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Part 19/h/s/g: Crank handles

The idea of a crank handle, specifically to wind in cord and operate a crane hook, was one of Frank Hornby's 'visions' for all Meccano outfits, and was a feature of every single outfit made (except for the tiny 000 outfit of 1930-35, and the 70's 'Pocket Meccano' outfit). Many complaints were made about the difficulty of firmly attaching a piece of cord to a crank handle, and for a time cranks were made with tiny holes to thread the cord through. The real solution had to wait until 1931, when the 'anchoring spring for cord', part 176, was finally made, although even that wasn't included in outfits until 1934.

19Crank handle, 5½'', without grip 1901193733n/an/aReplaced by 19h
19hCrank handle, 5½'' (initially with grip)1938-n/an/a1N°6Without grip from '67
19sCrank handle (small), 3½'', without grip1928-010N°-
19gCrank handle (grip), 3½'', with grip 19381966n/an/a2N°2Replaced in outfits by 19s from '65

The parts

All four crank types, 5'' and 3½'', with and without grips
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Loading picture Cranks There is a confusing range of numbering for the cranks. Initially, there was only one grooved crank, which had no number. Part number 19 was added in 1905 but had varying lengths. Various lengths were supplied with holes about 1½'' from the end, through which one could tie off the cord. This idea was eventually dropped, and the length settled on 5''. In around 1927, this part was joined by a new shorter crank of 3½'', named 19s (for 'short').

In 1937, with the introduction of the numbered outfits 0-10, a new short 3½'' crank with a grip was added, part 19g (for 'grip'). The 19s remained in production without the grip, for the smallest outfits 00,0, and 1. Part 19 was dropped altogether, but a new 5½'' crank handle with a grip became new part number 19h. We will have to assume that the 'h' is merely the next letter in the alphabet after 19g, unless someone knows better. So we have two short cranks, 19(s)hort and 19(g)rip, and the long one with grip 19h.

Although the grips were very useful, costcutting in 1965 led to the outfits losing all the crank handles with grips. Part 19g was dropped altogether and 19s was substituted in the larger outfits. Part 19h lost its grip, but kept its number because it was the only long crank handle in the system at that time.

Chronological variations

The contents of the largest outfit through the years
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webmasters, and you may copy it for your personal use, or for a non-
commercial website - if you credit the source. All other rights reserved.
Loading picture Crank 10s The picture shows the contents of the largest outfit for the key dates. In the 30's (the outfit 7 and later outfit L), three long and one short crank were supplied. No crank handles had grips at this time. Immediately post-war, a 10-outfit had three crank handles (one long and two short), with nice brass grips. By 1960 (in the light red/green era) red plastic grips had replaced the brass. By 1970, all grips had gone from both lengths.

Crank handles stamped MFEA, and Meccano in two ways
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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,
John Nuttall
Loading picture Crankhandlestamping 1920's crank handles are often stamped "Meccano Fabrique en Angleterre" (MFEA), and the early rounded-end ones with "Meccano". The 19g.re example shown in the table below has "Meccano" stamped in the late-30's style font next to the Erinoid grip. The ones in the photo to the left have MFEA (left) and two different "Meccano" stampings.

Variations and oddities

None known

Dealer spare parts boxes

A range of post-war cranks in spare parts 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 Cranksspareparts

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
Descriptionfrom19 5½'' w/out19h 5½'' with19s 3½'' w/out19g 3½'' with Grip
Grooved crank handle (unnumbered)01.mm   none
Plain crank, length varied 3-5'' 05.ga1   none
As above, hole near end for cord??.ga1a   none
4'' shaft, with pinhole ??.ga1b   none
5'' shaft, with pinhole ??.ga1c   none
plain shaft, cut ends, no pinhole27.ga2 .ga1 none
Without grip, rounded ends30's?.ga .ga none
With red Erinoid grip38 .re .reErinoid
With brass grip46? .br .brBrass
With red plastic grip46 .mr .mrRed
With black plastic grip63 .bk .bkBlack
All cranks without grip65 .ga(see above) None

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

Total number of messages on this page: 10.  This is page 1 of 2.   Next

Michael Walker      (at 11:14pm, Tue 9th Nov, 21)

Richard, the ‘cord grip’, which is often referred to as a ‘Cord Anchoring Spring’, can more easily be positioned on an axle rod if it is rotated at the same time, in such a way as its coils tend to unwind. So, you place the cord anchoring spring against the end of the rod, with the cord tie loop outermost. Then, push it on to the rod, and rotate it around the rod, at the same time, pushing against the cord loop so the spring coils tend to open slightly. Once you have got the ‘knack’ you will then be able to ‘push and rotate’ the spring until you have got it into exactly the desired place along the rod.

Dick Watson      (at 10:36pm, Tue 9th Nov, 21)

This was, I think, the first problem that I found with Meccano. Fortunatately, I soon got some extra 1" pulleys so that I was able to tie the cord to the set screw.

Richard      (at 9:15pm, Tue 9th Nov, 21)

Please could someone give me some guidance on using the cord grip (176a). I have immense problem trying to get in=t on to a rod.

Paul      (at 6:33pm, Tue 24th Apr, 18)

I am slightly confused, as out of my stock of the longer cranks(age varying over a wide period e.g. plain/ brass/ erinoid/plastic grips)NONe of them are 5.5" measured on the straight part of the shaft. Shouldn't the table headers be corrected to 5" ? I have a 1950's Dealers parts display, and the 19h is described as 5" on there.

RobertG      (at 6:05pm, Tue 13th Jun, 17)

Nope - the crank is plain, same as the axle rods.
It wouldn't be blackened, the crank is normally not a brassed or nickeled part, right? (Except some early nickel-period.) Was imagining that somebody at Meccano thought the bright-red grip a bit much for the otherwise sombre set so they substituted black for a while.
It may be that it is a later replacement into the lot, looks like it's the only out-of-period part then. (Thanks for that link, good overview image!)

Bob t      (at 2:43pm, Tue 13th Jun, 17)

RobertG, I would think it would be unlikely that the black plastic grip handles would be from the 1951-53 black period.
See here for some examples
If they had have been, I would think the whole crank would have been chemically blackened.

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