Home | Links | Contact |

Printed from www.nzmeccano.com

Top Home Bottom

Part 40: Hank of cord

is a very important thing.
Rope is thicker,
but string
is quicker. Spike Milligan

39Ball of cord 19041913'Card' after 1910
40Hank of cord 1901-666N°1

The parts

Loading picture String In 1901, this part is listed as a "Knot of string", and this was a natural colour.  It soon became two separate parts, the 'hank' of cord and the 'ball' of cord, both of which were supplied in outfits.

By 1910/1911, the ball of cord was dropped and replaced by the 'card' of cord – a short length of string coloured blue wound on to a card former.  The cord changed to black at some point (1912?), and the card was dropped in 1913.  The hank of cord remained in blue, and subsequently went through several colour changes.

This part is very widely fought over.  It is only a bit of string, after all.  However, the Meccano builder has no time for it at all – it's weak and primitively wound, stretches, and is generally not much use for building models.  The collector craves untouched hanks (and cards).  To a collector this part is always 'cord', to a builder it's just string...

Chronological variations

After the very early outfits, the cord soon became a blue colour, from around 1907 and the start of Meccano.  Hanks of cord continue in this medium blue right through to 1929, when they changed to red.  Balls and cards of cord, however, are found in black and a darker blue, as you can see from the table below.

In the 30's, cord was in red, then dark blue, then back to red again.  Other than the unexpected green cord mentioned in the "spare parts boxes" section below, cord changed to green after the war, and remained like this for 25 years.  This green post-war cord is by far the most common, and consists of 12 feet of three strands of three-strand spun cotton, with the finished cord waxed.  It is thinner than the contemporary stringing cord, which consists of three strands of four-strand spun cotton, and is not waxed.

In the 70's, the hanks of cord became significantly shorter, as you can see from the photograph above, both in total length and in 'hanked' size.  After Binns Road, the cord stopped being wound in this way, and was a simple wound hank held in place with tape.  These later 1980's cords can be seen in the table below.

A further oddity comes in the Anniversary Blocksetting Crane set of 1999.  The cord in this set is black and braided, rather like the clock kit cord.  It is much more suitable than standard cord for building large cranes.

Variations and oddities

No.2 Clock kit cord
Loading picture Clockcord The photo to the right shows the white clock kit braided cord, part number 267.  Standard Meccano cord is twisted, and so it untwists and lengthens when subjected to strain.  This would not be acceptable with the clock weights, and so a different cord was included in both of the clock kits.  It's not actually part 40, though.

Strange stiff black cord, probably French?
Loading picture 41black Here's a new one on me -- a strangely stiffer black cord, folded and taped like the 80's French hanks. Much thinner and stiffer than standard cord, does anyone know where this comes from, and where it goes in the table?
Hanks of cord in boxes of a dozen.
This image does not belong to the webmasters and is copyright.
Please do not download or copy it for any purpose. It has been
reproduced from Spanner with permission from the image owner,
Melvyn Wright
Loading picture Cordspareparts

Dealer spare parts boxes

The photo to the right shows the standard post-war box for the hanks of cord, boxed in dozens. You might assume these are somewhat rare, but there are a lot more about than one might think, due to a large quantity being sold several years ago.  What is more unusual is the green hanks of cord packed in a brown paper package. 

Pre-war cord package
This image does not belong to the webmasters and is copyright.
Please do not download or copy it for any purpose. It has been
reproduced from Spanner with permission from the image owner,
William Irwin
Loading picture Cordspareparts2 This package might be pre-war, with the scalloped sticker, and contains green cord of a slightly thicker type.  Pre-war cord is generally considered to have been mostly red (to go with the small red parts?).  However, if export outfits had medium green strips between 1934 and 1941, perhaps they had export green cord too?

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
Knot of string (natural)01 .mm
Ball of cord (natural)04.mm 
Ball of cord (blue)??.bl1 
Ball of cord (black)??.bk1 
Hank of cord (natural)04 .mm1
Hank of cord (blue)07 .bl
Card of cord (blue)11.bl 
Card of cord (black)12.bk 
Hank of cord (red)30 .re
Hank of cord (dark blue)34 .nb
Hank of cord (red)37 .re1
Hank of cord (green) Thicker, pre-war??? .mg1
Hank of cord (green)45 .mg
Hank of cord (blue)70 .bl1
Hank of cord (black)70s? .bk
Knot of cord (blue) (Pocket Meccano)†71-79 .bl2
Knot of cord (black) (Pocket Meccano)†71-79 .bk2
Hank of cord (white)80 .wh
Hank of cord (blue)86 .bl3
Hank of cord (black) (Blocksetter)†99 .bk1

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

Bill Watt-Smyrk      (at 6:55am, Sat 30th Mar, 13)

The stiff black string/cord secured with clear tape looks like the stuff that appears in later (post-Binns Rd) Special Edition outfits.

Nigel Collins      (at 11:22am, Fri 9th Sep, 11)

Just putting back together a hardly used 1955 set 6 and the string lentgh is 14'?

meccanoland      (at 6:09am, Fri 18th Mar, 11)

I found a thicker type green hank of cord in a 1947 No 4 outfit for the UK, so this cord was also used in a short period after the War.

Don Noble      (at 1:17pm, Thu 10th Feb, 11)

I acquired a number of meccano sets between 1938 and 1943 (when it went off the market) adding accessory outfits to rise from No 2 to No 6. All the string was blue, even the string fastening the parts to the box. I never saw any red string.

Charles      (at 10:24pm, Wed 11th Jul, 07)

Thank you for your learned comments, Geoff! :-)

Geoff Brown, Lincoln      (at 10:08pm, Wed 11th Jul, 07)

Milligan's offering cannot be allowed to pass without Hilaire Blloc's........
"the chief defect of Henry King
Was chewing little bits of string.
At length he chewed a piece which tied
Itself in ugly knots inside.
Physicians of the utmost fame
Were called at once, but when they came
They answered as they took their fees
'There is no cure for this disease!
Henry will very soon be dead!"
His parents stood about his bed
Lamenting his untimely death,
When, with his very latest breath
He said, "my friends, be warned by me
That breakfast , dinner, lunch and tea
Are all the human frame requires".
With that, the wretched child expires.

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

On this page...

Recent stuff going on: