BAYKO Display Units and Shelves

Scarcely the most glamorous part of any toy shop, or toy department display system, but vital never-the-less. However, in this case we are talking more about specific, mobile[ish] Shelving Display Units intended for either short term, promotional purposes on the one hand; or longer term, more general display on the other. Why not have a look?
Click on either of the MECCANO era links immediately below if you want to jump directly to them, otherwise, please read on : -

Display Shelves

In summer 1996, in sunny Southend, I bought several different BAYKO sets [of both the Plimpton and MECCANO eras] and, to me, more importantly, the cardboard Shelving Unit shown here. [left, below]
Cardboard Display Shelves
The gentleman I bought it from assured me that, the man he had bought it off assured him, that it was definitely for BAYKO - if you see what I mean! Sadly I have yet to find a printed reference.
He had also been told that the complete Shelving Unit should be topped by a matching 'Headboard' bearing the BAYKO logo. Sadly, of that sign there was no sign!
It certainly came with several, presumably contemporary, 1950s, Plimpton era mint sets.
The only other corroborative evidence is that the Display Shelves colour is certainly similar to that of BAYKO sets.
The all cardboard format is hardly robust, so I suspect that these Shelving Units were primarily for show, rather that for storage of lots of sets. They may even have been exclusively for exhibition rather than retail use.
I'd like to know how it was used, so if you've any info. - even better, a photo? - then I'd love to hear from you…
Well, that's it for this section I'm afraid - tantalising - I will add more as and when I can - watch this space!

BAYKO Sets Display Units

Either by accident [cock-up theory again] or design [because they would otherwise have had to be too large] these MECCANO Era BAYKO Set Display Units excluded set #15, even though it's planned launched was just a few months ahead. I suspect this was for necessity, rather than being another example of Mr MECCANO's disjointed thinking - they would have to have had to be quite a bit bigger.
However, whatever the truth of this, I certainly do know that MECCANO produced some BAYKO Set Display Units which they announced to their retailers, in no less than three stages, in no less than three distinct forms : -
Front of the MECCANO Trade Letter, January, 1962
If you look at the image [left - Jan/62] you'll see Mr MECCANO's early thoughts, specifically that the dispenser was to be made of MECCANO strips” [this is the only known image]. The design was probably changed when it proved unstable under the weight! Click anywhere on the image for a larger image of the Display Unit.
The swift arrival of the document [right - April/62] dated just three months later, may well be indicative of just how unstable the MECCANO strips” version was - who said that 'health and safety' was a recent concept‽
MECCANO trade bulletin from April, 1962 showing the BAYKO set dispenser PS 23987
The script [left] is - “Constructed in MECCANO strips, this Stand is most attractive when dressed with Outfits. For use in window or on sales floor.”
They're offered to retailers at “£7.15.0, (including tax) Carriage Paid”. [£7.75]
The script [right - PS 23987] is - “new and excitingly attractive Bayko Dispenser and Display Unit” holds “approximately 50” sets, a substantial investment, perhaps restricting the take up to larger toy shops and department stores.
As can easily be seen in the various images, this Display Unit is made from coated wire, and was finished in “scratch-proof silver”.
Plastic covered wire MECCANO era  BAYKO Sets Display Unit - empty
Thanks to its, splayed leg design, with smaller, lighter sets at the top and larger, heavier sets at the bottom, this style should have been quite stable.
Plastic covered wire MECCANO era  BAYKO Sets Display Unit - full
The price had now changed to “only £5, plus packing and carriage”.
The final version of the MECCANO era BAYKO Set Display Unit is shown in the image [left]. A quick look at the colour of the wire shows that this isn't silver, but much darker [black?]. In contrast, though both these photos are undated, despite having been found together, the full unit [right], appears to have been made from the silver covered wire. Given it is a cheaper material, I have assumed the dark plastic coated wire to be the later of the two wire based versions.
Interestingly, these Units were still being offered for sale in 1963 [below, right], but the price had gone up to the princely sum of “£5/15/-, plus packing and carriage” [£5.75]. This price increase is, I believe, a further indication that this was, indeed, the final version of the MECCANO era BAYKO Sets Display Unit.
The opportunity to see images of both 'naked' and fully dressed Units, makes any further description unnecessary.
Clearly BAYKO Sets Display Units were, initially at least, aimed at impulse buyers - otherwise wouldn't conversion sets have been included?
Although their purchase wasn't [alas!] compulsory, given that BAYKO was on sale in comfortably over 3,000 U.K. outlets, and all three versions are quite attractive, it's a shame that not a single example, of any style, appears to have survived to the present day…
However - all three styles were topped by an identical, bright, attractive, two sided 'Headboard', [below].
Chris Reeve's important document which MECCANO used to update their retailers with the latest information.
The 'Headboard' [detachable] was set diagonally, allowing it to be larger, [thank you Pythagoras] and more impactful [horrible word] in store. Unlike the Units shown, mine is painted black - there's suspicion of a repaint, but no indication of a different colour underneath! The Card can only be slid into the 'Headboard' from one end, not the top, optimising strength and durability. Slide your mouse over the image to see what I mean.
I've no memory of the Units, nor, I suspect, have most readers - I've certainly never had a conversation about them with any BAYKOBOD!  If I'm wrong, then I'd love to hear from you…
…we can all be forgiven for becoming a little cynical - did they really exist‽
Thanks to the wonders of eBay, I can now say, "yes"
…otherwise the double-sided Headboard [below] would be a bit of a luxury!!!
The Headboard Card itself [below, right] is actually slightly different to the three that are depicted in the documents [above]. No prize, I'm afraid, but do you think that you can you spot the difference? No, not that, I've already mentioned the colour of the 'Headboard' Unit.

