The illustration above is taken from a 1952 Meccano Magazine advertising an international model building competition. The publicity department must have liked the model as it is the same 6a/7 manual photograph with an illustration of a boy added. The steam roller picture was a frequently used in Meccano advertising during this time.
This model Steam Roller (7.2) is from the 1948 6a manual. These were the first "New" series produced since 1941- 42 the content being the same as those from the early war years. The only change being to the illustrations, these were retouched to remove the cross hatching on the flexible plates, to give the appearance of the new colours, red and green, the green should have been much darker of course. (see comparisons below left ) The cover design of the manual was as the 1945 edition, featuring an early version of the block setting crane and a boy wearing the 1920s Meccano sweater made by "Jaeger."
The inside and back covers show a much reduced range of parts compared to the pre war manuals but interestingly several parts are shown that were never re-introduced; 104 Shuttle, for loom, 105 Red Hook, for loom, 106a Sand Roller, 127 Bell crank, 129, toothed segment (made briefly), 131 Dredger Bucket, 132. Flywheel, 142 3" Rubber Ring and 152 Two Sheaf Pulley block One can only speculate that perhaps it was intended to re-introduce these parts, or the parts being less popular there were still some stocks left over from 1942 to make them available in limited quantities.
Steam Rollers of this type were a common site on our roads when Meccano produced the plans and right up to the early 1960s they could still be seen working. The photograph above shows a typical Steam roller similar to the Meccano model, this was scanned from the Meccano magazine of May 1955 . The roller was built by Marshall and Sons Limited. These machines often had very long working lives in many cases up to 70 years.
This Meccano Steam Roller is a well proportioned model and I think one of the best in the 6a manual. Bending the flexible plates into a near perfect shape, so the steam roller would run along must have been quite demanding for any builder of the model. I originally built this model in the 1950s and can remember the rather wonky rear wheels as I pushed it along. This time I used a plate roller and so ended up with well curved and smooth shapes.
One major problem I encountered when building the rear wheels was the hole count of the 3x11 holes strips joined to make the rim, as shown was not divisible by 4 to enable the 4 spokes to be fitted. This is was easily overcome by inserting a 3x 5 hole flexible plate. Thinking about it now this was no doubt another factor in the wonky wheels of all those years ago.
The Steam Roller shown above is part of an illustration on the front cover of the 1937 -1940 series of manuals. Depicted in a somewhat stylised version to that shown inside.
August 2005. Revised May 18 2015