Meccano Model Exhibition 1980

Saturday 27 September 1980
Eltham United Reformed Church

Our second exhibition got off to a good start with a few people coming in almost half an hour before the official opening time of 11 o’clock. The layout of the hall was altered from last year to accommodate some extra, tables which Stan Bedford’s son, Frank, brought over from the Salvation Army Hall. These tables were certainly needed due to the number of models we had on show. The exhibition was well supported by the Greenford Meccano Society, the Wellingborough and District Meccano Club and the Holy Trinity Meccano Club. I did not have full details of the models brought by these clubs, but a list is included after the description of SELMEC models which now follows.

An automatic fork lift truck was brought by Neil Bedford. The model was not based on any prototype but is similar to many vehicles of this type. Six electric motors were used in the models: The front axle was driven by a non-Meccano motor via a differential, a P. D. U. elevated the forks and a similar unit operated the steering. A 4.5V crane motor shifted the gear lever and another the steering wheel with a 4.5V non-Meccano motor driving the fan. The fork assembly was interesting as it was formed of two columns, one of which slid inside the other, the forks rising on the inner one. The rear wheels were steered through a friction clutch composed of a small bevel gear ‘meshing’ against a 1” pulley with tyre and then through a rack and pinion system. The 4.5V motors used had to be operated through resistors to cut down the voltage from 12V and hence the fan was used to cool the latter. Three front and two rear lights were featured in the model. A length of 60 core cable was used to supply the power to the truck, each terminal in fact utilising four cables. A realistic finishing touch to the model was the use of an Action Man to operate the various controls.

Neil Bedford operating his forklift truck
Neil Bedford operating his forklift truck

Cranes were well in evidence as one might expect, one of these being a 25 ton dry dock crane built by Eddie Oatley. It was based on an actual crane manufactured by Stothert and Pitt Ltd. in 1965 and seen in H. M. Naval Base, Portsmouth. The model incorporated the Toplis level-luffing system and a sliding jib counterweight. It weighed over 44lbs and stood 5’ high.

A 25 ton dry dock crane built by Eddie Oatley
A 25 ton dry dock crane built by Eddie Oatley

A working fruit machine was brought by Brian Leach. It was operated by 2p coins and paid out 4p, 10p, 20p and 40p for one, two and three cherries and three bars respectively (very generous!). The model was operated by an EU1072 motor but a P. D. U. was used for the payout on three bars. Each reel contained eight characters and for payout purposes the machine could hold up to 80p. To operate the machine 2p was inserted in the slot and the reels then started automatically. Brian kindly donated some of his money from the machine to the club after the exhibition.

A model of Doctor Who’s robot dog, K9, was brought by Neil Carter. It was fully mobile being operated by two electric motors. K9 also dispensed computer tape from his mouth and spent the whole day chasing visitors across the hall!

As well as his fire engine and stationary steam engine Adrian Ashford brought a windmill with coloured lights on the sails. It was basically a copy of the model in the 1954–61 № 6 outfit manual, in red/green parts, with the addition of the lights which flashed on and off as the sails rotated. This was achieved with the use of a few obsolete Electrikit parts. A mains motor (rescued from an old fan heater) was used to drive the model.

Frank Palin brought a transporter bridge, based on the cover of the April 1979 issue of Meccano Magazine, the deck automatically pausing and changing direction of travel at the end of the span.

Other models included in the exhibition were as follows:

Stan Bedford — Car chassis.

Paul Bedford — Railway breakdown crane.

Paul Bedford with his railway breakdown crane
Paul Bedford with his railway breakdown crane

Peter Clay — Remote controlled derrick crane; Steam lorry; Space 2501 models.

Peter Clay and Roy Thompson model our very trendy T-shirts!
Peter Clay and Roy Thompson model our very trendy T-shirts!

Geoff Davison — Bottom dump truck.

Les Maher — Short wheelbase racing cycle and twin axle differential gear.

Fred Pragnell — Block setting crane.

Geoffrey Routledge — Fairground model.

Joyce and Eric Schoolar — Clockwork powered water mill; Harmonograph, Road roller; Mechanical animals; Chinaman on a south-seeking chariot.

Norman Simper — Block-setting crane.

Norman Simper (operating his crane) and Stan Bedford
Norman Simper (operating his crane) and Stan Bedford

David Smithers — 7’ high 100 ton monotower crane which used eight motors; 19th century factory steam engine.

Roy Thompson — Forklift truck.

Chris Warrell — Steam excavator; Half track.

John Westwood — Gladstone pottery; Meccanograph.

David Whitmore — 2–10–0 steam locomotive.

David Whitmore’s 2–10–0 steam locomotive
David Whitmore’s 2–10–0 steam locomotive

Greenford Meccano Society — Land grader; 4–4–0 tank locomotive; Fork lift truck; Showman’s engine.

Wellingborough and District Meccano Club — Stephenson’s Rocket locomotive; Fire engine; Lorry.

Holy Trinity Meccano Club — Meccanograph, Showman’s engine; Land grader; Loom.

Unfortunately there was no newspaper coverage due to the Eltham Times being on strike. An advertisement was placed in the Kentish Independent (who employ three non-union reporters) but they did-not report on the exhibition the following week. All the same, people heard about the show. I learned that one person had travelled from Romford in Essex because he heard about the exhibition on Radio London. 154 adults and 191 children/O. A. P. s attended the exhibition which is about the same as last year.

Grateful thanks are due to Adrian Ashford for looking after the ‘posters’ side of the advertising, John Westwood for helping to tie them up and David Smithers for assisting with erection of the placards on the morning. Special thanks are also due to the tea ladies who did a magnificent job throughout the day serving refreshments. They were Mrs. Ashford, Mrs. Bedford, Mrs. Palin and Mrs. Warrell. Thanks also to Mrs. Roberts who volunteered to do the very dull task of issuing admission tickets.

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