Member Blogs > Read'Em Again BooksWhat Do You Get When You Cross a Book with a Meccano? - 18 July 2012

  • Tue, 24 Jul 2012 09:20:15    Permalink
    What do you get when you cross a book with a Meccano?  
    The answer, of course, is a Bookano.  Perhaps, though, this begs two questions.  First, What is a Meccano?
    If you are from anywhere in the world other than the U.S., you probably know about Mecanno boxed sets of interchangeable sheet metal pieces, bolts, nuts, gears, pulleys, etc. that can be used to created an infinite number of mechanical toys.  If youre from the U.S., think of the old Erector Sets that were sold by A. C. Gilbert; they are basically the same.  In fact, I think the same Japanese company may now own both the Meccano and Erector Set trade names. So, the question that logically follows is What is a Bookano?  Well, the Bookano Stories were a series of pop-up books that were the brainchild of S. Louis Giraud, a former publisher in the book department of Londons Daily Express, and Theodore Brown, an optical toy maker who became a self-taught paper engineer.  The pop-ups in the first book reminded Giraud of Meccano structures, so he named his publication a Bookano.  Although moveable books had been produced for many years, when Girauds initial Bookano Stories was published in 1929, it was the first book with constructions that would Spring Up in Model Form on their own.  When pages were turned, forms and figures automatically popped-up into shape on double-page spreads that were viewable from every side. Over the next twenty years, Giraud published 16 Bookano annuals each containing an assortment of childrens stories and poems and at least five pop-ups.  Girauds books were especially popular, not just because of the pop-ups and their flashy covers, but because they were reasonably priced.  By using cheap paper, inexpensive binding materials, and rough printing, as well farming out pre-cut pop-up sheets to housewives for home-assembly, Girauds moveable books could be purchased for a fraction of the price of one created by Meggendorfer, Nister, or Tuck.  Unfortunately for collectors, because these books were cheaply produced, there were easily damaged, and it is difficult to find them in good shape today.I currently have several nice Bookano pop-up books available for sale.  You can click on the images for more information.

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