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Parts 103-103l: Flat girders

103Flat girder, 5½'' 1916-674N°10
103aFlat girder, 9½'' 1921-444N°10
103bFlat girder, 12½'' 1909-2124N°10Part 8 until 1921
103cFlat girder, 4½'' 1921-042N°10
103dFlat girder, 3½'' 1921-552N°10
103eFlat girder, 3'' 1921-162N°10
103fFlat girder, 2½'' 1921-274N°10
103gFlat girder, 2'' 1921-222N°10
103hFlat girder, 1½'' 1921-364N°10
103kFlat girder, 7½'' 1924-224N°10
103lFlat girder, 1'' 1990-n/a
The range of flat girders, from 1950
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Loading picture Flatgirders

The parts

The number sequence for flat girders is a complete dog's breakfast.  There are a number of reasons for this.  Chronologically, the first "flat girder" was the 12½'' long "Flat double strip", supplied in the HMSD between 1910 and 1915.  This was originally part 8, but was not supplied in any Meccano outfits.

The Loom model called for 5½'' flat girders to hold the shuttle in the slay.  This part was duly launched as part 103, "Flat girder, 5½'', for Looms".

The other flat girders were effectively launched in 1921, when the 12½'' flat girder was reintroduced as part 103b.  The smaller versions were numbered from 103c to 103h.

In 1924, the 7½'' flat girder was added to the list, and numbered with the next available suffix of 103k.  Much later on, in 1990, the 1'' flat girder was added to the system and numbered 103l, although this part was never manufactured in the UK.

Somewhere around 1995, Meccano SA introduced parts 103r (24½'' flat girder) and 103t (18½'' flat girder) to the system (Meccano SA took over in 1992, but the first parts list to show these is 1995). This didn't take much effort, of course, it was just a matter of not folding up parts 7 and 7a.

Although flat girders are extremely useful in all models from large to small, they were incredibly missing from all outfits after 1937 except for the largest outfit 10.  Pre-war they were included in outfit 4 and the later outfit G.  This makes the parts surprisingly rare nowadays, although many would have been sold as spare parts.  They are also by far the easiest 'desirable' Meccano parts to make reproductions of, and so there are very many of these around.

Thanks to Richard Payn and Peter Finney for corrections on this page.

This shortage was made up for with the release of the new outfits 1-5 in 1978, with flat girders included even in outfit 1, and plenty in outfit 5 and the L accessory outfit.  For this reason, 1½'', 2½'', 3½'', and 4½'' flat girders are common in dark blue, but the other lengths are rare as they were only supplied in the 10 outfit.

Squared-off (left) and later rounded (right) flat girder ends
Loading picture Flatgirderends

Chronological variations

Only one major change happened to the flat girders.  The original versions of the 5½'' and 12½'' (HSMD part) had square corners, rather like the original angle girders.  In 1918 the corners of the flat girders were rounded off, matching the change made to angle girders at the same time.  The two end types are shown in the picture to the right.

Two odd flat girders supplied only in the Mechanised Army outfit
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webmasters, and you may copy it for your personal use, or for a non-
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Loading picture Flatgirdersma There was one strange variation, and that was the two sizes of special flat girder shown left made for the Mechanised Army outfit supplied between 1939-41.  The 2½'' flat girder was identical apart from the central elongated hole being missing.  The 5½'' flat girder had only two elongated holes; one at each end.  It seems very strange that these changes were made, at some expense, and only result in making the parts less useful.  A similar change was made to flexible and flanged plates for this outfit, but the outfit is the only example of such an experiment.

It has been suggested that angle girders are not the same as flat girders that have been bent, but the more I look at this the more I'm convinced they are.  The following observations point to this:

There are very few differentiations between the flat and angle girders.  One is the existence of the Mechanised Army versions missing holes documented above.  It has been suggested that the flat girders are made from a harder steel, but I have no way of measuring this currently.  Unscientific testing suggests that a flat girder is very similar to a flattened angle girder in strength, but perhaps someone else could help us here.

Variations and oddities

None known
Flat girder spare parts, from 30's to 50's
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Loading picture Flatgirderspareparts

Dealer spare parts boxes

The picture to the right shows common flat girder packaging from pre-war to post-war.  The top packet with a yellow scalloped label is around 1930, containing dark green parts.  I believe that a blue sticker over the top of this would indicate gold parts.

