Anyone who owned a red and green number 8 Meccano set in the nineteen fifties I am sure would have built the model shown above of a Jumbo crane (model number 8.7) from the 1954 7-8 instruction manual. An ilustration from page one of three pages of photographs and instructions is shown below. I thought it would look good in the short lived 1978 yellow and dark blue colour scheme so I sorted through my parts and here is the result.
The illustrations in places owe more to the airbrush artist than the Binns Road model room but with a few changes it all went together with comparative ease. As is so often the case, a lot more nuts and bolts than those those specified are required to give the model strength.
Criticism aside it is a rather an attractive model, as are many in the 1954 set 7-8 manual.
The crane is almost certainly based on the F. Taylor "Jumbo" Hydracrane of the late nineteen forties, these were early examples of cranes operated by hydraulic rams. These were used to raise the jib and operate the "Jumbo" head, these functions are effectively operated by screw rods on the Meccano model. The steering operates on the rear wheels with a long linkage rod, much as the prototype.The "Hydracrane" design was developed further by Coles after they took over F. Taylor. Coles cranes were always a favourite of Meccano with several Coles models featured in the Meccano Magazine and several Dinky Toys. So perhaps it was based on one of the later cranes. This type of crane was designed for operation in industrial yards and factory sites, not out on the highway especially with the somewhat restricted vision from the cab, as you can see in the prototype pictures shown below. This crane must be one of a very few still in existence was photographed by fellow Meccano enthusiast Ron Corry who came across it abandoned in an old quarry in County Meath, Ireland.
The F.Taylor's Jumbo cranes could not have been exactly a common sight, but "Meccano Boys" I think rather liked interesting and unusual prototypes I know I did ! I also think the Meccano model is a lot more attractive than the original.
April 04 2011 revised May 03 2011
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