Ask almost any engineer of my generation what was their favourite toy when they were growing up and the answer will invariably be Meccano. A man named Frank Hornby invented it over 100 years ago. (He was the same person who made Hornby model railways.)
It consists of re-usable plates, drilled strips, angle brackets and nuts and bolts to put your models together. Most kits also included axles, gears, pulleys and wheels so that you could make working models. With a bit of thought and ingenuity you could make some impressive models, like the one shown below.
That model was made by Timothy Edwards Click on the link to see more of his models.
The thing that got me started on this nostalgia trip was a T.V. programme in which James May (him from Top Gear) had a motorbike and side-car built out of Meccano and rode it round the Isle of Man TT course. It kind of puts my models of cranes and draw-bridges into the shade. Maybe I should get myself a Meccano set for my birthday this year.
This is a link to BBC iPlayer if you want to watch it James May’s Toy Stories – The Motorcycle Diary.
That link might not work if you don’t live in the UK.