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Geared Roller Bearing

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NZFMM 2001 Wellington Convention


Phil Grover displayed this rare Geared Roller Bearing at the convention. To the right of the image is the bearing's story:

Part number 167 Geared Roller Bearing is designed to provide a ready made “turntable” bearing for large crane and other models. Its most famous use is in the Super Model Leaflet 4 model – Giant Block Setting Crane. Geared roller bearings were manufactured from 1928 to 1940 and retailed for one pound – far and away the most expensive part at the time.

This fine example has never been used in a model and has a fascinating history. It has passed through the hands of 2 famous Meccanomen – Bill Inglis (Australia) and Clyde Suttle (USA).

The piece was manufactured at the Meccano factory in Liverpool and shipped to Sydney Australia. Here Bill Inglis takes up the story:

“In the late 60's I met a chap, Walter Boyd, about 15 years my senior whose main interest in Meccano was the historical aspect of the system and we used to visit quite regularly as he lived in Pascoe Vale when we discussed matters Meccano and looked at our various Meccano treasures. He had the Mint R/G GRB in its original box. He told me that he was walking past E. Page and Co in Sydney (the main Meccano Agency in Prewar Australia) one day in early 1940 and saw the GRB in their Window. He thought to himself that they could become hard to get if the War dragged on and, having the money on him, he went in and bought it and it sat in his house in its box from then on. As far as I know Walter never married and he certainly lived as a Bachelor when I knew him and worked as a senior Librarian at the Victorian Public Library with an interest in history. Unfortunately he was not in very good health and in due course I was contacted by his Executor with the news that he had bequeathed his Meccano collection to me and thus I became the proud owner of his Mint GRB amongst other things.”

Bill Inglis’ Meccano collection (weighing 7 tonnes!) was sold in the USA in 1980 by Bob Bowley (Des Moines, Iowa). Clyde Suttle(California) bought the piece, who sold it later to Sidney Sellickson (Texas), who died in 2000. Erector specialist Bill Bean (Ohio) bought it at Sellickson’s estate sale and sold it to Phil Grover (Nelson) in November 2000.

Postscript: This Geared Roller bearing was sold on in 2009 to Graham Hawtree (Wanganui), thus keeping this valuable artifact in New Zealand!

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