People & Places
When Malcolm Booker was just five years old his father bought him a second hand meccano set which only had three wheels. Before he could finish off his first truck he had to wait until his dad bought him more meccano, and it seemed like years before he could attach that last wheel. Malcolm has many memories of a happy childhood spent building weird and wonderful contraptions and models, but that was only the beginning of a fascination with meccano that has lasted over 50 years.
In 1901 Frank Hornby (of Hornby Train fame) invented meccano for his children. The sets were an instant success and they were soon available for sale. Meccano reached the peak of its popularity in the 1930s, with the range and size of sets increasing up until about 1938. However, since World War II ended the range of parts has progressively decreased. Early sets were nickel plated and unpainted, but they were later produced in a range of colours including the traditional red and green. It's interesting to note that Winston Churchill had an impressive collection of meccano, and used it to help him unwind during some of the most difficult moments of his career.
Meccano Modellers' Association
PO Box 101
Terrey Hills, NSW, 2084
Malcolm Booker can be contacted on phone: (02) 9451 8807
Questacon - The National Science and Technology Centre in Canberra is open every day except Christmas Day from 10.00am until 5.00pm. For information about Questacon exhibitions and programs, phone: (02) 6270 2855 or visit the Questacon website on www.questacon.edu.au
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