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Part 134: Crankshaft

134Crankshaft, 1'' stroke1921-101N°9

The parts

4½'' Crank Shaft, 1'' stroke
Loading picture Crankshaft

First announced in the September 1921 Meccano Magazine, this part is very unusual in having been dropped from the range of outfits in 1929 (when it was included in all outfits from number 3 upwards), and then reintroduced in outfits 9 and 10 in 1937. It was never supplied in the lettered outfits.

Later still, in 1962 it was quietly dropped from the number 9 outfit, and so it is not as common a part as you might first imagine.

Chronological variations

Pre-war (top) and post-war (bottom) crankshaft shapes
Loading picture Crankshaft bends

The most obvious change in the crankshaft is in the shaping of the central portion. Although DMS/EMP describe this as being a change from "pronounced curve" to "straight back", the curve isn't quite so pronounced as it sounds! In fact, the easier way to identify the style of crankshaft is that the "straight back" ones (shown below in this photo) have much more angled sides curving gently into the main shaft. Earlier "curved" crankshafts (shown top right) have sides that are perpendicular to, and sharply bent from, the main shaft.

I believe that this change is approximately at the same time as WWII – all pre-war versions I've examined are as per the top example above, many being stamped appropriately, and all post-war ones are "straight".  Note that the zinc 1970s example shown in the table below has the later-style curved sides, but the crank section is definitely curved!  Corrections would be useful though!

Left-to-right, early cut ends, rounded ends of 1929 and 39, then post-war and finally French cut ends
Loading picture Crankshaft ends

A more accurate dating can be obtained by looking at the ends of the axles. The very earliest crankshafts have cut-off ends (see left-hand example in this photo, with its nickel plating failing). The next example has been found in several outfits from the late 1920s, and has very significantly rounded ends (stamped Meccano FEA). Examples from the late 1930s (middle in this photo) have 'standard' rounded ends, which carry across into the post-war example shown next.

The right-hand-most crankshaft in the picture above is a 1990s French example, which (apart from being zinc rather than nickel plated) has cut ends, and is also a few millimetres over length compared with the surprisingly consistent Binns Road parts.

For the moment, I won't distinguish between the 1929 and 1939 style ends shown above, as this change appears a little too subtle unless we get a lot more information. However, it appears to be fairly consistent so far.

Variations and oddities

None known

Dealer spare parts boxes

I don't have any of these -- do you have any pictures?

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
Nickel plated, curved centre section, cut ends21.ni1
Nickel plated, curved centre section, rounded ends20s.ni2
Nickel plated, straight centre section, rounded ends48.ni
Blackened steel, straight centre section, rounded ends †51-52.bs
Zinc plated, straight centre section, rounded ends66?.zn
Zinc plated, straight centre section, cut ends85.zn1

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!

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