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--42a and 751 Police Telephone Box (1936-60)

One one of the other forums, someone recently wrote in asking about the apparent difference in size between two Police Boxes that they have. This reminded me of several years ago, when I purchased the pre-war Police Patrol Set, and compared the box that came with it, to another 1950's era box that I also had. I noticed that the pre-war version was somewhat longer, and looked around for answers, but found no comment on any changes. So I deduced that it must be due to metal fatigue, even though mine is in very good shape. I does show very tiny cracks or lines running through it, under the paint. These pre-war boxes are also painted a darker color the post war. Below are a couple of photos of mine, and would like some feedback or comment if you have also notice this.
Terry

The pre-war version is on the left in both of these photos

 

starni999
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Hi Terry,
It is frightening how much the Pre War's "grow", it's particularly noticeable on the 28 series vans, I have a couple that are huge compared to the Postwar versions. All down to the dreaded Pre War disease I'm afraid. :(
Chris Warr.

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I am commenting on this old post in the hopes that someone else can possibly add additional information.  This concerns both the pre-war and post,-war Police Telephione Box, and the apparent difference in size.  When I first posted my photos and comments, I was not then aware that at least a few others had also noticed this.  On TMT, Peter Golden even commented about on his two versions, and wondered if Meccano had indeed made two versions.  Then, Kenny Gray showed his two, also different sizes. I believe he measured his and the pre-war was 69 mm and the post-war was 66.

   My pre-war model is in excellent condition, with minimal fatigue, so I now do not believe that is responsible for the difference in size.  But I also cannot imagine why Meccano created a new die, and of a different size....unless the earlier one was somehow damaged.....but if so, why slightly smaller?
  If any of you happen to have both of these, please compare, or at least measure what you have; another Meccano mystery!
       Best regards,  Terry

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If the weight of both pre and post-war models is exactly the same then the difference in size must be due to "fatigue" if the pre-war one is heavyer then there must have been two different dies at different scales.

                           

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Here is an update to my original posting, about the apparent difference in size (height) between the pre-war 42A Police Telephone Box and the post-war versions.  I happen to have very good examples of both....and the pre-war version is remarkably free from fatigue....having no visible cracks.  Whe I first noticed this differnce, I like others, tended to attribute it to modest fatigue stretching the metal.  But I recently had reason to check the Talk Model Toys site, and noticed that both Peter Golden and Ken Gray had also commented on the height difference, back in 2004.  At that time Peter's example had some fatigue, so he wasn't sure, but then Ken had a pre-war not hardly fatigued at all, and it had the same height differential.

    So I decided to take a much closer look, and also do some measuring.  These early pre-war versions are 69 mm tall, while the post-war one is about 66 mm.  I carefully weighed each of them and found the pre-war to be slighly heavier....but only about 2 grams.  I then tried to compare the sizes of the panels that fill each side of the box, and found that each one is very slightly taller on the pre-war...but only a small amount, but spread over 4 vertical panels, it add up.

    Then I focused on the upper roof portion of the box, and after close examination noticed that the roof is composed of 4 triangular sections that have a modesy slope upwards, terminating with the light fixture on top.  Then I noticed something very interesting:  the sloped portions of the pre-war model have a slight, but definitely steeper pitch to them....it would amount to several degrees.  The result is this upper roof area is, by itself, slightly taller in the pre-war version.

   So the combination of the lower area being slightly taller, combined with the upper roof area also being slighlty taller, results in this model definitely having more height in the pre-war sample that I have.  With more examples to study, we do not know if this change happend between pre and post war, or if it happened to occur at some point pre-war.

   One other small, but visible change, involves the hard to see and photograph interior of the box.  The inside of the roof area is flat...not pitched like the roof, but the pre-war version has a visible ridge line in the casting around the perimter.

   What we don't know, of course, is why this change occurred.  One possible reason would be damage to the die, although that seems unlikley since this was introduced in 1936 and halted in early 1941.  Suggestions and comments welcome!

      Terry

 

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This is all great detective work, Terry. It is rather amazing that there is still mystery about this after so many years. I would add that the postwar telephone box also seems to be a bit smaller than the prewar one; I always assumed that this phenomenon was due to fatigue as well, but I am not entirely sure. If my samples were not so deeply buried at the back of a display I would haul them out and weigh them.

dinkyfan's picture
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Jonathan---When I was researching this on TMT, someone there also made a comment on the regular phone box also changing in size, from larger to smaller.  It sure begs the question.....why?

      Best regards,  Terry

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Hello Terry & Jonathan,

I've just come across your fascinating correspondence concerning what appear to be two varieties of the Police phone box. I have three of these: one from a pre-war "Police Hut...." set, and two post-war 42a/751.

I can confirm that the pre-war phone box measures 69mm in height; the post-war 66mm. The base of my pre-war version is fractionally longer on two of its sides, but I detect a very small amount of fatigue, so this might account for the difference.

Colour: all are dark blue, but the pre-war version might best be described as "Dark Navy Blue"; both post-war boxes are lighter in colour, one markedly so.

