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Part 52a-74: Flat plates

52aFlat plate, 5½'' x 3½'' 1919-8116N°9
53aFlat plate, 4½'' x 2½'' 1919-364N°9
70Flat plate, 5½'' x 2½'' 1918-674N°9
72Flat plate, 2½'' x 2½'' 1918-442N°10
73Flat plate, 3'' x 1½'' 1931-n/a02N°10
74Flat plate, 1½'' x 1½'' 1962-n/an/an/an/a

The parts

The full range of flat plates, in mid and light red
Loading picture Flatplates

A strange set of numbers, but there is some logic. The first flat plates were introduced in early 1918 (according to Vol.6), as parts 70 and 72. They could have existed in 1917, but there was no manual printing or mention of them during that year. There was no part 71, but Meccano had started to use blocks of ten part numbers for each type of part. At the same time, the 80's were reserved for screwed rods. Perhaps a blank was left for a future size?

In 1919, perhaps after having realised how useful the new flat plates were, the top two in the table above were introduced. This was of course a very easy job, as they were already being made as the flanged plates part 52 and 53. The parts were simply removed from the production line before bending and marketed as parts 52a and 53a, introduced into the Inventor's Outfit B of 1919. You can see from the picture above that part 53a has elongated holes at each end (matching the holes in the flanges of part 53), and part 52a is just an unfolded part 52 (which of course had only two long flanges at the time).

These parts were only available in the Inventor's Outfit, until the large-scale redesign of the outfits in 1922. Even so, they were only supplied in the largest of outfits, which continued as you can see from the last column in the table. Post-war outfits contained no flat plates at all until outfit 9. In 1962, part 53a (4½'' x 2½'' flat plate) found its way down as far as outfit 4, but the other parts remained only in 9's and 10's.

Chronological variations

One of the very rare sets of parts that have remained completely unchanged from their introduction during WW1 through to the end of UK production, and even later in French outfits. Nothing more to tell, I don't think!

Dark blue flat plate part 73
This image does not belong to the webmasters and is copyright.
Please do not download or copy it for any purpose. It has been
kindly provided for use on this site by the image owner,
Richard Payn
Loading picture Dbdypart73

Variations and oddities

Here's an unusual one. A dark blue flat plate, stamped as expected, provided by Richard Payn. He has a number of these, but they're considered to be specials from the model room at Binns Road, or perhaps experimental parts. The dark blue is the normal 78/79 dark blue colour.

Spare parts boxes for parts 71 and 73
Loading picture Flatplatesspareparts

Dealer spare parts boxes

In the same way as the flanged plates, 1950's boxes for these parts didn't match the size of the parts inside. Boxes generally contained 6 of each part, but you can see from the picture to the right that the mid-50's part 72s are only half the size of the box itself. The later light red part 74s (only introduced in 1962), are in a box that fits them exactly.

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
Nickel plated, 20swg plate ¹18.ni.ni.ni.ni.ni 
Early red (pea-red)26.re.re.re.re  
Dark red27.dr.dr.dr.dr.dr 
Blue with gold crosshatching34.bg.bg.bg.bg.bg 
Medium red37.mr1.mr1.mr1.mr1.mr1 
Medium red with post-war markings45.mr.mr.mr.mr.mr 
Light red58.lr.lr.lr.lr.lr.lr
Olive green (Army Multikit) †73-79  .am   
Dark yellow79.dy.dy.dy.dy.dy.dy

Note: ¹ Part 73 didn't appear in nickel plate, being introduced in 1931. However, outfits and parts could be special-ordered in a nickel finish up to 1941, and for this reason there are a tiny number of nickel plated ones even though it was only supplied in outfit 10s of the period. Part 73.ni is about as rare as Meccano parts get.

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: 13.  This is page 1 of 3.   Next

Gaberdeen      (at 7:41am, Sat 9th Jun, 12)

We need to mention that part 70 is more common than might otherwise be thought because it appeared in sets 2 and above from 1978 onwards.

It also appeared, as the chart mentions but the text does not, in the Army multikit.

NoirProfond      (at 2:43pm, Wed 9th Mar, 11)

I have a couple of 2-1/2" x 1-1/2" flat plates - in 1970's yellow and stamped. Not cut downs. I think these may be Model Room specials - basically a channel bearing before it has been formed to shape.

Jason      (at 2:40pm, Mon 5th Oct, 09)

Thank you. I shall examine any future job lots of cross hatched plates with the utmost care.

I should have mentioned before that Mr Edwards has an excellent website and thank you also to him!

Jason      (at 8:27am, Mon 5th Oct, 09)

I can now answer my own question. It is indeed a strip plate, part 193!

I had a look on T Edwards' web site.

Nice strong plates, these. I will have to try and find some others. Are they rare?

Reply: Yes indeedy. Strip plates are found in 2.5, 3.5, 5.5, 9.5, and 12.5 lengths, in the K and L outfits and the very first (1937) 10-sets. They were the 'structural' parts when the flexible plates were made of cardboard. Once these were replaced by flexible plates it was realised that the smaller ones weren't really needed, and the three smallest sizes were dropped in 1938. They aren't incredibly rare, but many people haven't spotted the difference. Part number 195 was reused from 1962 to 1979 for the 7.5 strip plate (it was originally the 5.5x2.5 strip plate 1934-38). These are much rarer as they were never included in sets.

Jason      (at 8:10am, Mon 5th Oct, 09)

Here's another query. I had another look at the blue and gold collection and found a number of the parts 195 which have been discussed.

I have now, however, found a square, 21/2 by 21/2 cross hatched plate in the same heavy guage. I have examined it very closely and have concluded that it is not something which has been cut down. Apart from anything else, the row of holes which would have to have been made if creating a smaller plate from a larger are too perfect.

This cannot be deemed a "strip plate" yet it is not flexible either. Any ideas?

Malcolm Hanson      (at 12:03pm, Sun 4th Oct, 09)

The original part 195 is listed in 1937 but has disappeared by 1939. The later 7.5" incarnation appeared at the start of 1962.

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