.1 - 0.12), now labelled as No.1 outfit models (1.1 - 1.12). Existing No.1 models renumbered as 1.13 - 1.24. A No.1 manual has been seen which is identified as a No.2 on the front page - suspect this is a printers error.
- 2-3, 4-5-6, 7-8
- Set of ten outfit 9 leaflets in a folder
There is no date code on these manuals and only one printing has been identified, although there may have been reprints.
- Set of 20 outfit 10 leaflets
These were unchanged from the 1954-61 era except for the replacement of the E20R motor with the E15R in all models except 10.2 (N.B. this remained as a E20R right up to the final printing in 1986):-
These manuals were divided into three sub eras - no change of models. The quality of paper used deteriorated badly during the era.
Manuals in English only. - Gloss covers with semi-gloss paper inside.
Initially separate manuals were printed for each language. It was then realised that as there were no constructional descriptions in these manuals, that costs and printing could be saved by have multilingual manuals.
- 1962 -> 1964
Two different versions of manuals were then produced to cover all the required languages. English was the only common language between the two versions. This allowed either manual to be used in the main (English speaking) markets. The language combinations were as follows:-
English/Francias/Hollands/Deutsch/Italiano (E/F/H/D/I) - These are identified on the spine as the No.1 version
English/Espanol/Portugues/Svensk/Norsk (E/E/P/S/N) - These are identified on the spine as the No.2 version
The Word 'MECCANO' on the front cover is in both versions was blue -
1962/3 manuals used semi-gloss paper inside and out.
Early 1964 manuals had a slightly shiny but non-gloss cover and non-gloss paper inside
- 1964 -> 1969
Two different language versions as above - Word 'MECCANO' on the front cover is black -
Covers were slightly shiny. Inside paper is very poor (newsprint) quality which has discoloured badly over the years. Note that some of the last (969) printing had decent paper
Special Outfit Manuals:-
- In 1965 a 'Powerdrive' set was introduced with manual. This was based on the No.4 outfit with the addition of the new 6 speed Powerdrive motor. The manual was printed in Seven Languages (including English).
- In 1966 the Play-set was introduced. This replaced the old 0 outfit, which was withdrawn. This was the first manual that was all in colour. Instead of photographs it featured colour drawings of all the models. The manual consisted of a single folded sheet of paper. In 1968/9 ??, the set contents were revised and the manuals changed. The models were revised and were the same as the following 1970 No.1 set
- In 1967 a 'Junior Powerdrive' set was introduced with manual. This was based on the No.3 set with the addition of the new Junior Powerdrive motor. The manual was printed in Seven Languages (including English).
- In 1968 a motorised 2MS set was introduced using the Junior Powerdrive Motor and the No.2 set. A 2MS supplement manual was introduced for it.
Page last updated - 14 June 2010
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