There have been many imitators and competitors of Meccano over the years. Meccano was clearly the first sucessfull metal building toy of it's type and was widely imitated. Meccano Ltd.'s original patents have now expired, but the word "Meccano" is still a registered trademark of Meccano France.
Nevertheless, German manufacturers of toys like "Richter's Anchor Stone Building Sets" and their "Bridge Set (of 1895)" included some Meccano-type parts which predate Frank Hornby's 1901 Meccano patent. Other manufacturers of the same era, e.g. Bing and Marklin, also produced Meccano type sets and competed with Meccano.
Exacto Ltd. produced reproduction Meccano parts in Buneos Aires, Argentina. For many years this was done with the blessing of Meccano Ltd., Liverpool. After the Liverpool Meccano factory went bankrupt, things changed and "Argentine Meccano" was renamed as "Exacto". They also manufactured many parts that are extensions to the Meccano system, e.g. 45, 55 and 65 tooth gears.
Of course, the same can said about modern day Meccano France - they are introducing many new Meccano parts. In addition, many other vendors such as MR Productions sell many specialty parts that normally would not have existed.
Other modern day imitators include:
Defunct imitators include:
Some of the above systems are compatable with Meccano, others are not.
Tony Knowles publishes a very detailed newsletter devoted to all these
"Other Systems" - see
Copyright 1996-2020 by David Williams.