Friday, 26 June 2015

Boxing clever...

Sometimes, when there is so much innovation going on around a new product, or in this case the rebirth of a brand, it is very easy to miss the less glamorous tweaks and improvements. Yes, we all want to see the new and exciting stuff, new models, the introduction of new parts and the improvement of supply, but all this can fall down at the end of the day with something as simple as the box it is presented in.

Old and new box designs - not just the graphics...
The visual impact of the new design is one thing, as good as it is, it can only work correctly if the box itself is engineered properly and fit for purpose. The boxes that have been used in recent times have come under a lot of criticism for not being very suitable as storage for the parts after opening. Some of the older thin card boxes had brown cardboard inserts that were full of slots and gaps for parts to get lost in. In more recent times the awful rip open boxes were a little better but just looked awful and were not at all secure with the front 'flap' being too narrow to be effective at holding parts in, or closing the box.  The act of ripping the tear-strip off feels like an act of vandalism and it seldom comes away cleanly. 

Ripping the old box open
The new boxes have a very much nicer way of opening. The flap that was glued down with a tear-strip is now one solid piece and reshaped so that it will tuck in neatly secure the box, once the clear tape that holds it closed is cut. The new boxes appear to be cut from similar material to that used for the old ones but the creases are made deeper to allow the top to lay flat when closed. This will minimise the risk of small parts 'leaking' from the closed box. Inside the new boxes the corners are joined in such a way to prevent small parts getting lost behind them. Whoever designed these boxes has really thought about their projected life as a storage box for the set.

The old box (on the right) gapes open and looks tatty. Not so for the new box
When open the new box looks as if it can be reused as it has suffered no damage whatsoever. The old box looks like it is only fit for the bin. The new box, on the other hand, not only looks in much better condition, but the front facing panel, that will be exposed when the flap is tucked in, can be used to label the contents as it is unprinted white card - smart move!

The new box looks as if it will be more useful than the old
Well done Meccano! We have been disappointed with the old boxes for a long time. Although this is not a return to the days of segmented boxes, this really is a big step in the right direction.



  1. What is the role of Calais now? From what I can determine, Meccano seems to be manufactured in China and designed in the US and Canada.

  2. Meccano is still both designed and made in Calais (France) as well as being made in China.