Meccano Magazine: boys' toys and the popularization of science in early twentieth-century Britain

2018 BJHS Themes  
AbstractMeccano Magazine began publishing in 1916 to advertise the popular children's construction set. By the 1920s it had expanded into a substantial, well-illustrated monthly that eventually achieved a circulation of seventy thousand. Under the editorship of the popular-science writer Ellison Hawks it now devoted approximately half of its pages to real-life technology and some natural science. In effect, it became a popular-science magazine aimed at teenage and pre-teen boys. This article
more » ... lores Hawks's strategy of exploiting interest in model building to encourage interest in science and technology. It surveys the contents of the magazine and shows how it developed over time. It is argued that the material devoted to real-life science and technology was little different to that found in adult popular-science magazines of the period, raising the possibility that Meccano Magazine's large circulation may explain the comparative lack of success of the adult publications.
doi:10.1017/bjt.2018.5 fatcat:lniqr5kooncbnawxd5uw2bdmgm