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Wednesday 28th February 2024  

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Masterbuilder construction set, made in Quorn 1940s

This is definitely one of the more unusual Quorn artefacts that has come to light!

Masterbuilder was a construction set, very similar to Meccano, which was advertised from 1946 to the early 1950s. It was made by Quorn based company K W Products Ltd and the actual parts were manufactured at the Erektor Works in Mountsorrel, who like so many engineering companies, would have felt the slump in production after the war. It initially came in four sets numbered 0 to 4 and in some quarters was thought to be superior to Meccano. The early sets had nickelled steel strips and girders with bakelite rectangular and circular plates. By about mid 1947 the steel parts became blackened rather than nickelled and in 1949 the system was completely revised. This set is therefore one of the earlier products.

The box lid says:

British Made
Constructional Engineering Set for Boys
Patents applied for
Number 0 size
Designed and manufactured by K W Products Ltd, Quorn, Leicestershire, England
Made in England K.W.1261-0

The front of the instruction sheet contains ‘a personal message from the designer’ in three languages, and is signed off with ‘With best wishes to you from Wardlaw W Waddell’.

The 1947 electoral roll for Quorn shows Wardlow W (sic), Kathleen and Alexander W Waddell living at 55a Chaveney Road. Due to renumbering it seems likely that this is 91 Chaveney Road today. Kathleen was Wardlaw’s wife and Alexander (Sandy) was his brother. Further investigation turned up a web page all about Walter Wardlaw (William) Waddell – his name seems flexible - written by his son Robert. This includes a lot of detail as well as photographs. Please click HERE to be directed to the page.

Wardlaw/William Waddell was born on 16th February 1913 and died on 11th September 1979. Him and his wife only lived in Quorn during 1945 and 1946 and they had two children, Robert born in 1945 and Simon born in 1949. Wardlaw/William and his brother Alexander (Sandy) had identified a need for educational toys and gone into business together to produce the Masterbuilder sets. Unfortunately the firm eventually ran into cashflow problems and went into liquidation. It is thought that during the mid/late 1940s, Wardlaw/William was working for Brush Engineering Works at Loughborough.

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 missing information Missing information: Can you remember these sets or the Waddell family? Please get in touch!
Please email us at: team2024@quornmuseum.com
 Submitted on: 2018-09-01
 Submitted by: Sue Templeman
 Artefact ID: 2024
 Artefact URL: www.quornmuseum.com/display.php?id=2024
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page or just on its own (new browser tab).

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