|Meccano Cabinets for the largest sets started out as a combination of lift-out trays and drawers. From 1958 the cabinets used drawers only. They were usually made of oak, which has its drawbacks as mentioned in the next page. Some cabinets were made of mahogany and some were made of teak.|
|The first "large" Meccano Set in a chest was the Number
7 Set which was produced from 1922 until 1935. It was a very comprehensive
set and included a Clockwork Motor, Electric Motor No. 1 (4-volt) and a 4-volt
Accumulator. In 1927 the Motor was changed to a 6-volt version and the Accumulator
was removed from the set. All the Meccano electrical accessory parts were included.
From 1929 the chest was enamelled. The handles (both front and side) probably changed from cup handles at the same time to the type shown on the L set below.
|In 1936 the L set was introduced. This was the
largest and most comprehensive set ever issued by Meccano Ltd. The steam engine in
this illustration was not included in the set. The chest was identical to the Number
7 Set. The limited-swing side handles lift up to be square to the
body (so they don't crush your fingers when you lift); the smaller ones on
the two front drawers are probably standard for the time with no special
features other than folding flat when not in use.
This illustration is from the December 1997 edition of Constructor Quarterly. Subscriptions to this publication are available from Robin Johnson, 17 Ryegate Road, Crosspool, Sheffield, S10 5FA, UK.
|Marketing sets in alphabetical order had not been a success for Meccano
Ltd. Few people have an 'ordinal' recognition of the position of letters in the
alphabet. Hence a numeric system was brought back and the largest Meccano set in
1937 was the Set 10. The set 10 had fewer parts than the L set or
even the previous No.7 set, however it utilized more parts in the largest models.
were two lift-out trays and parts were strung onto cardboard as can be seen in this 1950's
example of the set. The first Set 10 chests were enamelled in green and the internal
layout was slightly different. This chest, referred to as the presentation chest, was
produced up until the end of 1958. Although it continued for another
two years until 1960, and was known as the outfit 10P The side lifting handles were
exactly the same limited
swing feature, but are of a slightly different design to those of the
|In 1958 Meccano Limited changed the set 10 chest to a four drawer cabinet.
It had round white handles and an "oak" finish. Around 1973 the
cabinet was changed to a "teak" finish and the handles were changed to L shaped
aluminium. The drawers were also no longer flush, but overlapping. Parts were
still strung onto cards. An illustration of this cabinet with the aluminium handles is
on the next page.
Click to see the stringing cards for this set.
|In 1977, at the end of the mid blue, yellow, zinc period, a 3-drawer
cabinet was introduced. It had L-shaped aluminium handles, overhanging drawers, and
white moulded plastic trays for the parts. The top drawer contained the long girders
at a skew angle. Parts were no longer strung on cards instead they were loosely
placed in the trays.
This illustration shows parts in the 1978 Dark Blue and Yellow colours. This was the last cabinet sold by Binns Road before the closure of the factory in 1979. Click to see larger image.
The last Number 10 Meccano Cabinet. These sets were discontinued by Meccano S.A. in 1992. It was a 5-drawer cabinet with round wooden handles and the inserts were vacuum-formed trays within the drawers. They also produced an earlier 4-drawer version. The middle or third drawer, which is only partially opened in this promotional photograph, contained only the manuals. In some cases Meccano S.A. added two complete MO (black) motor kits and one complete MR (red) motor kit.
John Evans, Roland Jaggard and others have kindly provided photographs of various sets that built up to the Set 10. Click here for the index.
|Joerg Tuor has kindly
provided an excel file with the contents of the
sets from 1926 (then a number 7 set), 1949 1955 and 1986 set 10.
On the next page is an illustration of the 1977 Binns Road Set Ten Cabinet and detailed measurements of it provided by Paul Dale. Melvyn Wright has also provided photographs of the internal drawers.