The blue paper wrapper and diamond with sharp corners is immediately post-war (late 40's), followed by the brown paper wrapping and rounded-off diamond (from 1950ish), then the yellow box including the product code (1954-57).

Later 1950's flat girders in boxes
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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 Flatgirderspareparts3 The image to the right shows how the label changed to light green in 1958 with the change to light green parts. Note that the box for parts 103f and 103g is the same size, and in the picture below we can see that the boxes are also identical for 103a and 103k, and for parts 103 and 103c.

More 1950's flat girders
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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 Flatgirderspareparts2

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, square ends09.ni1 .ni1        
Nickel, round ends18.ni.ni.ni.ni.ni.ni.ni.ni.ni.ni 
Dark green27.dg.dg.dg.dg.dg.dg.dg.dg.dg.dg 
Medium green33.mg1.mg1.mg1.mg1.mg1.mg1.mg1.mg1.mg1.mg1 
Matt olive †39-41.ma     .ma    
Medium green50.mg.mg.mg.mg.mg.mg.mg.mg.mg.mg 
Light green58.lg.lg.lg.lg.lg.lg.lg.lg.lg.lg 
Black insulating †62      .xx .xx  
Silver painted64.si.si.si.si.si.si.si.si.si.si 
Zinc plated66.zn.zn.zn.zn.zn.zn.zn.zn.zn.zn 
Brown insulating †70      .xx1 .xx1  
Army green †72-79    .am   .am  
Dark blue78.db.db.db.db.db.db.db.db.db.db 
Zinc plated (French)82.zn1.zn1.zn1.zn1.zn1.zn1.zn1.zn1.zn1.zn1.zn1
French blue82   .lb  .lb .lb  
Red90        .re .re
Black92        .bk  
Yellow93    .ye .ye .ye  
White93    .wh .wh.wh.wh .wh

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

Laurie Long      (at 12:45am, Sun 4th May, 08)

I am finding your site extremely useful, well done and thankyou for your efforts.
The reason I am emailing is that on my system only about half of the parts come up with any text. Is it a fault with my system or have you not yet completed the task.
Thanks again for a great site.

Reply: Hi, thanks for the comments. No, we are nowhere near finished (and probably never will be, completely). The home page and the parts page show where we've got to so far, but I'm always updating past pages with new information too. Have been otherwise engaged for a few weeks but will soon be back into it...

Dick Watson      (at 8:21am, Mon 10th Mar, 08)

Again, my photo has at last been developed, but I see that you have already got photos. I think that you can remove the question marks as I am almost certain that mine came with a French set 3000.

Reply: Thanks for the confirmation Dick. They are shown on the parts listing as mentioned above. The question marks indicate that these parts are unknown by DMS/EMP, which is why they appear in brackets where the DMS number would normally be. There isn't a question about the part's existence, as we have a photograph to prove it!

Don Morton      (at 5:45pm, Sun 2nd Mar, 08)

I have a booklet of Meccano spare parts dated 1994 distributed by Geoff Wright showing the 24 1/2" and 18 1/2" flat girders, a year earlier than the date above.

Dick Watson      (at 1:13pm, Sat 16th Feb, 08)

I have managed to find the 3 parts in their box and the sun is due to be out tomorrow so that I should be able to photograph them. There will be a delay in sending them as we still use film. The 1981 3000 Manual shows all the Flat Girders in medium blue, but I suspect that only the 3 in sets were actually made.

Ed Barclay      (at 5:39pm, Fri 15th Feb, 08)

Charles: Calais also supplies 37 and 49 hole versions. Part 103r (stock No. 036529) 49 holes and part 103t (stock no. 036530) 37 holes. My catalog only shows the parts in zinc plated finish.

Dick Watson      (at 9:57am, Fri 15th Feb, 08)

I have a 1982 Set B manual which has an illustrated list of spare parts, showing 103c, 103e and 103h in a medium blue as well as zinc plated. I have the parts somewhere, mostly in models

Reply: Yes, if you look at the UK parts lists on www.nzmeccano.com/Partslists.php you are right in that the 4.5, 2.5, and 1.5 are also shown in French blue. I don't have this listed yet. Would like to see pictures of these if you could.

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