Sunday, January 19, 2020

Binns Road's invisible knots

The 0-E book of models for the 'alphabetical period' of Meccano contains hundreds of models to build. No step-by-step instructions, but a single picture with sometimes a caption with guidance on the construction.

Small, relaxing puzzles still, to put together. E.g. this little model of a band saw for Outfit A.

In this simple model a length of cord (part no. 40) is used to represent the saw. Remarkable is that the cord is smooth, continuous and of the right length. There isn't a knot in sight, did the Model Room at Binns Road have a secret way to create smooth, invisible knots?

By turning the knot out of sight, the model can be made to look the same. But the knot is there...

Wanting to be able to untie again easily, it's not an actual knot but a bow. Not cutting to size every time, it has excess length too - all makes for a rather excessive knot.

Even with this over-the-top knot in the cord the model still works fine. Perhaps Meccano did have a way to create invisible knots, but quite possibly the Model Room also just turned the knot out of sight for the picture. Or possibly re-touch the picture even.

A question to write the company about (ask the Editor or Spanner), or would've been in '37. Today we'll just wonder - and have a bow knot :-) 

Friday, January 3, 2020

Safari Tropical

After dropping off some stuff at the large, local charity shop I also did a quick round. In the whole store there was one typewriter. An Olivetti.

An Olivetti Tropical portable typewriter. Not a name I'd seen before, looks a bit like an Olympia Traveller. The touch felt very light and everything seemed to work fine. Very likely a fine writing machine with many decades of use in it - however this is not a styling that appeals to me at all. A far cry from the first Olivetti portable machine indeed.

Small surprise at the rear of the machine. Despite its beige-box styling, there perhaps is something tropical about the machine.