Meccano was first invented in 1898 by Frank Hornby. The father of 2 young boys, he created for them a system of parts, nuts and bolts, allowing them to build cranes like the ones that fascinated them so much loading and unloading ships at the Port of Liverpool.
Frank Hornby developed his system and marketed it under the brand name "Mechanics Made Easy" ("The Mechanics Made Easy") in 1901. The name MECCANO was patented in 1907.
The first MECCANO factory opened on Duke Street in Liverpool that same year, and was quickly replaced to meet rising production demands by a larger one on West Derby Road.
Faced with the global success of MECCANO, two new factories opened in Berlin in 1912 and Belleville (France) in 1920. The Belleville plant was quickly replaced by one in Bobigny, which, in 1951, could produce more than 500,000 boxes of Meccano a day!
In 1959 a new factory was built in Calais and is to this day the main production site for MECCANO products.
In 1965, Meccano Junior was born. Parts are made in plastic to allow children from 4 years old take part in the Meccano Magic.
In 1979, the Liverpool factory closed. It was then the French subsidiary's responsibility to carry the torch and continue the Meccano story.
In 2000 Meccano bought the Erector brand, which had been sold in the United States since 1913, and unified its presence on all continents. Even today, Meccano is sold under the Erector brand in the United States.
Today, MECCANO is the only French manufacturer of toys globally known to produce most of its range in France.
MECCANO moves constantly towards more innovation by devising new assembly systems, new integrating materials and new technologies into its toys.
This has been shown especially when in 2008, Meccano launched a range of robotic products called "Spykee". This was the first robot to be controllable from a computer via WiFi from anywhere in the world via the Internet. Spykee is equipped with a webcam, a microphone, a loudspeaker and two motors. It moves, sees, hears, speaks, takes pictures and videos, It detects intruders and reads digital music. When its battery is low, Spykee returns to its charging base.
To help introduce a new audience to the Meccano system the brand has boosted its traditional collection with an exciting new range of products under license. In 2011 the first of these ranges launched featuring products from “The Adventures of Tintin” by Steven Spielberg. Following this success Meccano has acquired three new properties in 2012: Raving Rabbids, Sonic and Gears of War. These iconic characters and universe are part of the daily lives of children while being supported by a strong community of fans.
With ERECTOR ® brands, dedicated to the U.S. market, and MECCANO ® for the rest of the world, the group is present in over 50 countries and 70% of its turnover comes from markets outside France.
The head office and factory of Meccano is located in Calais, France and two subsidiaries were created, one in Hong Kong and one in United Kingdom.
Meccano attaches great importance to the quality and safety of its toys.
All Meccano toys are designed and developed in France.
The design office is a creative technical laboratory with unique expertise acquired through years of experience.
Meccano toys are monitored throughout their manufacture from raw material to finished product. All products carry a tracking number so they can be traced from components through to their final destination.
Meccano toys are tested in certified laboratories (Bureau Veritas and Intertek) according to the relevant countries standards and guidelines.
« Made in France »
After an overhaul of its Manufacturing base and industrial facilities, Meccano decided in 2010 to relocate part of its manufacturing to France. Today, a large part of the Meccano range is manufactured in France, in the historic factory of Calais. This decision was made so that Meccano could increase its manufacturing flexibility and subsequently optimise serviceability to its European markets.