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Part 21: 1½'' pulley wheel

21Pulley wheel, 1½'' 1901-442N°8Part 11 until 1909
A selection of colours for 1½'' pulleys,
pre-war above and post-war below
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The parts

The 1½'' pulley has been a part of the Meccano system from the very beginning, but often sadly ignored. It was originally part number 11, renumbered to 21 in 1909. The flanged wheel (initially 9, then 20), and the 1'' pulley (initially 10, later 22) were always used far more in models and outfits.

Although it gained a tyre at the same time as the other pulleys, the tyre was never included in any outfits and thus remains scarce. Not until 1978 did it gain equal footing in outfits with the 1'' pulley, which explains why they are so common in the very late finishes.

Chronological variations

There were three main developments in the 1½'' pulley design. The very first MME and Meccano parts went through a bewildering sequence of styles with various numbers of holes. These were cast or milled solid brass, with a groove cut in the rim. Most have milled recesses in each side, making them recognisable as pulleys.

With the advent of the "Meccano patent" boss in 1911, the pulley along with several other parts changed to a two-part pressing with separate boss. The two sides are held together by (normally four) smaller holes opened out in the style of an eyelet through larger holes in the opposite face. Again, many varieties are known, as can be seen from the table below. The finish is most often brass although there are nickel variants.

Somewhere around 1920, the 'normal' design appeared, where the part was made from two identical pressings, each with two eyelets fitting into the other face. Both faces also have four plain holes, making a total of eight standard Meccano-sized holes round the pulley. This design subsequently went through all the usual phases: single and double-tapped brass, enamelled blue and red, blackened steel during the brass shortage of the Korean war, and then matt brass, light and dark yellow (rare), dark blue in 1978, and iridescent in 1979.

Variations and oddities

John Bader has pointed out a variation on the standard 1½'' pulley, shown as 23.br3b below, which appears the same as the single-tapped eight-hole version.  In fact the four holes that are peened over are the same, but the four additional drilled holes are closer to the edge of the pulley, and so aren't at standard half-inch spacing from the boss.  Is this a mistake or a common variant?

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
Cast brass, four holes, feather key slot, U-shaped groove01.mm
Cast brass, six holes, feather and tongue key slot07.mm1
Cast brass, six holes, tongue key slot07.mm1a
Milled brass, five large holes, tongue key slot09.mm2
Milled brass, five smaller holes, tongue key slot??.mm2a
Milled brass, four large holes, tongue key slot??.mm2b
Milled brass, four large and four small holes, solid face, tongue key slot??.mm2c
Brass two-part pressed wheel, 'Meccano patent' boss, 4 holes, tongue key slot11.mm3
Brass, '1911 patent' boss, 4 holes, tongue key slot11.mm4
Brass, '1911 patent' boss single tapped, 6 holes11.br1b
Brass, 2 holes, standard boss single-tapped12.br1
Brass, as above but 4 holes, V-shaped groove from now on12.br2
Nickel plated steel discs, 4 holes15.ni
Nickel plated steel discs, 6 holes??.ni1
Brass with 6 holes, as above??.br2a
Brass, four standard holes, four small holes18.br2b
Brass, eight standard holes, single tapped??.br3
Brass, eight standard holes (four further out), single tapped??.br3b
Brass, eight standard holes, as above but double tapped27.br4
Brass, eight standard holes, two sides symmetrical30s?.br5
Zinc plated, otherwise as above with steel faces??.zn
Blue, otherwise as above with steel faces34.nb
Red, otherwise as above37.re
Brass, post-war stamping48.br
Blackened steel 'economy' version of above †51.bs
Matt brass finished71.mb
Dark blue78.db
Dark yellow78.dy

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: 8.  This is page 1 of 2.   Next

kbisset      (at 10:55pm, Mon 13th Jan, 20)

In the text, it is mentioned that the design changed "Somewhere around 1920", but in the listing of pictures, the "symmetrical" design is attributed to "30s?". Does anyone have an idea of when this happened?


Adzeneth      (at 12:29pm, Wed 18th Mar, 15)

I've got one of the 21.br3b and it is smaller in diameter (1 7/16") with the preened holes being set further in than the drilled holes. The preened holes are 7/16" from the centre hole rather than 1/2".
It is single tapped.

Pauli      (at 8:30pm, Fri 11th Jan, 13)

I've just picked up one of the 21.br3b types -- noticed it because it is smaller diameter than normal and came here to check. I can't compare against .br2a or .br2b never having seen these.

Bert Hutchings      (at 2:48pm, Mon 2nd Mar, 09)

I have three pulleys of the 21.br3b type reported by John Bader, and I know that John Martin of Kirby Moorside has several, too. Their four drilled holes are actually at the correct half-inch radius. However, they are only 1 13/32 inch in diameter, and it is the four riveted holes which are further in, not the drilled holes which are further out. They look exactly as though they have been made from surplus pulley halves from part 20.br2a or .br2b, because the diameters match, and the 21.br3b riveted holes are at the same radius as the 20.br2a/b drilled holes.

Jason      (at 8:42am, Thu 2nd Oct, 08)

Pictures of parts 21 and 22 in 1960s silver have now been sent.

Jason      (at 10:41am, Fri 18th Jul, 08)

Thanks. I will try and get some pictures. So far, the flash and the zoom quality have precluded decent images. In the meantime, I can tell you that the parts are stamped "Meccano made in England" and that they are magnetic. The respective bosses are silver in colour and are non-magnetic. I remember seeing these parts coming out of new sets; one set purchased in 1969 and one new old stock in 1973.Meccano has been in the family for as long as I can remember! The latter set must have been a very late silver/yellow/black outfit because the half-inch pulleys were red plastic.

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