MECCANO Era BAYKO Sets Display Unit Headboard - including Card insertion animation
MECCANO era BAYKO Sets Display Units Headboard Card
608 x 151 x 3 mm = 29.93 x 5.94 x 0.125 inches
Body - 613 x 153 x 10 mm = 24.15 x 6.0 x 0.12 inches
[Legs - 50 x 7.5 x 7.5 mm = 1.97 x 0.3 x 0.3 inches]
The 3 mm thick Display Unit Headboard Card [above] slides into the Headboard Holder as shown [left] - move your mouse over the image.

This particular Card [above, right] has the prices of all five MECCANO era BAYKO sets [#11 to #15] plus the four conversion sets [#11C to #14C] arranged, in that order, across the bottom of the Card. The prices displayed fall between those quoted elsewhere for February, 1966 and July, 1966 - well into BAYKO's death throws. The relatively hefty card is 3 mm thick.
So does this mean that, before this, there were more inclusive versions of the MECCANO era BAYKO Sets Display Units, or less inclusive earlier Cards? I'm afraid I can't answer that. I'm certain, however, that there would have been commercial pressure to include set #15 in the Units, though far less certain that it succeeded - given the zero spend, 'milk it' mentality prevailing at the time.
Finally, for this section, there are small differences in the quoted physical dimensions of the three styles of Display Units, which were : -
68½ x 21 x 21 inches
◄== Dimensions of the original, MECCANO strip design. ==►
1,740 x 533 x 533mm
65 x 28 x 28 inches
◄== Dimensions of the second, silver covered wire design. ==►
1,651 x 711 x 711mm
67 x 21 x 21 inches
◄== Dimensions of the latest, plastic covered wire design. ==►
1702 x 533 x 533mm
I feel uncomfortable with the significant difference in the quoted footprint of the two wire versions [28 x 28 inches c.f. 21 x 21 inches], but that's what the literature says. My instinct tells me that 28 inches is correct, for both, it certainly strikes me as being more logical - and more stable! Perhaps the 21 inches actually measures the display part, with the 28 inches reflecting the floor space required - heaven [and / or Mr MECCANO] only knows!!! My suspicion isn't totally fanciful, the straight legs of the MECCANO strip version may be giving us a heavy hint.
Straight out of left field, I can't help but ponder the 'health and safety' implications of the splayed out legs of the two wire versions. Whilst surely improving stability, they're clearly much more 'trip-over-able' - a word with both 'health and safety' and grammatical implications!

BAYKO Spare Parts Display Units

This Display Unit is shown in the orange, black and white document [above, right], and is discussed, in full, elsewhere…
That's all the information I have on BAYKO Display Shelves / Units…
Below here are links to related info : -
Click on any of the links below for related information.

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Latest update - August 22, 2022
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