LETTERS : What about Meccano girls?

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The Independent Online
Reading through David Bowen's interesting article ("Nuts and bolts of a model revival", 18 December), I don't find a recognition that any of the "meticulous and patient" children who now apparently constitute Meccano's niche might be female. Yet s urely there is a marketing opportunity: though the most persistent image of Meccano may be of a pipe-smoking father, two boys in short trousers and a crane, there have always been girls whose fingers itch for angle brackets and trunnions.

My mother (b 1910), an intensely practical woman, still regrets never owning a Meccano set, such as her boy cousins were given for Christmas, and was determined that her daughters would not be similarly deprived. I proved to be more of a paintbox type, but my nine-year-old sister took to the Number 3 set, and made some wonderful things, including a working loom. Multi-coloured woollen bookmarks were its sole product, but we were pleased with our little factory. Yet the rebuilt Meccano ("It's about bikes, racing cars and all terrain vehicles") would seem to be signalling as powerfully as before to girls, "Not your thing". I hope I'm wrong.

Nora Crook Cambridge

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