Grasshopper Beam Engine


Hello John, Judging by your beam engine model and by your age, I can see that you’re a serious Meccano modeller. I would therefore like to ask you a question regarding an early Meccano model I built with my father back in the early 50s. I don’t remember what the model was called, but the way I remember it is as follows: At the highest point was a hopper shaped like an inverted pyramid. At the bottom of the hopper there was a gate that opened and closed to allow the hoppers contents to flow out. The hopper was mounted about 10 or 12 inches above the ground level. Below this hopper there was a track that ran downwards to ground level and on the track was a skip car that ran up and down the track. The car was pulled up the ramped track by a string that ran over a pulley and down to a counterweight. We filled the hopper with dry fine sand. When the skip car ran up the ramp it engaged the gate at the bottom of the hopper, and pushed it open allowing the sand to run out into a small hopper mounted on the car. Once the skip cars weight became great enough to overcome the counterweight, it moved down the ramp allowing the main hopper gate to close. When the car reached the bottom of the track, it tipped over discharging the sand contents on the ground. This reduced the weight of the skip car allowing the counterweight to pull the car back up the track, and the whole cycle repeated itself continuously until the main hopper was empty. I saw a version of this model on your SE London Meccano Club website called a “sand transporter”. It isn’t as elaborate as the original, but is very similar. I wrote to the builder of this model but he hasn’t asnwered me. Can you remember the original version of this model and what it’s name and number were? I would appreciate any help you can offer. Thanks, and Best Regards, Paul Henderson, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

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