BAYKO Sales Aids

In comparison with MECCANO and LEGO, I think it's fair to say that most of us feel that BAYKO's sales aids were on a relatively modest scale. However, quite a few different ideas did emerge over the years. While some topics [e.g. BAYKO Retail Display Cabinets] are discussed more fully elsewhere, I've included a link or a summary for all of them here so as to show just how comprehensive was the BAYKO approach over the years - and remember, proud as I am of my BAYKO collection, it's far from complete! Despite that, there are no less than fifteen [yes - fifteen!] different categories for you to read about!
Illuminated Signs
BAYKO collecting never ceases to amaze me. I'd never heard of such a thing as an Illuminated Sign, in a BAYKO context that is, nor had other collectors I've spoken to, until this 1950s example appeared on eBay late in 2010.
Illuminated BAYKO sign swapping between off and on
Designed for use either in the toy shop window, or as part of an in-store display, this very simple, but effective advert for BAYKO was made by Burnham (Onyx) Ltd. of Sydenham, London S.E. 26. The much-merged company is now based in Redhill, Surrey.
Illuminated BAYKO Sign - animation showing all 4 sides
The rear enclosure [right] of side walls and top [the latter holds the lamp unit], are aluminium, and are angled inwards reducing the chance of them being glimpsed by shoppers. A pair of lugs on each side wall slots into the top, leaving the structure collapsible, but quite robust.
The illuminated glass display [above, left - slide your mouse over the image to 'switch it on'] is slightly convex and measures 12 inches x 9 inches [300mm x 225mm] - not far off A4. The printing is on the inside of the glass, making it less vulnerable to scratching. The frame is ¾ inch [18mm] wide, and also made of aluminium, this time folded over a slim wooden frame.
In case you can't read it, printed in yellow, on the frame, below the screen, is the legend, “The Original Plastic BUILDING SETS”. Click anywhere on the image [above left] and you should be able to read all the script on the larger image.
Around 1980, this example was bought at a toy fair in Pudsey, West Yorkshire, but there the provenance stops. I'm also afraid that all Burnham's historical records of the period have been destroyed, so the research has hit a dead end I'm afraid.
If you've any more information about these attractive Illuminated Signs I'd love to hear from you…
Window Adverts
BAYKO window stickers joined those from MECCANO, HORNBY, AIRFIX, TRI-ANG, and others, in surrounding the windows and filling any glass in the doors, of toyshops everywhere. The number of entries in this section speaks for itself, demonstrating the importance given to this area by both Plimpton and MECCANO marketeers.
These BAYKO adverts could either be printed on a plastic medium, sometimes transparent, or, more commonly, be paper based.
2 framed BAYKO window stickers - the upper one is actually twice the length of the lower one
Post takeover MECCANO products display advert
1950s BAYKO Window Display Card
The two examples shown here [right] are both from my collection and have been framed to protect them. The third [left] has actually been removed from its frame and has been scanned.
Of the two framed labels [right], the top one dates from the 1950s, and has actually been framed between two perspex sheets.
The lower of the two framed labels hails from the 1960s, after the MECCANO takeover, and has been framed in the conventional way.  The model shown is of interest in that it never appeared in the instruction manuals, but, in complete contrast, was widely used in the marketing sphere.
The third [left] was a window or wall sticker, but exactly the same image was used for a stand-alone, on-counter Display Card.
They are simple, often flimsy, printed paper banners, which would usually have been glued either to the top, side, or bottom edges [probably in that order of preference] of the window or, less often, on an interior wall behind the counter or near a BAYKO display.
The last Window Advert [right] is a plastic based, MECCANO general products advert, with self-adhesive glue on the back and was designed to be stuck on the inside of the window, an interior wall, or similar, and be viewed from inside the shop.
These two shop window signs [below] were both culled from the BAYKO section of a letter, dated September, 1961, which was sent to MECCANO product retailers, announcing the range of display materials which were available.
