Meccano Model Exhibition 1984

Saturday 6 October 1984
Eltham United Reformed Church

On the Friday evening, as usual, a handful of local members set out the tables and chairs in preparation for the following day. At about ten to nine, a bit later than I’d anticipated, on Saturday morning I arrived with the key and soon exhibitors were busy setting up models. A couple of members tied up posters on various lampposts in Eltham High Street and the ‘tea ladies’ busied themselves in the kitchen.

The first people came through the door at about 10:15am (quarter of an hour before the official opening time) and by eleven o’clock the hall was packed. In fact we had a record 523 visitors which must be due partly to the free plug we had on ITV’s Six O’ Clock Show. Some local newspapers also included short items about the show. During the previous ten days we had a couple of models — both Jim Arthur’s — on a promotional display in the Halifax Building Society’s window in Eltham High Street. This attracted attention from the public even before we’d finished arranging the display!

It looked as though everyone enjoyed themselves and special thanks are due to all those who came from other clubs to support us: David Nye and Ron Stutter from West London Meccano Society, Bert Halliday from Holy Trinity Meccano Club and John McDonald (and family) from North Midlands Meccano Guild. They travelled all the way from Derby and set out at around five o’clock.

In addition, this year we had a continuous slide show consisting of about 130 slides of Meccano models. A good number belonged to Jim Arthur, who had the brainwave and projector, but other members lent some of theirs to make what was an interesting and varied bonus for those partaking of refreshments on the stage.

As usual the refreshment ladies kept everyone well supplied with rolls, cakes, beverages and even scones with cream! Behind the counter were Joyce Ashford, Rosemary Berry, Vi Palin and Cathy and Jean Warrell. They were each given a small orchid as a token of our appreciation.

I conclude by extending a warm welcome and thanks to all exhibitors and visitors from other clubs.

Models on Display

Jim Arthur

  1. A fret-working machine based on a model of about 1935.
  2. A steam-driven lathe.
  3. A collection of demonstration hoists.
  4. An excellent Solent class lifeboat.
  5. A very fine showman’s engine and a steam roller.

Francis Paine

Francis brought a cable rigging test apparatus, and a differential crank reminiscent of Watt’s sun-and-planet crank substitution.

Oliver Paine

Oliver (Frank’s 8 year old son) had his clockwork radar station, a Junior Competition prize-winner, and a troop transporter.

David Ross

Satellite anti-missile search-and-destroy module made from Space 2501 kit parts — another Junior Competition winner.

Les Maher

A fully remote-controlled twin-steering lorry, three feet long. It was an 8-wheeler with automatic centrifugal clutch, 3 speed and reverse gearbox and twin differential to about 1:10 scale. The rack-and-pinion steering, windscreen wipers and individual lights were all remotely controlled. A pinion differential had been shown at the meeting.

Geoff Davison

  1. A sports car adapted from a Meccano Magazine model with headlamps from a car constructor outfit.
  2. A dockside crane with three movements of slewing, lifting and trolleying.
  3. A heavy dump truck (scaled up from a die cast model) with tipping and differential gear mechanisms
  4. Other smaller models including a clockwork tractor, a sports car and a Ferret Scout car.

Bert Love

At the meeting, six models of 1932 vintage, including a powerful clockwork tractor made to order for a two second appearance in the BBC TV programme Nanny, and a beautiful display model at the exhibition. Not forgetting a smashing selection of new Meccano, etc. , parts for sale presided over by his wife, Betty, an always welcome visitor.

Harrun Degia

At the exhibition, a splendid display of fairground machinery driven by a steam engine via a countershaft.

David Myford

A milling machine which was a strengthened version of the model of the month in the March 1957 issue of Meccano Magazine, a Meccano saw bench (12V PDU), and a strengthened heald-making machine from the January 1959 model of the month.

Frank Pycroft

An amazing clockwork steeplechaser, from the August 1968 issue of Meccano Magazine, where the movement of the horse was dependant on the action of the tail counterbalance. A partly built Meccanograph with a 12” diameter revolving table was shown at the meeting.

John Westwood

19th century clay mixing machinery at the Gladstone Pottery: Eight machines driven by a steam engine via endless belts.

John Adams

  1. A sea rescue crane with fly jib and three remotely controlled motors, from the March 1984 issue of the Meccanoman’s Newsmag.
  2. A washer/collar pistol.
  3. A Tower of Hanoi game/puzzle — a job for a Buddhist monk — in transferring rings between three pegs (the number of moves needed is (two to the power of the number of rings) minus one, i.e. : (2n) – 1.)

Frank Palin

Trench excavator based on the late Geoff Coles’ design. The Super Models Leaflet № 5 travelling bucket dredger with some modifications. A clockwork tractor from the June 1930 issue of Meccano Magazine (which had incorrect instructions).

Joyce Schoolar

Scissors bridge freely adapted from the № 8 set manual (with a crane motor) and a geared down earth mover from a 2000 set.

Robin Lake

  1. Orbiting ‘planet’ which travels faster when nearer its ‘sun’.
  2. A machine for producing a graph of the difference between sundial and clock time.
  3. A coach chassis with pre-selector gear box, clutch and accelerator.
  4. Small derrick crane.
  5. Small ‘crazy’ clockwork trike steered by a rocking Meccanitian.

Eric Schoolar

A simple but nevertheless neat and effective designograph.

David Smithers

A massive gantry crane handling a 30lb load. The electrical supply to the crab was via busbars. A very neat and impressive model.

Keith Patey

An automatic bagatelle table (from the Meccano Super Models book).

Noel Ta’Bois

A 3’ square jig for sundial designing and testing with many refinements; and a ‘Concorde sundial’. Also two experimental models for the transmission of rotating motion to a traversing trolley, useful for gantry and Meccanograph applications. One, dependent on a differential, was reminiscent of the Chinese north (or is it south?) seeking chariot. It was made in response to a problem posed by Frank Pycroft.

John McDonald

A Leander class frigate (it took first prize at the 1984 Skegness Exhibition) with working propellers, guns, radar, helicopter rotors, rudder etc. amongst ten working features. They also a half track vehicle with twin cannons, also remotely controlled.


There were numerous other models and people at the exhibition; the fire engine, the Eiffel Tower and the Rye swing bridge, the super Meccanograph and magnetic chase bits track, and the second-hand vendor whose £5 box of old Meccano was found the following day to contain a ‘list price’ value of over £74! Come back again, please! Odd useful but unusual things on sale such as replacement clockwork motor springs.

Your e-mail address will not be displayed in public and will not be added to mailing lists. Please see our privacy policy for further information.

Please wait while we post your message…