In the final entry in this series, Simon Johnson examines another mechanical device in the Te Manawa collection: the spud gun. Where it arose, how it was marketed, and some of the controversy that swirls around toys of this nature.

As empires rise, so they too must fall. Simon Johnson follows up on his Mechanics Made Easy post by tracing the history of Meccano from post-war to the present day. One item in the heritage collection at Te Manawa is a landmark for the brand’s struggle to survive in an increasingly crowded market.

The heritage collection at Te Manawa contains many curiosities. Inspired by an example of “Mechanics Made Easy”, local historian Simon Johnson charts the rise of Meccano and the toy empire of engineering entrepreneur Frank Hornby.

Te Manawa will open at the later time of 12.30pm on Weds 27 October