Every other week, James Grahame, from RetroThing will delight us with some highlights of gadgets of yore. They might be old, but they’re still delicious. And by the way, James just published a book on this stuff, so check it out.[-Ed.]
My wife always asks for practical gifts at Christmastime – a toaster, or perhaps socks. I, on the other hand, lean heavily toward goofy tech toys. I’m secretly hoping she got me an indoor helicopter or Atari Flashback 2.0 game console this year. In that spirit, I’ve dedicated this edition of Rear View Mirror to a handful of geeky toys that caused excitement under the tree (no, not that kind…) in decades past.
Meccano (1907): Inventor Frank Hornby patented his metal nut & bolt assembly kits and started marketing Meccano in 1907. His toy construction sets became extremely popular and additional factories were opened in Germany and France. Ownership of the company changed hands a few times over the decades – it was even owned by cereal maker General Mills for a few short years in the early 1980s. These days, Meccano is part of the Japanese Nikko group. And, almost 100 years after their humble beginning in Liverpool, they still manufacture metal construction sets, along with modernized plastic versions.