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mec7r.jpg Electric Crane R

This model from 1928 is of a Mobile Electric Crane is a model of the mobile type of crane that would have been a common sight in British railway goods yards and industrial sites from the 1920s until the 1950s. When I was a small lad our local British Railways goods yard (Gravesend East) had one such crane in the 1950s. I remember it noisily and slowly trundling around on solid rubber tyres.

The model is No 20 in the Meccano Super Model series of leaflets and was first published in 1928. In November 1932 the Meccano Magazine had a big feature on the crane with a cover picture (shown below) and article about the original crane and also promoting the Meccano Special Model leaflet. 

The model itself is a fairly accurate representation of the prototype, a 6 tonne MMNovember1932Ransomes and Rapier petro-electric crane. The prototype crane, as in the Meccano model has front wheel drive with rear caster steering. Petro-electric refers to the fact that there is a petrol engine driving a generator that provides power for electric motors one for each of the operations of the crane. However the model is poorly designed with regard to the operating mechanism which is operated from a single Meccano motor in this case the E20R(S).

If I were to ever build it again I would redesign the mechanism from scratch using small modern motors one for each function.  The last paragraph of the instructions is sub headed "Final Adjustments."  If any Meccano Boy had got that far he would certainly need to make some! An updated version of the model was published in Meccano magazine in the late nineteen fifties several other versions were produced over many years but none had quite the charm or realism of this model.

Shown below is an illustration from the original leaflet.


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The monochrome picture below is taken from the Super Model leaflet shows the prototype of the crane lifting an early wooden shipping container in a railway goods yard circa late 1920s.

original prototype

Page revised May 08 2015

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