The first window sign on offer [left below] was actually labelled as a “Window Bill” and was coded as number 71715/02
Self-adhesive window sign, code number 71714/02, which had a transparent background
Window Bill, code number 71715/02
For an idea of its full colour impact, the similar, framed sign [above right] may help to give you an impression.
The second “Self-Adhesive Window Sticker” being offered, had a transparent background, with code number 71714/02.
There's no mention of the colour scheme, but I'm a little sceptical of the impact that the transparent background of the sign would generate.
Emphasising the importance given to shop window signage, in the overall scheme of things, there were just three other items, covering other display areas, that were on offer in the September, 1961 news letter.
These images are shown courtesy of Andrew Lance of the Hornby Railways Collectors Association.
Window / Wall Cards
BAYKO Window / Wall Cards are, as you can perhaps tell from the images [below, left and right], clearly printed on card. In the first case [below, left] the artwork is clearly similar to that used at the back of both the wooden and cardboard Retail Cabinets. They are, however, clearly distinct…
BAYKO Window/Wall Card

1949/1950 Wall/Window Card - with Now Available footer
…the edges of the Window / Wall Cards are 'sealed' rather than bare cut card, which strongly suggests that the edges were intended to be visible, from the BAYKO-buying public's perspective, rather than enclosed in the Retail Cabinet frame.
The other obvious difference is that the Window / Wall Card has a pair of holes through which a string has been fastened in order to hang the card either in a window, or against a wall or other surface, such as a cupboard or the edge of a shelving unit. I think window is the less likely, as the back [which would, unavoidably, have been clearly visible in the shop] ain't pretty!
I've no personal recollection of seeing these specific cards in toy shops, which is, perhaps, consistent with the fact that so few have survived. This card is shown courtesy of Robin Throp.
Logic suggests this second Window / Wall Card [left] preceded the one shown immediately above, the clue being the inclusion of the inevitably time-limited 'footer slogan', “NOW AVAILABLE!”, dating it to 1949 / 1950, I believe. By this time, the complete range of BAYKO parts shown had emerged, following the death of BAYKO inventor, C.B. Plimpton, in late 1948.
I've been given to understand that the 'roughly painted' font used here was very much in fashion at the time - either way, it's certainly simple but extremely eye-catching!
Here there can be no doubt this card was 'purpose-built', given that there's no way it would fit the format needed for the rear piece of any type of BAYKO Retail Display Cabinet - it's just too big!
The slightly smaller 'New Series' card [right] was similarly supplied with a cord allowing it to be hung in a prominent shop location.  Here, the artwork is based on the label used on all the BAYKO sets of this pre-war period. [It could, in theory, also have been immediately post-war.]
New Series hanging display card which would have been hung in a convenient, if not prominent place in the toy shop
It's not possible to be absolutely certain that this is a genuine item, rather than a home made one, though I believe it is.  Support comes from the continuity argument, given the fact that we already know that similar BAYKO hanging cards [above, left] were used in the 1950s.
Whatever the pedigree, cards like this were certainly used by many other toy manufacturers, as part of their standard marketing offerings - I can remember seeing them!
If you can throw any light on these Window / Wall Cards then I'd love to hear from you…
There's absolutely no doubt about the provenance of this MECCANO era Window / Wall Card, dating from 1960 or 1961.
Meccano era Hanging sign from 1960 or 1961
As you can probably tell from the next image [left], this card was certainly purpose built, on thick card, and fitted with two 'lace holes' which have been professionally reinforced with small metal eyelets, just as men's shoes so often used to be.
The photo part was used on a regularly advert, for example in 'MECCANO Magazine', and it contains quite a bit of surprisingly small font text [for a poster], which reads : -
Open a Bayko Outfit! . . . there is everything a builder needs . . . bricks of various shapes and sizes, windows, doors, roofs . . . superbly moulded in coloured plastic. Build houses, railway stations, airports - anything you like, working from the simple Bayko plans. Girls, as well as boys, enjoy the fun and fascination of this ideal miniature system.
