Printed from www.nzmeccano.com
Part 52a-74: Flat plates
|52a||Flat plate, 5½'' x 3½''||1919||-||8||11||6||N°9|
|53a||Flat plate, 4½'' x 2½''||1919||-||3||6||4||N°9|
|70||Flat plate, 5½'' x 2½''||1918||-||6||7||4||N°9|
|72||Flat plate, 2½'' x 2½''||1918||-||4||4||2||N°10|
|73||Flat plate, 3'' x 1½''||1931||-||n/a||0||2||N°10|
|74||Flat plate, 1½'' x 1½''||1962||-||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
A strange set of numbers, but there is some logic. The first flat plates were introduced in early 1918 (according to Vol.6), as parts 70 and 72. They could have existed in 1917, but there was no manual printing or mention of them during that year. There was no part 71, but Meccano had started to use blocks of ten part numbers for each type of part. At the same time, the 80's were reserved for screwed rods. Perhaps a blank was left for a future size?
In 1919, perhaps after having realised how useful the new flat plates were, the top two in the table above were introduced. This was of course a very easy job, as they were already being made as the flanged plates part 52 and 53. The parts were simply removed from the production line before bending and marketed as parts 52a and 53a, introduced into the Inventor's Outfit B of 1919. You can see from the picture above that part 53a has elongated holes at each end (matching the holes in the flanges of part 53), and part 52a is just an unfolded part 52 (which of course had only two long flanges at the time).
These parts were only available in the Inventor's Outfit, until the large-scale redesign of the outfits in 1922. Even so, they were only supplied in the largest of outfits, which continued as you can see from the last column in the table. Post-war outfits contained no flat plates at all until outfit 9. In 1962, part 53a (4½'' x 2½'' flat plate) found its way down as far as outfit 4, but the other parts remained only in 9's and 10's.
One of the very rare sets of parts that have remained completely unchanged from their introduction during WW1 through to the end of UK production, and even later in French outfits. Nothing more to tell, I don't think!
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Variations and oddities
Here's an unusual one. A dark blue flat plate, stamped as expected, provided by Richard Payn. He has a number of these, but they're considered to be specials from the model room at Binns Road, or perhaps experimental parts. The dark blue is the normal 78/79 dark blue colour.
Dealer spare parts boxes
In the same way as the flanged plates, 1950's boxes for these parts didn't match the size of the parts inside. Boxes generally contained 6 of each part, but you can see from the picture to the right that the mid-50's part 72s are only half the size of the box itself. The later light red part 74s (only introduced in 1962), are in a box that fits them exactly.
Individual part numbersPart numbers for the parts on this page are as follows: Unique part numbers
For identification, each variation has been given a suffix to the main Meccano part number. These suffixes consist of a two-character code for the colour, and if there are many variations, a further number and sometimes letter code to identify each variation. See the bottom of the 'Parts' page for further details.
You don't need to worry what the codes are, just click on any one for a photograph.
The button above turns on and off the display of DMS numbers (where they are known). The DMS (Development of the Meccano System, Hauton and Hindemarsh) published in 1972 and added to in 75 and 82, suggested part numbers for every variation of every Meccano part. These numbers aren't perfect, but they are recognised and also referenced in the EMP (Encyclopedia of Meccano Parts, Don Blakeborough).
|Nickel plated, 20swg plate ¹||18||.ni||.ni||.ni||.ni||.ni|
|Early red (pea-red)||26||.re||.re||.re||.re|
|Blue with gold crosshatching||34||.bg||.bg||.bg||.bg||.bg|
|Medium red with post-war markings||45||.mr||.mr||.mr||.mr||.mr|
|Olive green (Army Multikit) ||73-79||.am|
Note: ¹ Part 73 didn't appear in nickel plate, being introduced in 1931. However, outfits and parts could be special-ordered in a nickel finish up to 1941, and for this reason there are a tiny number of nickel plated ones even though it was only supplied in outfit 10s of the period. Part 73.ni is about as rare as Meccano parts get.
Please send us pictures of missing parts! Hints and tips for pictures
Take a picture of the part in very good light, preferably on a plain yellow background, without a flash but with a tripod.
Ideally, trim the picture to about 150 pixels per inch of the Meccano part (unless the part is particularly big or small), save it as a reasonably good quality jpg file with a filename of exactly the part number, for example 19b.ni1.jpg, and email it to us by clicking on 'Contact us' at the top of the page. Thanks!
- A greyed-out box shows that no part exists for that colour combination.
- Part number codes with a green background have an attached picture of the part, just click once on the code to show a photograph of that part in a separate window.
- Parts marked "" were temporary or economy parts, or existed only within specific themed outfits. The previous part continued throughout or afterwards.
Jason (at 8:00am, Sun 4th Oct, 09)
Malcolm, thank you very much for your message. You have cleared up a mystery for me! The value of this site and contributors like yourself is beyond doubt.
Malcolm Hanson (at 2:54pm, Sat 3rd Oct, 09)
Jason, the cross-hatched part you describe is a 5.5" by 2.5" strip plate, part 195. These were supplied in the lettered outfits of the time to complement the flexible plates by providing rigid alternatives. They were the same thickness as the surviving 9.5" and 12." strip plates of post war years but less thick than flat plates.
Jason (at 12:11pm, Sat 3rd Oct, 09)
Part 53a was found in sets 4 and upwards [sets 5 and upwards after 1970]. It also appeared in the mechanisms department.
Jason (at 12:08pm, Sat 3rd Oct, 09)
I don't know if this message is premature [because the site has not covered part 192 yet] but I am sure that I have, somewhere in my collection, a dark blue cross hatched plate of blue/gold vintage which is drilled as a part 192 but is of heavy gauge metal like a part 70. It most certainly is not at all flexible, although it does resemble a part 192. It has sharp corners.
Jan Andreasen (at 3:40am, Mon 22nd Dec, 08)
I have recently bought some Meccano on eBay in witch were 2 blue no. 53a without crosshatching. I don´t know if You knew theese. I´ll sent You a picture of this
Dick Watson (at 8:32am, Sun 5th Aug, 07)
I have seen part 52a with the slot and saw-cut of part 52, dark red I think. You may have difficulty with Early Red parts, there is hardly any paint left on mine.