Meccano has featured in the lives of quite a few engineers.
Often cited as one of the first inspirations leading to an engineering career, the building kit still features on the Christmas present lists of enquiring young minds - although not as often as it once did. However, for some the joy of Meccano has never faded, and the construction possibilities only grow as they get older.
Working gearboxes, radio controlled tanks, scale models of the Titanic and Bugatti racing cars, steam engines, locomotives and working orreries are just a few of the projects undertaken by Meccano obsessives. This is construction modelling for grown ups, folks, inhabiting a world where being called an anorak doesn't necessarily cause offence and could just as easily fall somewhere between a term of endearment and an acknowledgement of rather impressive credentials.
As the Sheffield Meccano Guild newsletter began to attract more and more interest, in 1988 contributor Robin Johnson launched a magazine to cater for this dedicated crowd. And so Constructor Quarterly was born.
Now in its 16th year, the publication is lovingly produced on beautiful art paper, with subscribers worldwide and a cover price of £13.50 to reflect a circulation of well under 1,000.
But what a circulation! The magazine goes to subscribers as far afield as Costa Rica, Australia, the US, Chile, New Zealand, Europe and Canada. The quarterly digest of model plans, history, archive photographs and letters goes down well with the readers.
'What Meccano fanatics lack in numbers, they certainly make up for in enthusiasm, ' says Johnson.
'I guess most them are engineering types who, as children, were always short of parts. As adults they are determined to redress the balance. They tend to have bigger collections and come up with some really wonderful models, ' he adds.
So, readers, if Meccano is your cup of tea or you know anyone who would jump at the chance of doing it to A level standard or higher, why not give a Constructor Quarterly subscription a try? Not only will you get the chance to revisit your childhood, but you will also be selflessly helping Robin in his aim to bring down the cover price.
For more details contact:
Robin Johnson, editor, Constructor Quarterly, 17 Ryegate Road, Crosspool, Sheffield, S10 5FA Email: RobinCQHQ@aol. com