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Part 107: Table, for designing machine

107Table, for designing machine19161940110
The Meccano designing table, only supplied pre-war
Loading picture Designingtable

The parts

This part finds itself at the end of the special loom parts, and it was introduced for a similar reason.  The Meccanograph was a winning Meccano Competition entry and was apparently a great favourite of Frank Hornby at the time.

The designing table consists simply of a bush wheel screwed to a square piece of timber, and was introduced purely for the Meccanograph.  The image above shows the part upside-down, of course.  Not surprisingly, most modellers simply make up their own (particularly since these are rare and expensive parts nowadays!).  However, it is interesting to note that almost all Meccanographs still use a similar design for their patterns.

Chronological variations

The designing table is found in various shades.  Certainly it is seen as plain timber, and stained both green and red, and also with a very slight green stain.  Black has also been reported, but let's wait for pictures before we make too many assumptions.

Naturally, it's pretty easy to make a fake one, and we can be sure there are plenty of these around. It takes a good look at close range to see whether things look real.  However, the black round-head screws are not common, and if you are really suspicious of course it should be possible to spot a significant difference underneath the bush wheel (and on the reverse of the bush wheel) if you are prepared to remove it. 

This is one of those parts that you should be very wary of paying a large sum for unless you are quite certain of the source.  In past decades Meccano collectors have been known to be considerably less concerned about the provenance of their parts.

Bush wheel removed from designing table
This image does not belong to the webmasters and is copyright.
Please do not download or copy it for any purpose. It has been
kindly provided for use on this site by the image owner,
John Nuttall
Loading picture Tablebushhole To the right is shown the hole cut for the bush wheel.  Note that the indentation is large enough to take the early patent boss bush wheels, as they would have been at the start of the part in 1916.  This example has three screw holes, which seems to be the 'correct' layout.  The example at the top of this page has four screws, but careful examination shows that the fourth screw is slightly larger than the other three.  On the other hand, there are no screw holes under the unused four holes (which there would be if it had originally had three screws), so we just can't be sure.

Variations and oddities

Dealer spare parts boxes

No, never seen one of these wrapped either...

Individual 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
Lightly stained timber square, bush wheel with black round-head screws??.gr
Plain timber (or brown stained) square??.xx
Green stained timber square??.gr1
Red stained timber square??.re

Please send us pictures of missing parts! Hints and tips for pictures
Take a picture of the part in very good light, preferably on a plain yellow background, without a flash but with a tripod.
Ideally, trim the picture to about 150 pixels per inch of the Meccano part (unless the part is particularly big or small), save it as a reasonably good quality jpg file with a filename of exactly the part number, for example 19b.ni1.jpg, and email it to us by clicking on 'Contact us' at the top of the page. Thanks!

Further information

anon      (at 5:18pm, Fri 20th Jan, 17)

Were the screws used the same as the wood screw part number 68?

Mike Williams      (at 4:08pm, Sat 11th Feb, 12)

Was the thickness of the wooden table always the same? And was it always the same wood, or just any timber that Meccano had to hand? Thanks

Jonathan Whitaker      (at 2:09pm, Wed 20th Oct, 10)

To answer Don's question (rather belatedly) wood alwa**hrinks more across the grain than with it. So given genuine tables are 80+ years old they will not be exactly square anymore. Actually this is an acid test for a recent repro unless cut to simulate shrinkage of course. The black screws help but I used to have one where they had been replaced by more substantial screws as the table was very well worn but as Charles states a quick check under the busgh wheel usualy reveals all. Also check for pin holes and whether or not the pierced wood seems too new, though antique dealers know how to patina/stain wood using tea and other crafty techiques. Caveat emptor always!

Ian Pettman      (at 6:19pm, Fri 23rd Apr, 10)

I recently aquired a 1929 dealers cabinet with all but two of the original parts display still intact.Unfotunately some of these wwre quite rusty due to poor storage and the bottom section for the glass frame seriously attacked by woodworm. However the parts inside the cabinet, in the drawers were mostly unused and in very good codition. These included two designing tables, one green stained and the other brown. These appear to be original, genuine and unused. Both measure just under 6 1/2"x6 1/2". Other items icluded miscellaneous dark green an nickel parts, spring buffers and scientific hooks from that period, and some later gold parts.

Don Morton      (at 9:03pm, Sun 22nd Feb, 09)

Were any exactly square? My green stained one is 6 1/2" x 6 1/4".

Dick Watson      (at 9:06am, Mon 2nd Jun, 08)

Until recently British ironmongers usually only stocked roundhead steel woodscrews with a black Japanned finish and only in even numbered sizes. Binns Road may have been able to get No. 7s, the best fit in Meccano holes. It would interesting to know which size was used for genuine tables.
The central hole is also interesting. Does it have a flat or conical bottom?

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