Home | Links | Contact |

Printed from www.nzmeccano.com

Top Home Bottom

Part 110/a: Rack strips

110Rack strip, 3½'' 19191979440
110aRack strip, 6½'' 1929- 02N°10

The parts

3½'' and 6½'' rack strips, post-war black
Loading picture Rackstrips The 3½'' rack strip was introduced in 1919, described as "Cut to the pitch of Meccano gear wheels".  They pretty much are, although not exactly.  In order to allow the rack strips to be joined together to make longer racks, they have to have teeth that fit the half-inch spacing of the strips.  Thus, at six teeth per inch, they have an effective DP of 37.7.  Meccano gears have a notional DP of 38, although the 'odd' gears (15, 25, 50, and 60 teeth) have a DP of 37½.  It is a nice coincidence that the rack strip falls in between these two sizes, and thus everything works well within the tolerances of the system.

In 1929, the longer 6½'' rack strip part 110a was introduced, but not included in any outfits.  When outfit 10 was introduced in 1937, it had two of the shorter rack strips included, rather than four in the previous largest outfits.  In one of the number of changes made post-war, these two part 110 were replaced by two of the longer part 110a, enabling some models that needed longer rack strips to be made.

As part of an outfit 10, part 110a continued in production in the 1980s in France.  However, it seems from the parts listings that part 110 was no longer available.

Chronological variations

There is only one significant change to this part, with the addition of extra elongated holes in the parts.  The first version of part 110 in 1919 had three elongated holes (one at each end and one in the middle), allowing the part to be adjusted in the direction of the teeth.  In 1929 or thereabouts, two more holes were made elongated in a perpendicular direction (along the length of the strip), allowing adjustment left and right.

Inconclusive picture in Meccano Magazine 1929
Loading picture RackstripMM1929 DMS/EMP gives this change as 1930, although I personally suspect that the change is slightly earlier.  A 1929 outfit has the later version strips in it.  The date may well have come from the introduction in the November 1929 Meccano Magazine of the new longer part 110a.  The image next to the introduction (shown right) is of a rack strip without the later transverse elongated holes.  However, the image clearly says "A Meccano Rack Strip", and only a couple of inches of it is shown, so this is not claimed to be one of the new longer strips and is more likely part of an old image of the old-style part 110.

The parts listings right up to 1941 show only the shorter rack strip in the older style, and are not updated to the new version until the post-war printings.  We need to see a longer nickel-plated rack strip with the old style holes before we can be sure about this.  If they do exist they are likely to be very rare, as the change to more elongated holes was almost exactly the same time as their introduction.

Early (top) and later (bottom) short rack strips
Loading picture Rackstripthicknesses An additional change is the increase in thickness in the rack strips, the later rack strips being almost double the thickness of the earlier ones as seen in the photo on the left.  This change appears to have been just before the change to the new hole pattern, since Roelf Valkema sent me a picture of a thicker part 110 with the old hole pattern (shown below as part 110.ni1a).  These are certainly a short-lived part.  I don't have my micrometer to hand, but the thickness changes are roughly in line with the difference between short and long perforated strips.

At the very end of production in 1979, we see the shorter rack strip part 110 appear in dark blue (see the table below).  However, the longer rack strip has not yet been seen in this colour...  unless you know otherwise?

Variations and oddities

Post-war stampings on nickel rack strips
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,
John Nuttall
Loading picture Rackstripspostwarnickel Trust John to come up with the oddity, a pair of nickel-plated rack strips with the post-war Meccano Made in England stamping. These would normally be matt black post-war, but not this pair.

Dealer spare parts boxes

Loading picture Rackstripspareparts

The image above shows both sizes of rack strips, in packs of three.  The light green label dates these parts from 1958 to the mid-60's, but is a little surprising.  After the change to light red/green parts, the labels on the spare parts boxes generally only changes for those parts that did change colour.  Parts that remained the same kept their yellow labels.  The rack strips remained black in this period, and yet the labels changed to green, for some unknown reason.

Pack of 1958-63 rack strips
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 Rackstrip35spareparts To the right, another (better condition) pack of 3½'' rack strips, again showing that the contents haven't changed but the label is light green.

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, one hole every three elongated, thin steel19.ni1 
Nickel plated, one hole every three elongated, thicker steel29?.ni1a 
Nickel plated, two holes every three elongated29.ni.ni
Matt black painted50.bk.bk
Gloss black painted70?.bk1.bk1
Dark blue ¹78.db 
Gloss blue/black painted (unstamped)85 .bk2
Note:  ¹  Dark blue 110s are rare (only supplied as spare parts, and only in 1979), but dark blue 110a longer rack strips have not been seen.  If you have one, please tell us below and send us a picture!
²  Now that we've found a thicker part 110 with the old-style hole pattern, I believe that increases the chance of the 110a being available with the old hole pattern.  We'll wait to find it if it exists.

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

Roger from Oxford      (at 7:16pm, Mon 7th Jul, 14)

I have a 1 and a half inch (three hole) rack strip, very rusty but green, stamped Fabriqué en Angleterre, Meccano. Any thoughts on this ?
Your website is very good. I find that I have three 127s (gold painted). I had been told they were broken 128s. They are in very good condition, presumably because the owner had no use for them.

JohnFromPerth      (at 11:26pm, Sun 4th Dec, 11)

I have two nickel plated 3 1/2" rack strips,two holes every three elongated, stamped MECCANO and +32916. Is the +32916 a Swiss patent mark?

Roelf Valkema      (at 3:30am, Sun 7th Sep, 08)

I have 6 Part 110 in nickel with the old style pattern of holes. One has no stamp, two are stamped Meccano RD 671484, and three MFEA RD 671484 of which one is thin and the other two are of the thicker gauge. So I presume that the change from thin to thick was (just) before the change in hole pattern.

Reply: Thanks very much for that Roelf, the new part is now installed above as part 110.ni1a

John Nuttall      (at 5:18am, Mon 2nd Jun, 08)

I have a 1929 4 to 7 Manual(329/10)and also a 1929 00 to 3 (329/50). Part 110a is included in the parts list in both of these manuals. This suggests that its date of introduction should be no later than March 1929.

Reply: Thanks for that John, now why didn't I look there? Great to know your're right up to date with the OPM... now the question is, have you got a 110a with only five elongated holes?

Your name:
Your message:
Security check: (Please type in the text to prove you're a person!)

On this page...

Recent stuff going on: