A review of the current state of Meccano (first seen in 1901) reminded me I'd never been enticed by it, or even missed not having any as a kid. I did buy a very small set once, but that lay unused (for its intended purpose) for years after I'd spent an hour or so assembling the suggested example. Thereafter, the various components were incorporated in other things I built over the following years
This is strange, because I do fall into the inventor, techie, geek, gadget-freak, DIY or whatever category, so Meccano should have been a winner for me, if you go by the popular definition of the people who are supposed to love it. In truth, I think you need to have infinite patience to get anywhere. The bits may be versatile, but that means everything has to be built from scratch, and the endless tightening and re-tightening of the fittings stops being a novelty after a while.

I think this definition's just a little inaccurate, and it's probably truer to say that it's popular with people who want to be thought of as belonging to those categories.

Here's my logic: Meccano is/was consumed in vast quantities by those groups simply because it's a handy source of pre-formed mechanical components that can be easily incorporated into their own projects. Not because they can build Meccano projects with it. Those building Meccano projects do just that, build Meccano projects. End of story. Not techies. Not inventors.

Lest my words be taken out of context, that logic doesn't decry them. What it does is move the definition slightly – I'd therefore say they were inventive, they'd have to be to come up with some of the models/creations that have been produced, and to design the mechanics that go with them.

But inventors? No. They're the group that use the Meccano bits to get their own creations built. So it's a means to an end, and not the end itself.


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