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Part 136/a: Handrail support/coupling

 
136Handrail support1922-484N°9
136aHandrail coupling1932-02N°10
Handrail Support and Handrail Coupling
Loading picture Handrails

The parts

The Handrail Support, part 136, was introduced in the May 1922 Meccano Magazine, and four of them were supplied in outfits 6 and 7 from 1924.  The sister part 136a, Handrail Coupling, took ten more years.

In the January 1932 Meccano Magazine, a J. Hamilton of Belfast suggested a new form of Handrail Support "manufactured with a boss drilled to take a standard Axle Rod in place of the threaded projection", and this suggestion was well received by Meccano.  The Handrail Coupling was first mentioned in the September 1932 Meccano Magazine, but wasn't added to the existing or the new lettered outfits of 1934.

One finally made its appearance in the new 1937 outfit 10, increased to 2 with the wartime reintroduction.  As a result, these parts are less common than the Handrail Support and it is quite rare to find pre-war parts.

Handrail Support announcement, May 1922 MM
Loading picture Handrailnewparts1
Handrail Coupling announcement, September 1932 MM
Loading picture Handrailnewparts2
1950s (left) and 1980s French (right) Handrail Couplings
Loading picture Handrailbasesizes

Chronological variations

The Handrail Support was originally single-tapped, and became double-tapped in the late 1920s along with other parts. The Handrail Coupling, on the other hand, is only found double-tapped as it made its first appearance in 1932.

The only slight change I've seen is that the very late Meccano France Handrail Couplings appear to have a larger boss than earlier UK-manufactured parts. It's only a matter of a millimetre or less, but is fairly obvious when you view a pair together.

Variations and oddities

Pre-war, post-war, and French Handrail Supports with stampings
Loading picture Handrailstamping

Pre-war parts are stamped (with MFEA or later just Meccano), either around the base or over the top of the parts. Post-war parts aren't stamped at all. Interestingly, my examples of French production post-Binns Road are stamped, the only brassware I can find that is. The photo to the right shows a pre-war (stamped), post-war (unstamped), and French Handrail Support. You can see from the picture above that the French Handrail Coupling is stamped around the base.

Meccano and Hornby Handrail Support
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,
Clive Weston
Loading picture Handrailsupportsmall

One more oddity is shown right. Clive Weston reminds us that there exists a very small part looking very much like a handrail support, that often turns up at the bottom of Meccano collections. This is in fact from the boiler of a Hornby train. Just so you know what it is when you find one!

DMS/EMP isolate a different version of the Handrail Support (but not the Handrail Coupling) with a "flat top". I can't see any recognisable sequence or order to this. There are certainly some Handrail Supports and Handrail Couplings with rounder and flatter tops, but they appear to me to be spread evenly around the chronology of the system and are more likely due to manufacturing tolerances rather than any specific change in design. For example: the early, mid, and late Handrail Supports shown above right have identical tops; yet the middle and late Handrail Couplings shown in the picture above them have obviously different tops. But I'm ready to listen if you know different!

Dealer spare parts boxes

1950s box of three Handrail Couplings
Loading picture Handrailspareparts
1981 (estimated) bag of six Handrail Couplings
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,
Richard Payn
Loading picture Handrailspareparts2

The image to the left shows a late 1950s spare parts box containing three Handrail Couplings, part 136a. As these are brass, the boxes stay the same right through to the silver/yellow/black period. To the right, a bag of Handrail Couplings (even though the label incorrectly describes them as part 136), believed to be from the last period of UK Meccano spare parts in 1981.

1970s packet of three handrail supports part 136
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,
Richard Payn
Loading picture Handrailspareparts3

To the right we have a slightly earlier pack of three Handrail Supports part 136, dating from the late 1970s. Note the incongruous hexagonal zinc plated nuts helping us date these. Below, a similarly dated bag of three part 136a.

1970s packet of three handrail couplings part 136a
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,
Richard Payn
Loading picture Handrailspareparts4

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
Descriptionfrom136136a
Single-tapped22.br1 
Double-tapped28?.br.br
Double-tapped, larger base80? .br3
ALLALL

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

bressinck jan      (at 5:50am, Sun 5th Feb, 12)

I have a Handrail Coupling with the drilling not in the heat but in the base. Is this a commen mistake?

Barry      (at 3:57pm, Thu 25th Aug, 11)

Smrt observation Dave
I guess the picture hase been flipped horizontally before adding the P/No captions. Charles will surely fix that sometime because I don't think Meccano used left hand threads. I know there are some replica worms with L/H threads.

Barry

David R Tanswell. (Holsworthy, UK)      (at 6:36am, Thu 25th Aug, 11)

Hello
Maybe just a triviality, but main photo shows Number 136 with Left Hand Thread.

Dave


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