From the beginning Meccano was thought of and marketed as a boys toy. This necessitated some guidance on to how to build models this was done in the form of manuals.
The manuals followed a structure that would be followed for 60 years, that of one or more drawings of the model, along with a written instruction on how to build the model. For small models the text was not always needed , however for larger models it could run for several pages.
In the 1960's a change took place on all but the 2 largest sets. The text was replaced by one or more exploded drawings. Along with a box showing the number of parts required for each model.
The 1970's brought about the first colour manuals. These broke all but the smallest models down into subsections which where made in a given order along with the list of parts that where needed for each subsection, making the progression of a model easier. This idea was further built upon in the drawings where replaced by photos.