Morecraft "Boltless" Construction System
In 1929, 16 years after he began marketing his now famous Erector Sets, A.C. Gilbert acquired the American Meccano Company. The very next year he introduced his latest product line, the "New American Meccano," often referred to today as "Gilbert-Meccano."
At about the same time - the early 1930's - Gilbert also helped to introduce a new "boltless" metal construction toy system under the name "Meccano-Morecraft." Like the New American Meccano, these sets included both Erector and Meccano pieces. Sets in the Meccano-Morecraft line included the Designer, Designer Special, Engineer, Fellow, and Graduate Size.
In a novel approach, model instructions were printed on large "blueprint" sheets. Each sheet contained four panels per side, for a total of eight panels per sheet. One of these "quarter" panels is shown below. It illustrates four different models that could be built with the Designer Special Size set; note that each model includes a "Bill of Materials" (parts list).
Erector fans will no doubt recognize the machine shown in the illustration below. It is the Meccano-Morecraft version of the famous Walking Beam Engine (WBE). The WBE was clearly a favorite model of Gilbert and his engineers: at least eight different forms of the model appeared in Erector manuals over the years. Most of these can be seen in my Model Gallery here at Girders & Gears. While you're there, check out my special feature on the WBE called "The Evolution of an Erector Model."
In 1935, Gilbert sold the rights to Meccano-Morecraft to the Skipper Toy Company, who continued to produce the sets under the Skipper Toy and Morecraft names. Later, the name on the sets was changed to "Modern Morecraft" and the sets continued in production through 1946.