| in 1898 in a small Liverpool shop where Franck Hornby took pleasure inventing a construction game for his children using screws and nuts. This gave rise to the MECCANO system in 1901.Franck Hornby finalized his system and marketed it under the brand name “Mechanics Made Easy”. The name MECCANO was registered in 1907.The first MECCANO factory opened in Liverpool that same year; that factory was very quickly replaced to meet rising production demands. Two new factories opened as MECCANO’s success spread worldwide: one opened in Berlin in 1912, and the other in Belleville, France in 1920. The Belleville factory was quickly replaced by one in Bobigny that, by 1951, manufactured more than 500,000 Meccano sets a day!Then, in 1959 a new factory was built in Calais; it currently remains the main MECCANO manufacturing site.During the 1950s, Lines Brother joined with MIRO (game board) and created the company MIRO – MECCANO.
General Mills then acquired MECCANO during the 1970s; the Calais factory thus became the only global manufacturing site. During this time, MECCANO was not a priority for the General Mills Group, so development slowed down; MECCANO was then sold again in 1985.
During the 1990s, MECCANO marketed a new generic construction system with plastic parts for children 4 years old and up.
The Japanese group Nikko then bought Meccano in 2000. Directors Alain and Michael Ingberg added an investment fund to its capital, 21 Centrale Partners, owned by Allessandro Benetton. The Japanese group removed itself completely from the capital in 2007, and the company was then held by Ingroup (51%) and 21 Centrale Partners (49%).
MECCANO is in a very strong product launch phase. In addition to bringing back to life the traditional system that made it famous and is today an international paragon, Meccano continually moves toward innovation with imaginative assembling systems it devises using the latest materials, for modern creations.
With its clever system of plastic parts that are very easy to use, Meccano launched the “pre-school” line in 2006 to meet the needs of younger children as of 2 years old.
MECCANO has always been able to keep up with and anticipate what children want in a toy by counting on innovation and integrating new technologies in its toys.
This was particularly demonstrated in 2008 when it launched a line of robotic products called SPYKEE.
It is the first build-it-yourself robot controlled by computer via WIFI or from anywhere in the world via the Internet. SPYKEE has a webcam, a microphone, a speaker and two engines. It can move, see, hear, speak, take pictures, record videos, etc. It can detect intruders, and can play digital music. When its battery gets low, SPYKEE returns to its recharging base all by itself.
With the brand ERECTOR® for the American market, and MECCANO® for the rest of the world, the group has a presence in over 50 countries and earns 70% of its revenue outside of France.
MECCANO has 87 salaried employees in the world, 76 of which are in France, mainly in its Calais factory. MECCANO is the only French manufacturer of toys that are internationally recognized, manufacturing part of its line in France.