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Part 137: Wheel Flange

137Wheel Flange1922-4104N°9
Wheel Flange in medium red, from 1948-57
Loading picture Wheelflange

The parts

The Wheel Flange was introduced in the May 1922 Meccano Magazine, along with the Handrail Support.  It was intended to be bolted to a Face Plate (part 109) to form a larger flanged wheel for trains.  As well as four bolt holes, it has a central hole for the boss to pass through, and a square recess resembling those in stringing cards to allow a set screw to pass through the centre.  In this way the Face Plate can be bolted either way around to the Wheel Flange.

Four were supplied in outfit 7 of late 1924, obviously in order to make train driving wheels (as in the 1925 Manual model 715 "Locomotive and Tender").  This increased to ten in 1930 and the later outfit L, needed by model 7.16 and L13 "4-2-2 Locomotive and Tender".  But in addition to this, one was supplied in the smaller outfit 6. 

Introduction of Wheel Flange, May 1922 MM
Loading picture Handrailnewparts1

It appears almost invisibly in the earlier 1924 manual model 627 "Automatic Weighing Crane".  In this model, the Wheel Flange is to be bolted to a 3" pulley and the space around the edge filled with 3/8" balls in order to make a smooth roller bearing.  We are used to this in the post-war outfit 9.  In 1924, however, the balls were not supplied with the outfit and a rather weak mention is made that the balls "may be obtained separately" and yet "the crane will work well without the ball bearing".  There is no explanation or picture showing where the Wheel Flange goes – the only mention is in the parts listing.  This must have confused a few Meccano boys!

Chronological variations

Clive Weston has reminded me to point out that the Wheel Flange in fact makes the tread of a wheel – the flange is the Face Plate!

More importantly, it wouldn't have fitted the new 3" pulleys anyway, as by this time they had had their bosses increased to ½'' diameter.  The manual model might well have been made with earlier 3/8'' bossed pulleys.  Either way, the Wheel Flange was very soon changed to have a half-inch hole in the centre, thus allowing it to be fixed to the 3" pulley and the larger Sprocket Wheels too.  We can't date this exactly, but it is obviously after the announcement picture in the Meccano Magazine shown above and before the note in the October 1926 Meccano Magazine where it is mentioned that "The centre... is perforated to fit over the boss of a 3" Pulley Wheel".  We can see that the part had the larger centre by this time.  Small-hole nickel part 137 are few and far between.

32-33 Royal Blue (left), 58-69 Blue (centre), 78-79 Dark Blue (right) compared
Loading picture Threeblues

Unusually, this part changed from light red to blue in 1958 (so it matched the 3" pulleys but not the light red and later black Face Plates), and then to zinc plate in 1970 (so it wouldn't match either!).  This strange colour sequence is not well documented in most existing literature. 

It's interesting to note how similar the 1932-33 Royal Blue is to the 1978-79 Dark Blue in the photo to the right comparing the three blues.  The pre-war blue is very slightly more purple and intense, but the difference is not substantial.  The photograph shows more difference than is obvious to the naked eye, although usually the condition of the part is the bigger giveaway.  Dark Blue parts are stamped Made in England, of course.

Blueprint for part 137, Wheel Flange
This image is taken from the original set of Meccano blueprints used by the factory.
These originals were scanned by Tim Edwards, and the scans can be viewed
on www.meccanoindex.co.nz by clicking on the link in the text.
Loading picture bp137

The blueprint to the right shows the Wheel Flange, with few surprises. This drawing is dated 15th April 1941 (obviously a replacement for the original). This part then went through the following changes:

25/8/45:Made in England stamping added
30/12/53:Width of blank increased from 2 3/4'' to 2 13/16''

I don't know whether we can identify this tiny increase in the blank size, particularly as the nominal depth of the part seems to be unchanged at 19/64''. Perhaps a little measuring might be in order, if you can't sleep.

The original blueprints for this part can be seen by clicking here.  

Variations and oddities

None known

Dealer spare parts boxes

Medium red wheel flanges in 1954-57 pack
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,
William Irwin
Loading picture Wheelflangespareparts3
Blue wheel flanges in 1958-on pack
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,
Les Megget
Loading picture Wheelflangespareparts

To the left above, a box of three Wheel Flanges dating from between 1954 and 1957, in medium red. To the right, another set from the later period between 1958 and the early 60s.  Note that this box has the light green label indicating the colour change, which is to blue (not light red or light green!).

Dark blue wheel flanges in very late UK bag
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 Wheelflangespareparts2

To the right is a bag of dark blue Wheel Flanges in the very last style of UK packaging, thought to be 1980-81.

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, larger 3/8'' central hole22.ni1
Nickel plated, ½'' central hole24?.ni
Dark red27.dr
Royal blue32.nb
Medium red (pre-war stamping)34.mr1
Medium red (post-war stamping)45.mr
Zinc plated70.zn
Army Multikit green (part 416) †72.am
Highway Multikit yellow (part 314) †73.ye
Dark blue78.db
Dark yellow (Highway Multikit part 314) †78.dy

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

NP      (at 8:59pm, Wed 5th Jan, 22)

A very late answer to Old_Blue_Gold's point, though not related to part 137: The very earliest turned brass flanged wheels (up to approx. 1910) had a lovely conical tread :-)

John orchard      (at 9:46am, Sun 13th Jul, 14)

Very interesting article on spoked wheels as I have just acquired some and could not figure out lack of bosses

Tony      (at 9:22pm, Sun 15th Dec, 13)


Do you have a 1950. transformer. the one I have in mind is a heavy bakalight one with 2 push buttons on the top to take the wires.

Thanks. Tony.

Old Blue Gold      (at 10:49am, Fri 3rd May, 13)

As I mentioned in the flanged wheel department the tread on a railway wheel is conical not flat. Flat treads do not work on railways - even model railways, so it is not possible to make a Meccano railway vehicle with proper wheels. Funny that Meccano who made Hornby Trains with proper wheels didn't supply a Meccano wheel for railway vehicles.
Or am I just being pedantic?

Derni      (at 3:28pm, Mon 1st Nov, 10)

I have the odd prewar wheel flange with an extra hole on its face. The hole is offset and does not form part of the pattern of the four normal holes. Although the extra hole could have been drilled by someone, it looks "factory" in its size and finish and it lines up with the other holes in certain ways to allow spacing for a strip etc. Probably another Binns Road mystery

Dick watson      (at 12:03pm, Mon 1st Nov, 10)

I think that you ought to point out that, although part 137 converts a faceplate into a flanged wheel, it actually provides the tread of the completed wheel.

Reply: Clive was right in telling me to put the little side comment on here (see the blue label further up the page), but wrong to say that it would stop people complaining that it wasn't a flange! :-))

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