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Part 19a: Spoked Wheel, 3''

Early Meccano wheels were limited to the small pulleys and flanged wheels. Models of trucks and motor vehicles at the time suffered from terribly small and ugly ones. At last, in 1915, Meccano introduced the 3" spoked wheels, often referred to as "artillery wheels" (although this was never an official Meccano term). Initially without a boss, they could only be placed loose on an axle. Eventually in 1920, they gained a boss and became a very significant part of the look of many Meccano models.

19aSpoked Wheel, 3''19151978440n/a

The parts

Four spoked wheels formed the centrepiece of the
larger outfits from the 20's onwards
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Loading picture Spoked wheels

A typical Meccano model from the 20's using the spoked wheels
Loading picture Field gun After their introduction, the spoked wheels became one of the most recognisable parts of a Meccano model during the 20's. In the manuals of the period, many of the models are built around them, often showing military equipment but also cars and trucks. The image to the right is model 5.16 "Field gun and carriage" from the 1929 manual.

Chronological variations

As stated above, the spoked wheel had no boss from 1915 through to 1920. It was therefore not possible to use it on a motorised model, except by the clumsy and unreliable method of jamming it between two collars or other bossed parts. Bosses were initially attached to only one side of the thin steel pressing, and these often came out or caused distortion of the wheel edge. By 1922 a special boss (unique to this part) had been devised to go through both sides, making a much more durable wheel.

A range of spoked wheels from approximately 1924, 28, 46, 50's and 70's
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William Irwin
Loading picture Spoked wheels five Once the final form was reached, spoked wheels went through a range of colours. The photograph above shows the early (1922) gloss black, (double-tapped from 1924), Dark red from 1928, Matt black post-war, Light red from the late 50's, and gloss black again from the 70's. The post-war parts are stamped Meccano Made in England, of course.

Variations and oddities

Dealer spare parts boxes

Spoked wheels in early (50's) and later (58-onward) dealer boxes.
Note that the 'medium red' yellow label one denotes black parts
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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 Spoked wheels boxes The spoked wheel continued to be available as a spare part after the war, in a strange light red colour. They were available from probably around 1958 in light red. These are not very common as they were expensive parts that were never supplied in any outfits, and looked somewhat old-fashioned by then.
70's style bags containing gloss black spoked wheels
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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 Spoked wheels bags By the 70's, spoked wheels had changed back to black, but now in a gloss finish. They are supplied in clear plastic bags with a yellow or white label as was common in this era.

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
Ten spokes, black, no boss15-20.bk1
Grey with one hole at 1/8'' diameter??.gy
Ten spokes, gloss black, boss on one face only20-22.bk2
Gloss black, boss through entire wheel, single tapped22-24.bk3
Gloss black, double-tapped boss through entire wheel24-.bk
Matt black, double-tapped boss through entire wheel ²??.mb1
Dark red, otherwise as above28.dr
Dark red, with dark green spokes??.rg
Navy blue34.nb
Matt black (stamped Made in England)46.mb
Light red, stamped Made in England ¹58?.lr
Gloss black70?.bk4
¹ EMP records these as starting in 1950, but this seems unlikely. The post-1954 spare parts box in the picture above has the later label but still matt black parts. It is more likely to have been introduced along with the rest of the light red in 1958 or soon afterwards (Melvyn Wright reports that a colour change wasn't notified for this part when all the other parts changed in 1958).
² Date uncertain. This variation not mentioned in DMS/EMP, but I have examples of both matt and gloss black double-tapped, but only gloss black single-tapped, all with 'Fabrique en Angleterre' bosses and thus all of 20's vintage.

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 2 of 2.   Previous

Meindert D. Buis      (at 2:24pm, Wed 16th Mar, 11)

I have some that are stamped in the metal aroud the boss, and on others the stam is on the boss.
What is the difference in age?

Wes Dalefield      (at 7:34pm, Thu 18th Mar, 10)

I want to buy a black one - to replace a damaged one on a display model of mine.

Jason      (at 1:19pm, Wed 16th Jul, 08)

Thanks for that. Trimming tyres? Sacrilege!

Jason      (at 12:22pm, Wed 16th Jul, 08)

How does one get 3 inch tyres to fit these wheels without falling off?! Some of the models shown in MMQ show this but I cannot see how the tyres can stay on. Perhaps I am missing something.

Reply: You don't, except by bodging (trimming off the inside of the tyres and using glue). They were never designed to take tyres.

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