[Steel Tec]

Steel Tec was a model construction system by Remco Toys, Inc. and made in China. It was on the market from 1992 - 1997. It is generally compatible with Meccano using the same hole pitch and thread type. In most cases missing parts can be substituted with Meccano parts which are currently available.

The History of 'Steel Tec'

This account is presently extremely limited but hopefully it will be added to as information becomes available.

'Steel Tec' was distributed by Remco Toys, Inc. of New York, NY, during the period 1992 - 1996 or1997. Remco Toys is a Division of parent company Azrak-Hamway International, Inc.,

In 1993 Meccano brought a civil action against Remco for claiming 'that Steel Tec was compatible with Meccano'. Meccano won the suit and the 'compatibility statement' had to be removed from the Steel Tec boxes. Details of this action are bound by a gag order for 7 years. That's until October 2000, so stay tuned. There was, however a short report published in the Canadian MeccaNotes written by expert witness for Meccano, Lou Boselli, as follows:

"Most readers may not be familiar with this new system [Steel Tec] which recently appeared on the U.S. market. It is manufactured in China and while the range of parts is very limited the distributors claimed that it was compatible with Meccano. It isn't and that was their downfall. Meccano took legal action, requested and received a restraining order thereby stopping all sales of the product while the case proceeded. I was assigned the task of mixing the parts of the two systems and then to attempt to build models from the mixture. This served proved [sic] that the clone was not compatible with Meccano but even with this evidence I was still grilled for six hours on the witness stand. I will be filing a complete story in a future issue but it shows just how popular Meccano has become. Just when was the last time Meccano even had the opportunity to seek legal action to protect its name and product?" [No further report was forthcoming. Presumably the gag order intervened.]

In February 1996 Remco were slapped with a charge of 'deceptive and misleading TV advertising' by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC said the TV ads showed Steel Tec model cars and airplanes performing movements that the models didn't actualy have the capability of carrying out. The FTC also said that some sets indicated they could make 9 or more models but didn't add that you had to dismantle one model before starting another. Although these charges may appear to the average person to be rather tame, Remco were howwever instructed for the next six months, to give a full cash refund to any purchaser who returned the set and 'felt they had been misled' by the TV ads.