Top positive review
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A nostalgic book.
on 6 September 2012
Being a child of the 50s I was weaned on Mecanno and still take an interest in it. The quality of other Shire Library Books persuaded me to order this book. If you are not familiar with the series they tend to be books with a modern historical theme - such as "Cars of the 1960s", "The 1950s Home" or "Triang Toys" and tend not to be very long, say, about 100 pages with illustrations and cost around £5-£6. I admit to owning quite a few in the series.
This Meccano book is chronologically organised tracing the development of Meccano by Frank Hornby in the early 20th Century right up until the 1970s/80s when it stopped being made at Binns Road and lost its foothold in the market. The book is well produced with informative text and some lovely photographs and drawings, many of which capture the atmosphere of a bygone era very well indeed. Even if you have a relatively superficial interest in this construction toy I think you'll enjoy this book. It does draw out some interesting thoughts - for example, unlike most other products Meccano actually seems to have decreased in complexity (although I appreciate some sets now have radio control etc). The number of parts in a set, and, therefore, the creativity and educational value that existed in sets during the 50s and 60s has declined significantly.
In historical terms it also tells the familiar tale of a product conceived with typically British ingenuity (just like the Web, the PC, TV and so many other things) but which lost its way in the marketplace due to investment, managerial and other problems only to be reborn by other manufacturers across the world.
Overall, a compact but well produced and informative book for anyone remotely interested in Meccano. Recommended.