Internal: looking up inside each box, the two post-war versions carry a very faint inscription, missing from the pre-war box. Immediately beneath the line reading "MECCANO LTD", the inscription reads "CH2".

Kind regards, Mark

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Mark--First of all, a belated welcome to our little group here!  It is a fun site, full of Dinky knowledge and experience.....you will enjoy it here.  And thank you for commenting on my post.  I first noticed this difference several years ago, but I did not research further then, and just calked it up to a bit of fatigue stretching the box.  But closer study and then finding that old post on Talk Model Toys led me to conclude that indeed, the die had been changed.  You mentioned that other iscription on the inside roof of the newer, post war version...."CH2".  In my haste to examine mine, I had missed that, as it is quite faint, at least on mine....not the same as the Meccano LTD letters.  In re-looking at mine, with some wiping and a strong light, I now notice that it does show "CS8", as Jacques mentioned below.  Perhaps yours is the same, and just hard to read......

   In any event, another Dinky change that heretofore has been somewhat undocumented.  I am sure that Jacques will now revise his Dinky Toys Encyclopedia.

   I also want to wish you a very Happy New Years!!

          Best regards,  Terry

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Hello Mark.

Welcome to the DTCA web site.

At lunch time today I have watched the new year fireworks in your home city of Auckland which is already in 2021. Here we are still in 2020 for an other four hours.

It is now certain that there were two dies for the Police hut. In your post above, you write that your post-war box is marked with "CH 2". So far only the marking "C 8 2" was known for the post war models. I have not yet see the marking of the pre-war boxes. Could you please provide pictures of both your pre and post-war boxes ?

Thanks and regards.

Jacques

P.S. I have not yet received your mail.

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Jacques-- I have several photos of the pre-war box, both alongside the post-war version, and also by itself.  Would you like me to send you these?  It does now appear that for sure, there was at least another die made for the Police Box, and now we have to wonder was it done right after the war, or earlier?  Another Dinky Toys mystery!

   And a Happy New Year to you!!

                    Best regards,  Terry

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Hello Terry

 

Thank you for your offer for some photos but I think that now I have what is needed. What I am looking for is pictures of the different markings of the hut and a picture of the door side of the Johilco box as well as it's height so that one can compare the scales.

The photo on the right shows the Johilco box but not the most interesting side which is the door's side.

The Encyclopaedia has already been updated according to the recent discoveries by some of the members of this forum which unfortunately are too few.

Jacques

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello Terry & Jacques,

Thank you for your messages. My wife took two photos of my postwar Police phone boxes on her iPhone and one can clearly see the 'C 8 2' inscription, not 'C H 2' as my eyes woulkd have it! Amazing the power of iPhones!

Kind regards,

Mark

Jacques, hopefully you'll get my letter in the next week / 10 days.

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Mark & Jacques—Taking your cue on using the iPhone, I tried using mine & it worked great....the flash is right where it needs to be. Below is a photo I took of the underside of my pre-war Police Box, and it clearly shows the ridge running around the perimeter of the inside roof...this is missing or in distinct on the post-war version. And as Mark mentioned, the color on the pre-war one is quite a bit darker....more like a purple/blue.
Best regards,
Terry

Cit2CV6's picture
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Hello Terry & Jacques,

Our recent correspondence over the Police Telephone Box prompted me to look at my #750 Telephone Boxes to see if there are internally recognisable casting variations. Looking at / photographing the inside was far trickier than with the police phone box because of the narower size. However, a cross beneath the top dome of one box is clearly visible, whereasa on the other, only a single line is detectable - but I think one or two numbers can also be made out. I've attached two photos and wonder if anyone else has found similar inscriptions.

 

Kind regards,

Mark

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Mark--When I was re-looking at the Talk Model Toys discussion on the Police Box, I remember reading a comment that there also appeared to be a size difference between the pre-war and post-war 750 Phone Box.  I only have a post-war version, so could not comment further.  Maybe someone with both can confirm.....

      Best regards,  Terry

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There is a size difference between my prewar and postwar telephone boxes that I always ascribed to zinc pest, but now in light of this discussion I'm not so sure. For one thing, the prewar box is heavier than the postwar, and I think I can see small differences in the casting, too. At such time as I have any success in photographing these, I'll post the images in a telephone box topic.

If this box also is different, the question then becomes "why?" Damaged tooling for both just seems too unlikely. Of course we know that the first prewar figures were made to a larger size than the later ones and their postwar equivalents, so while it would be logical that they'd get smaller telephone boxes too, the fact that it's so hard to tell the difference even all these years later really makes one wonder if it would have been worth the effort ...

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Hi Jonathan, very interesting comments. I don't have a pre-war phone box (yet!), so look forward to anything you can find out from your own research.
Kind regards, Mark

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Hello Terry & Mark

All this is very interesting but be carefull, there seems to be a confusion. The blue box is not a "telephone box", it is a "Police hut" and discussions about the red telephone box should not be here but in the 12c thread.

For a better understanding, I am transfering part of this discussion to the 12c thread.

All the best.

Jacques