Frank Hornby Facts

Frank Hornby Facts
Frank Hornby (15 May 1863 - 21 September 1936) was an English inventor, businessman and politician. He had no formal education or training in engineering but invented three of the most popular toys of the 20th century.
Interesting Frank Hornby Facts:
Hornby was born in Liverpool, England and was the son of a merchant.
Hornby left school at the age of 16 and worked as a cashier in his father's business.
When his father died in 1899 the family business closed and Hornby became a bookkeeper in a meat importing business.
He had a home workshop and in 1899 be began creating toys for the amusement of his two sons.
The breakthrough which would change his fortunes came when he realized that he could make interchangeable parts that bolted together.
The key was that regular holes in the pieces would not only allow them to be bolted together but would also act as bearings for axles and shafts.
This innovation made the construction of complex devices much simpler.
In January 1901 he patented his invention as "Improvements in Toy or Educational Devices for Children and Young People".
His employer saw the potential in the toys and they became partners in the company.
With the financial assistance of his partner the "Mechanics Made Easy" sets went on sale in 1902.
By 1906 improvements had been made and the toys began to turn a profit.
In September 1907 Hornby trademarked the sets as "Meccano" and on 30 May 1908 his company, Meccano Ltd, was formed.
By 1912 the company was international and opened factories in Paris and Berlin.
In 1927 the Hornby added Clockwork lithographed tinplate O scale train sets and in 1934 die-cast model cars and trucks known as Dinky Toys were added.
By the 1930's Hornby was a millionaire and from 1931 to 1934 he was a Conservative MP for the Everton district.
He died in Liverpool of a chronic heart condition.


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