Meccano Manuals 1908 - 1981
The 1916 No.16 Book 1 manual was basically a combination of the previous No.14 manual together with the No.14S Supplementary manual, together with a number of additional new models. Consequently there was an enormous increase in the number of models in the 1916 No.16 manual compared to the 1914 No.14 edition - 325/6 as compared with 133. However the two manuals were virtually the same size, so consequently, many of the model pictures were reduced in size, with often, many models being crammed into a page.
Previously model pictures were engravings, giving a semi-photographic effect and of decent size. Now most of the model pictures were simple black and white drawings. This, combined with the fact that many of the model pictures were now quite small, made it almost impossible to see the details of construction of many models. It must have been very difficult if not impossible to build some of the models in the manuals. The reason for this is almost certainly because of shortages due to war-time conditions
From 1918 a separate manual (book A) for outfits 1-3 was also published. An outfit 0 manual was also published and it consisted mainly of outfit 1 models from the No.16 manuals
In 1918 an additional Book 2 was issued with a further selection of models for all outfits. In 1921 a further additional Book 3 was issued. This Book 3 broke new ground, as most of the model pictures were now of photographic quality and of adequate size and so it was now much easier to see the details of construction.
The numbering of models was sequential between the manuals. Only in book 1 (and book A) were the models arranged in outfit order (but with no break in numbering between outfits). Click here for more details.
The following manuals were issued from Liverpool:-
Outfit 0, Outfits 1-3 (Book A), Book 1 (Outfits 1-6), Book 2, Book 3.
There were very few separate overseas editions (except for the USA). Instead stick-in labels or stuck-in replacement pages etc. were used to personalise the manuals for the appropriate country.
In general the manuals available in America were the same as from Liverpool. However the USA editions were published with a slightly different cover and an American address on the front. They were almost certainly printed in the USA (War time considerations would almost certainly have necessitated this). Note that in the USA, reissues of this era's manuals continued to be used until part way through 1923. Worthy of special note is the the unique American 00 outfit which was launched in 1917. It lasted until around 1919.
It is interesting to note that when the 0-3 manual for the new range of Outfits was issued in 1923, the accompanying 4-6 manual was still of the old range (this era). The revised outfits 4-6 manual did not appear till 1924.
The following USA manuals were issued:-
Outfit 00, Outfit 0, Outfits 1-3 (Book A), Book 1 Special (Outfits 1 & 2), Book 1 (Outfits 1-6), Outfits 4-6, Book 2. (Note that Book 3 was not published in America)