Conestoga news

January 12, 2023 10:02 AM

Meccano installation encourages STEM learning

Conestoga’s Cambridge - Fountain Street campus has welcomed a travelling architectural engineering installation to help inspire learning in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). The large-scale, century-old model of the Eiffel Tower is on display in the atrium.

Conestoga College_Meccano Installation.jpeg
Art Stokman has assembled a model of the Eiffel Tower built from century-old Meccano pieces at Conestoga’s Cambridge - Fountain Street campus.

Constructed entirely from nickel-plated Meccano, the model is built to a 1:75 scale of the actual tower. It took engineer Art Stokman over a decade to collect the more than 10,600 pieces manufactured in Liverpool between 1908 and 1926 to construct the replica.

“This model was not built from a kit or with any instructions. It was assembled by scaling photos and using information provided by the Internet,” said Stokman. “It is built to the best detail that Meccano parts can render.”

For more than a century, Meccano has been inspiring builders around the world to bring their imaginations to life. The model construction system consists of reusable strips, plates, angle girders, wheels, and axles and gears that can be connected using nuts and bolts to create working replicas and mechanical devices.

Stokman began playing with Meccano as a young boy and said it inspired him to become an engineer. He picked up the system again as a hobby in the early 2000s, collecting and cleaning 100-year-old nickel-plated pieces as he planned and built the Eiffel Tower. Stokman retired as president of Guelph Hydro in 2009 and completed the 14-foot 2-inch model in 2016, which, in addition to Conestoga, he has assembled and displayed at Cambridge City Hall, University of Waterloo, University of Guelph, London Children’s Museum, Casa Loma and the MetroCentre in Toronto.

“The toy of my youth actually led me to a career in engineering,” Stokman continued. “It has empowered young minds that have probably gone on to own companies and build the technology you see and use today. I hope that young students interested in STEM will see this model and be inspired to explore those fields more.”

Conestoga’s School of Engineering & Technology offers a comprehensive suite of programs with a wide range of credentials in areas that include architecture, civil, construction, mechanical and electronics. Programs feature project-based learning, co-op work experience and applied research opportunities to prepare graduates for success in their chosen fields. Conestoga is the only college in Ontario to offer fully accredited engineering degrees. 

The college will host an open house event on January 21 as an opportunity to meet with faculty, talk to current students and tour campuses. The Eiffel Tower will be on display in the atrium of the Cambridge - Fountain Street campus until April 30.