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Parts 78-82: Screwed rods

These should really be called "threaded rods", shouldn't they?  Yes, but Meccano have always called them screwed rods so we'll stick to that for this page.

78Screwed rod, 11½'' 1921-221N°10
78cScrewed rod, 9½'' 19971999Only in set 4840
79Screwed rod, 8'' 1921-000
79aScrewed rod, 6'' 1921-001N°8
80Screwed rod, 5'' 1918-220Earliest part
80aScrewed rod, 3½'' 1921-221N°8
80bScrewed rod, 4½'' 1921-220
80cScrewed rod, 3'' 1937-2N°5
81Screwed rod, 2'' 1918-222N°10Earliest part
82Screwed rod, 1'' 1918-482N°10Perhaps 1921?
The full range of screwed rod sizes, in various finishes
Loading picture Screwedrods

The parts

Just like the axle rods, the screwed rods have a strange collection of numbers.  Originally it was planned to use the 80s for these parts, and you can see from the table above that part 80 was the 5'' rod, 81 the 2'', and 82 the 1''.

Three years later, with the substantial increase in parts and the introduction of the 7 outfit in 1921, more rods were added.  At some point either in 1920 or early 1921, the 3½'' screwed rod was introduced as part number 80a.  Many more lengths were announced in Meccano Magazine number 20 (Sept-Oct 1921): parts 78, 79, and 79a, then part 80b (the 4½'' screwed rod, which explains why it's out of sequence) and part 82, the 1'' screwed rod. 

Hang on, the 1'' screwed rod already existed, didn't it?  Well, we don't really know.  It's shown in the 1918 book of instructions, but is not shown in the list of new parts of September 1919 (parts 80 and 81 are).  In the 1919 Special Inventor's Outfit B, parts 80 and 81 are included but not part 82.  Either it hadn't been introduced by then, or it had been thought of but not actually made until 1921 and its introduction into the outfits from that date.  If the part was not supplied in any outfits from 1918 to 1921, and was not available as a spare part either, then it's doubtful we can consider that it really existed!

Much later, the 3'' rod was introduced into the system (with the start of the 1-10 outfits in 1937), and this received the part number 80c.

The 3'' rod was included in outfits as low as number 5, so remains by far the most common size of screwed rod.

In the 1997 "Space X-plorer" outfit 4840, part number 78c was introduced as a 9½'' screwed rod.  This is the only example to date of this part, which disappeared with the demise of this outfit a couple of years later.

If brassed rods were introduced in 1921, then there should be no genuine nickel-plated parts other than 80, 81, and 82.  Anyone got any?

Cut-off and rounded ends to screwed rods
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Loading picture Threadedrodends

Chronological variations

When first introduced, the rods were nickel-plated steel.  Quite soon after this (perhaps in 1921?) the rods were brass plated instead.  The most noticeable change is from cut-off ends to rounded ends (compare the two ends in the picture to the right), but it is difficult to spot when this happened.  Certainly as late as 1960 many rods still had cut-off ends.

The confusing part is that the earliest nickel-plated ones do have rounded ends, as with the parts 80.ni and 81.ni in the table below, which date from 1920.

Did the rounded ends actually come first, followed by cut-off ends, and some rounded ends later?  I have nothing like enough mint outfits to be able to identify this with any certainty.

Aero part P207, and X-series part X435
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John Nuttall
Loading picture Screwedrodxseries

Variations and oddities

There are other screwed rods that can easily be mistaken for Meccano parts.  Shown to the right are the Aeroplane constructor part P207 (1 9/32'' screwed rod), and the X-series part X435 (2½'' screwed rod).  These are nickel plated and can easily be identified by their lengths.

The 2'' screwed rod was supplied in the Electrikit (and later 4EL outfit) as part number 562.  This part is shown in the table below as it's the same length as the equivalent part number 81.  In the Electrikit, it was supplied nickel plated (and later in zinc).

...but the zinc plated ones are steel
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Loading picture 2inscrewedrods

Ed Barclay has helpfully pointed out that the nickel-plated Electrikit part 81's are nickel-plated brass, and non-magnetic.  Thus we can easily differentiate them from the much earlier nickel-plated original part 81.

However, the later zinc-plated versions as supplied in the 4EL outfit are obviously zinc-plated steel, as John Nuttall demonstrates in the most obvious way possible!  He has thus become the first person to get a picture of himself (or at least his thumb) on the OPM...

Howard has since confirmed that 1½'' (and other lengths) are not Meccano parts, they were made by MW Models.  Still looking for the black ones though.

1.5 inch zinc plated screwed rod
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William Irwin
Loading picture Screwedrodzinc15inch William Irwin has some oddities that need explaining...

I have 4 x 1½'' zinc rods no. 81a as listed in MeccInv as a genuine Meccano item, i.e. not from a replica manufacturer (picture attached).  What puzzles me is that I cannot find any reference to 81a in any official Meccano parts lists, nor in any of Oscar's lists.

I have 4 x 5''' rods no. 80 in blackened steel.  This is same finish as the 2'' Combat set rod.  I don't know where they fit in.

William Irwin

Dealer spare parts boxes

A range of screwed rods in boxes, mostly from the 60s
Loading picture Threadedrodspareparts

Most of the parts above are from the 60's, as can be seen from the light yellow boxes.  The parts in these boxes have cut-off ends.  As the parts were not painted, the yellow labels remained after the change to light red and light green in 1958.

The small tin of part 82 in the lower left-hand corner is from the 30's.

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
Descriptionfrom78 11½''78c   9½''79   8''79a 6''80   5''80a 3½''80b 4½''80c 3''81   2''82   1''
Nickel plated ¹18.ni .ni.ni.ni.ni.ni.ni.ni.ni
Brass plated, flat ends??.br1 .br1.br1.br1.br1.br1.br1.br1.br1
Brass plated, rounded ends??.br .br.br.br.br.br.br.br.br
Nickel plated (Ekit p.562) †62        .ni1 
Zinc plated??  .zn    .zn.zn 
Blackened steel (Combat) †76        .bs 
Iridescent79    .ir  .ir.ir 
Brass plated steel ²97 .br        
Note:  ¹ I personally am not at all sure that any nickel-plated screwed rods exist apart from the parts 80 and 81, as listed in the 1919 MM advert of new parts and supplied in the Special Inventor's Outfit B.  We shall see!
² Only supplied in outfit 4840 "Space X-plorer"

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

Brian Maunder      (at 11:56am, Wed 2nd Dec, 15)

Although the X-series part X435 is listed as 2 1/2" long all mine are actually slightly shorter, seem to be 2 7/16"

Nick Smith      (at 12:47pm, Fri 7th Mar, 14)

79a 6" screwed rod exists in zinc plated steel. I have one from an 8X set packed with a (c) 1997 Manual 9.

Don Morton      (at 10:14pm, Sun 24th Feb, 08)

There is a 9 1/2" screwed rod, 78c in the Mission the Universe Space X-plorer set 4840 introduced in 1997.

Reply: Is there now? Thanks for that. Do you by any chance have a picture of it? Is this zinc or brass plated, and is it steel?

Ed Barclay      (at 10:27am, Thu 27th Dec, 07)

Charles: The Elektrikit 2" Screwed Rod, at least early production, was nickel plated BRASS. I tested mine and it certainly is non-magnetic. Presumably some of the electrical experiments would be fouled up by a magnetic part, hence the use of brass.

Reply: Excellent, thanks for that Ed. My 1919 2'' rod is certainly magnetic, and I can confirm my nickel-plated Electrikit part is non-magnetic. I'll check a later 4EL part...

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