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Part 19b: 3'' pulley

19b3'' pulley with boss1918-446N°4
All sorts of pulleys in a whole lump of colours!
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The parts

The very first of these pulleys had four separate spokes, rather like an enlarged version of the 2" pulley.  You can see an example at the top left of this photograph.

For a while the part was one of the few with a larger ½'' boss (as kept on the 3'' sprocket and 6'' pulley), but that was replaced with a standard 3/8'' boss in 1928.  As you can see from this photo though, the part has been through many colour combinations, including several reds and a couple of blues.

Three groove widths, wide (28-41), medium (pre-28), narrow (post-war)
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Chronological variations

Pulley width

Other than colour variations there is one major difference over the years: the width.  There appear to be five different widths for the 3'' pulley over the years:

Boss size

Most 3'' pulleys have the standard brass 3/8'' boss.  Some early nickel-plated pulleys were plated after adding the boss, so the boss is nickel-plated too.  The earliest brass bosses are longer than the later (post-1930) ones. During the early 20's, however, they had a larger ½'' boss, also brass but occasionally overplated with nickel.  During the start of the war, pulleys were also made for a short while with a 3/8'' boss made of Mazac (an alloy of zinc and aluminium).  This dates from 1940/41 or perhaps even later.


It will be seen that early pulleys were made from two different stampings, one has four rivets which pass through four holes on the other side of the pulley and hold the pair together.  Stampings on these pulleys are often on only one side, and then the boss is added.  From around 1928 or perhaps later, the pulleys are made from two identical stampings, each with two rivets passing through the other side.  The markings on these pulleys are generally identical on both sides of the pulley.  There are some difficulties here – the example of the 19b.re shown below is believed to be mid-30's by its width and colour, and yet is asymmetrical and so doesn't fit with the other examples.

Overall size

Earlier pulleys are in fact slightly less than 3'' overall diameter.  They tend to be approximately 2 31/32'' (about 75mm).  Later pulleys, from the 30's onwards are 3'' overall, just over 76mm.  It may be that this variation coincides with the symmetry change above.

Variations and oddities

Round and square holes in the centre of pulleys
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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,
Clive Weston
Loading picture 3inpulleyholes In the "don't try this at home" department, Clive Weston has noticed that early red pulleys are found with both round central holes and slightly rounded square holes. This variation is presumably part of the developments in securing the boss of the larger circular parts, and the asymmetrical stampings would also tend to date these parts to the late 1920s. See the discussions on the central hole in the hub disc (part 118) and the boss changes to the sprocket wheels (part 95) for more related information.

Dealer spare parts boxes

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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
Descriptionfrom19b Boss Width
Black steel, four spokes, eight holes, 9/32'' wide18.bk1standard9/32'' (7mm)
Slots instead of spokes, black??.bk2standard9/32'' (7mm)
Nickel plated20.nistandard9/32'' (7mm)
½'' boss, nickel plated all over22.ni1½'' nickel9/32'' (7mm)
Nickel plated, ½'' boss in brass??.ni2½'' brass9/32'' (7mm)
Dark red with ½'' boss 26.dr1½'' brass9/32'' (7mm)
Dark red, standard boss, narrow groove, ¼'' wide28.dr2standard 1/4'' (6mm)
As above with dark green rims??.rg1standard 1/4'' (6mm)
Dark red, widest groove, 5/16'' wide??.drstandard5/16'' (8mm)
As above with dark green rims 33.rgstandard5/16'' (8mm)
Navy blue 34.nbstandard5/16'' (8mm)
Red 37.restandard5/16'' (8mm)
Red with black rims, otherwise as above 38/39.re1standard5/16'' (8mm)
Red with mazac boss (early wartime) 41/2?.re2mazac5/16'' (8mm)
Bright red, as above, post-war stamped 45-47.re3standard5/16'' (8mm)
Black, widest groove ??.bk3standard5/16'' (8mm)
Black, post-war, narrowest groove, 7/32'' wide46.bkstandard7/32'' (5mm)
Blue 58.blstandard7/32'' (5mm)
Yellow (crane kit only) † 76-80.yestandard7/32'' (5mm)
Dark yellow 78.dystandard7/32'' (5mm)
Dark blue (very unusual) #sup1; 79.dbstandard7/32'' (5mm)


¹  This very rare dark blue 19b is overpainted from dark yellow, including the boss, and found by Rob Mitchell.  It appears to be genuine, and John Ozyer-Key agrees. Does anyone else have one of these we could confirm for sure?

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

Rob Mitchell      (at 4:31am, Fri 24th Jun, 11)

I'll venture into DBY territory again and claim to have a dark blue 19b. The shade and finish look right, a flaw in either immediately exposing a DIY job. A couple of scratches reveals the late 1970s yellow underneath and the boss is painted. It looks like this originally mustard yellow 19b, complete with boss, went down the dark blue paint line! Some 52s of the same vintage are known to have been similarly treated.

Tim G      (at 1:34am, Sun 5th Dec, 10)

According to a US market price list of January 1917, this part was initally numbered 19A and (it would appear) replaced the 3" spoked wheel which had occupied that number. Was this an aberration in the literature for that market or apparent in other the UK / other markets as well?

derek willetts      (at 10:48am, Wed 3rd Feb, 10)

Hello Kendrick,

I always associated Erector with meccano, I wasn't aware Gilbert bought up meccano USA.

Thanks for the info.



Kendrick Bisset      (at 2:54pm, Tue 2nd Feb, 10)


Gilbert bought the US Meccano Company, and made a number of items with the Meccano name. The Blue and Gold outfit on my home page is a Gilbert product - with the Meccano name.

derek willetts      (at 2:03pm, Tue 2nd Feb, 10)

Thanks Kendrick, the picture does match my parts and explains the non standard thread. I am currently selling these two pulleys on ebay as I am not a Gilbert collector, (ebay listing no 280460135049 has a picture). I find it strange that Gilbert stamped their parts 'meccano' and not 'Gilbert' !



Kendrick Bisset      (at 2:53pm, Sat 30th Jan, 10)

That sounds like a Gilbert Meccano part, made in the USA circa 1930 - 1933 or so. A picture is available at www.usmeccano.com - look under "parts".


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