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Early No. 6 Outfits

 
 

Here is a gallery of early (1909 - 1916) Number 6 outfits. In the US, The No. 6 outfit was the largest outfit sold until the Gilbert era (circa 1929 - 1939). From 1909 through 1916, these outfits were sold in wood boxes. There were some variations in these boxes, and these pictures are presented to show some of the variations (as well as to show off these outfits!).

The pictures are of three outfits. The oldest, from 1910, is courtesy John Case of Washington State. It is a nearly unused outfit in outstanding condition. The next oldest is from 1912, and is courtesy of Lou Boselli. Lou worked very carefully to restore this set, and has done a beautiful job. When he got the outfit, it was very nearly complete, so he was able to match the parts present for an accurate restoration. The last outfit pictured is from my collection. The parts indicate that it probably is a US outfit from around 1916. The wood boxes were not sold in the US after 1916, although they continued to be available in England.

These pictures are arranged with similar views of the three outfits placed together, so that you can easily compare the boxes (and outfits) with each other. The pictures on this page are as small as I felt they could be for the comparisons, but they are too small to show any great detail. Larger images, in groups by outfit, are available for the 1910 and 1912 outfits, by clicking on the outfit picture. For example, if you want to see larger pictures of the 1910 outfit, click on any one of the pictures below of the 1910 outfit, and you will be taken to a page with all of the large pictures of that outfit. I will not add pictures of the 1916 outfit, because it is not in good shape, it is not complete, and I am not sure it is a US outfit.

1910 No. 6Here is a view of the 1910 outfit. The clear covering over the brassware (wheels and gears) and the lids of the nut and bolt boxes are all glass - can you imagine a child's toy made that way today? The brassware is supported on a metal plate, in this example with a bright shiny plating with a mirror-like finish. The top of the box is made of solid wood, with boards "bound" on each end by narrow boards.
1912 No. 6This is a 1912 No. 6 outfit. The basic box construction is the same as the 1910 outfit above, but the transparent cover over the brassware is plastic in this box. The metal plate under the brassware is blued steel instead of bright plated. Incidentally, the plastic is usually yellowed, and it seems to cause severe corrosion on the brass parts. Lou was able to clean the brass and replace the plastic.
1916 No. 6This outfit is later, perhaps from 1916. This box has no cover over the wheels and gears, and those parts are mounted on a piece of cardboard, and attached with metal clips. I am not convinced that this is an American outfit, but the parts inside do seem to be marked for US sale. The big question is where would the electric motor fit? The US 1916 No. 6 Outfits came with an electric motor (most likely it would have been type A - see the motors in the Parts page). There is no space to fit the motor in this box (or the other boxes shown here).
1910 No. 6Here is the bottom layer of the 1910 No. 6 outfit. Notice the ornate handle - it looks like something from a piece of furniture. The dividers in the bottom are designed to fit the parts nicely. The small patch of green is the felt on the bottom of the box.
1912 No. 6The bottom layer of the 1912 No. 6 has a larger compartment for the flanged and sector plates, which were introduced in 1911. Note that the plates look black; they are actually black or very dark blue. The earliest plates were this color, but nickel plating was used very quickly (probably within a year). This picture has a better view of the ornate handle.
1916 No. 6Another view of the "1916" No. 6 box. Notice the much simpler handle, and the top is simply a sheet of (rather nice) plywood. This bottom layer has dividers similar to the 1912 box. The flanged plates are nickel plated, along with most other parts made of flat metal. The braced girders (wide flat pieces with the lattice looking decoration) were included in US outfits at this time, but not British outfits.
 
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