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Part 101: Heald for loom

In one of the early Meccano model-building competitions a winner was an impressive rendition of a loom, unsurprising really given the date and area of Meccano's birth.  Frank Hornby was so taken by this model that he immediately introduced a whole set of special Meccano parts to assist with building looms, parts 101 to 106 (1915/16) and in 1920 part 106a the sand roller.  Many of these parts (including the heald) have no real use other than to build looms, making them the first of the 'special purpose' Meccano parts.

 
101Heald for loom1915197348600

The parts

Both types of heald, the early longer one above
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Loading picture 101 Healds After Meccano Magazine's hopeful plea that "every boy should build a Meccano loom" (presumably because this would mean fantastic sales volume), the Supermodel leaflet number 16 was published to enable some of the best equipped to have a go.  Initially supplied in the Inventor's Accessory outfit A from 1915 to 1917, healds were included in the new largest outfit 7 of 1922, along with many other specialised parts specifically aimed at what became the supermodel leaflets.

After being carried across to the early L outfits, they were dropped in 1936 and only available as spare parts.  They were no longer available after the war, until their reintroduction in 1953.  As far as I can see, there is little if any difference between the pre-war and post-war loom healds, even though they were given a different DMS number in the original classification.  No doubt someone will help me out here...

Chronological variations

Short healds in an untouched Inventor's Accessory Outfit of late 1915
Loading picture Healdsuntouchedinventors

The very earliest healds are slightly longer than the much more common later ones.  Early ones are around 5 7/8'' overall (not between the holes), and later ones are 5½''. I'm not certain of the exact changeover date, but it's very early (in the teens).  The outfit to the right is an Inventor's Accessory Outfit from late 1915, and it has the shorter healds.  Thus we have to assume that the longer healds existed on for a very short time.

There's not a lot of difference when building a loom, except that of course you have to ensure that you have a full set of one size or the other – mixing them up inadvertently will create havoc.

When buying healds, for example by auction or from a dealer or private individual, always make sure that they have checked all the healds are the same length.  Most people don't realise that there is a difference.

William, do you have a late spare parts box of these you could check for the central hole size, and perhaps give us some date confirmation?

Small hole (possibly later) and large hole (possibly earlier) healds
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Loading picture Healdholesizes And just as you think you've got a nice simple part nailed down, along comes John again pointing out the clear difference shown in the two healds to the left.  The central hole of the lower one is diamond-shaped, and clearly larger than the rounded version above.  We can't be sure of dates here, but I have a number of the larger diamond ones in early outfits (and a 1930's era set of wrapped spare parts the same).  Personally I suspect that the smaller rounded ones are later, as they would be an improvement and prevent jamming when building the loom, but we'll have to wait and find more information.

Variations and oddities

None known

Dealer spare parts boxes

Healds for loom in dealer packs
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webmasters, and you may copy it for your personal use, or for a non-
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Loading picture Part101 boxes The top pack of six healds is pre-war, the lower pack of 24 is post-war.  Later on, healds were also supplied in more common yellow spare parts boxes.

Individual DMS part numbers

Part 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).

More about bosses More about stampings More about paint colours
Descriptionfrom101
Heald for loom, 5 7/8'' long??.xx1
Heald for loom, 5½'' long15?.xx
Heald for loom, 5½'' long, smaller hole??.xx2
ALL

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Further information

Mike Jackson      (at 9:20pm, Sun 21st Jul, 13)

You mention that Loom Healds were only used in model looms. However they are specified in the Motorcycle and Sidecar Supermodel Leaflet as mudguard stays. This would have meant cutting and it was seen as customary to specify them whenever a piece of wire was needed. Did anyone actually mutilate them in this way or just contaminate the purity of the system by just using a bit of wire?

Jaap Wieman      (at 4:48am, Tue 31st Jan, 12)

In a 6A outfit from about 1923 I found the longer healds. In the outfit there are no parts older than 1921 (all stamped MFEA).

Le Guehennec      (at 8:17am, Sun 4th Jul, 10)

Ou puis-je trouver des lisses? il m'en faudrait environ 300/350 du même modèle.
Merci


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