Meccano® in the United States
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Dealer Display Cabinet


Almost as soon as Meccano was introduced, the parts were sold separately. At least in England, there appears to have been significant sales of "spare" parts. For example, my Dad's collection of Meccano almost certainly started as an outfit (or perhaps more than one - my Uncle has a collection, too). It apparently was not long after receiving the initial outfit before he started using his pocket money to buy additional parts. Dad told me that he would select a model he wanted to build, and then buy (perhaps over a period of time) the parts he needed for the model. The models were often selected from his collection of Meccano Magazines, where interesting models were illustrated and described, and where a parts list could be found.

This traffic in parts was encouraged by Meccano, and they provided cases to make it easier for shops to store and display the parts. These cabinets eventually came in several sizes, and became quite large as the range of parts grew.

display cabinetHere is an example of a Dealer's Display Cabinet. It appears to be similar in design to one shown in Love & Gamble The Meccano System. There are, however, some differences. This cabinet has a drawer for the parts display board, while the one in the book seems to be hinged so that the top swings up. This cabinet has a 'footprint' 22-1/2" wide by 17" deep, and is 8-1/2" high (572 x 432 x 216 mm).

This is an offer from a US dealer's flyer from about 1917. You can see the hinges at the front of the cabinet, and the joint between the top and base. These features are not present in the cabinet pictured above. The parts have labels next to each.

display caseThe back of the cabinet, with the drawers opened. The inside of the box is not stained, and the wood is light color.

display caseThe parts are attached with thread to a dark blue or black velvet covered piece of cardboard. The 1917 brochure shows a light colored background. The parts arrangements are different, too. The display cabinet in Love & Gamble also has a different parts arrangement. Unfortunately, many of the parts on this display board have been used, so are obviously not correct. Based on these parts, and some of the parts in the drawer (at least the unused ones), I am guessing that this cabinet is from about 1918 to 1920.

display cabinetLooking at the plethora of holes on the back of the cardboard, and examining closely the threads used to attach the parts, it is possible to take a good guess at the "original" parts and their arrangement.
Has anyone seen a dealer cabinet like this? What is the arrangement of the parts? Is this a US cabinet? Were there English cabinets like this?
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