Nice article about Meccano, a great scientific/mechanical invention, out of Liverpool.
The modern plastic stuff with all the wrong types of dedicated, non-standardised parts, in wacky zazzy colours, is just not gong to do what we want.
Here are the “Giant Blocksetting Crane”, and the “South Shields Assymmetric Blocksetting crane”, both famous models, realised all over the world, for decades.
OK, OK, OK, we can pay Chindia to build real ones for us, but we lose stature as a people if the knowledge of how to make one is no longer present as embedded in the culture, not as folk-memory but as something which people are proud to know.
When I was a boy, probably about aged 9 or so, I overheard a converstaion between my parents and my maths teacher, Mr Roberts, en ex-WW2 RSM. He was advised by my father that I was building fairly ambitious structures out of Meccano, but said that…
“Well, Mr Davis, here in the school, we don’t really recommend science toys in which the young boys are presented with pre-fabricated metal parts – it kills their initiative, you see. They should learn how to machine the parts themselves!”
Oh well, at least there’s K-Nex. It’s a good toy, but not really a patch on Meccano…
I often think about Mr Roberts, who fought all the way across North Africa, and up Italy, until he fetched up as a maths/Scripture/current affairs teacher at my prep school. If he had seen what was coming in the guise of “education, education, education”, in his nation, I can’t predict his reaction.