Coles Yard Crane

In preparation for the first Meccano meeting of 2016 at the South East London Meccano Club, I had virtually completed another new fairground model which I had hoped to exhibit but due to some operational glitches that needed a major overhaul and time now pressing, I thought about displaying one of my other models but then decided instead to do something different.

Looking at some old photos with a visiting friend, I spotted my inspiration in one of the snaps taken with friends on an outing at Bray. We had parked the car in a yard nearby to and in the background of the picture was this yellow crane with rubber wheels that caught my interest and despite only being able to see the main body of the crane and a small part of the boom I suddenly decided that was what I should have a go at making. My model crane is based on that photo.

That same day after my friend had departed, I started work on the model and it wasn’t very long before it started to take obvious shape despite not having any plans. This was even more of a problem when it came to the details of the motors and the crane’s main functions or any real specifics from the machine and so I decided to improvise and use my own ideas to bring the model to life not knowing for sure how close it might be to the real thing.

I opted to install two motors and a gear system to operate the boom movement and the lifting device of the crane. It was a real struggle initially but after several goes I managed to get the boom moving smoothly and also the satisfactory movement of the lifting hook.

In addition I fitted some lights, steps and a cab with an opening door and four outrigger jacks that these mobile cranes use for stability. Coles Cranes were established in 1879 in London and after more than a hundred years were eventually taken over by Groves, an American company. Fifteen years later they closed down. It’s always sad when things so rich in history come to an end but I must say I am very happy with my sudden tribute model having completed it it within a few days of seeing the photo. It is not the fairground model I had been intending to display, but that will still come later, but in the meantime I am maybe even a little glad that model developed some operational problems, as it gave me a reason to wrench myself away from the norm and turn my hand to something different.

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