Students from the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering at the Queen’s University in Belfast (UK) unveiled their record-breaking third year project on Saturday – a 28.76 m x 1.87 m x 6.22 m (94 ft 4.28 in x 6 ft 1.62 in x 20 ft 4.88 in) footbridge made entirely of Meccano pieces.
Fifty talented students used an estimated 10,000 pieces of the model construction toy for the incredible construction to reach new heights and create the world’s Largest Meccano structure.
Something of a precursor to Lego and a firm favourite with children since it first hit toy shop shelves at the start of the 20th-century, Meccano consists of re-usable metal strips, plates, angle girders, wheels, axles and gears, with nuts and bolts to connect the pieces, and is still widely used to teach the fundamentals of mechanical engineering in schools.
Using no internal support system and no adhesives, the student's bridge behaves just like one from the real world and is able to hold the weight of one person, as was confidently demonstrated by several people on Saturday.
Reaching across Belfast’s Clarendon Dock, the crossing - which took four months to construct - was declared open by Meccano’s new Meccanoid Robot.
Official Guinness World Records adjudicator Fortuna Burke was on hand to verify the attempt and announce the new record title to hundreds of delighted students, professors and spectators.
The Big Bridge Build challenge was part of the university’s ongoing efforts to promote careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
At the event, youngsters had the opportunity to speak to students and academics about the bridge build and civil engineering in general. There was also an area where kids could create their own Meccano structures.
Speaking before the record was confirmed, Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure Carál Ní Chuilín said: "While this initiative is as much about the journey as the destination, to end with a new world record would be a fantastic achievement. It would truly reflect the efforts of all those who have taken an unusual idea and turned into a creative reality."