Four Main Outfits are available (Nos. 11, 12, 13 and 14). These Main Outfits are connected by Accessory Outfits Nos. 11c, 12c and 13c. A No. 11 Outfit can be converted into a No. 12 Outfit by the purchase of Accessory Outfit No. 11c. Then a No. 12c would convert into a No. 13 and so on. Spare parts can be bought separately (in any quantity) so there is practically no limit to the sizes of the models that can be built.
The rather unusual, somewhat stilted language you've read in the opening paragraph [above] is Mr MECCANO's, not mine.
BAYKO Fliers
This is the usual marketing term for the sort of leaflets intended to be handed out to members of the public in general and potential customers in particular.
The picture to the right shows a variety of fliers including one from 1934 which shows that these were used by BAYKO marketeers right from the earliest days.
Assorted BAYKO fliers and price lists
Unlike the later catalogues supplied with BAYKO sets, many fliers aren't date coded, so we don't know exactly when they were produced.
However, individual designs can be found with a range of different prices.
This strongly suggests that they were given out to would be modellers in large quantities and, subsequently, had to be reprinted regularly.
Comparisons with price data from elsewhere can help narrow down the date of a particular flier.
Spare Parts Lists / Order Forms
As for many toys - HORNBY, MY LITTLE PONY or LEGO - BAYKO parts were a major profit stream. Parts Price Lists [right] were key to this and usually available on shop displays. Plimpton even converted these into Parts Order Forms, helping aspiring modellers calculate how deeply they needed to delve into their pocket money.
Parts price lists from the 1930s and 1950s
These documents are covered more comprehensively elsewhere…
Display Cards
Cards like these [below] were used by many toy manufacturers for display either on the counter, or as part of a larger promotional display.  Similar to today's A4 size, they were printed on card, with an integral, cardboard hinge at the rear, to enable them to stand up.
1959 Shop Display Card, with BAYKO set prices
Given the ubiquity of these cards in the toy trade, and their comparative robustness, it's rather surprising that relatively few BAYKO Display Cards have survived through to the present day.
MECCANO era BAYKO Dsplay Card
Display cards in other materials also exist, though I don't have one to show you. There was a metal version, with printed plastic covering, using the same artwork as the 1950s Window Advert [above, left].
I'm afraid that I don't know exactly when they were first introduced, but they were certainly in common use throughout the 1950s and '60s - I can be confident about this, because I can remember seeing them!
After the metallic Display Cards come the more economical printed card style. The earliest I have to show you [right] is from April, 1959 [based on the prices quoted] though it probably continued to be used through until late 1960, following the MECCANO takeover.
There's circumstantial evidence [right] suggesting the set prices you see were actually printed on a separate sheet which was stuck over an earlier version, presumably with different prices. Click anywhere on the small image to see a larger image, showing two sets of decorative lines.
Top left hand edge of the 1959 Display Card, showing the added printed sheet
The second example [above, left] is very much of the MECCANO era. The relatively uncommon landscape format is interesting, as is the debut of the bowler-hatted HOMEPRIDE Flour Graders, before their 1964 defection into BAYKO-off territory! I take no responsibility for that corny joke, which remains the property of the Museum of Liverpool!
MECCANO era Display Cards and other similar items may have been designed by Leon Goodman Displays Limited…
The use of these Display Cards and the Showcards [detailed below] are essentially the same, though they carried different titles within the MECCANO administration systems.
3-Dimensional Display Signs
As far as I know there's only ever been one such.  Appearing in a letter to MECCANO retailers [September, 1961] that showed all available display items for the full product range [including BAYKO] - coded 71713/02.
If you would like to know more about this letter…
Plimpton era Retail Packs - known as Accessory Packs at the time
According to the letter, this sign was actually called a “Light Thief Sign”, strange terminology indeed, presumably emphasising the sign's 'dayglo' ink work in red against a blue background.
Self supporting, it would have sat on a shelf, counter, or in the window - depending on the shopkeeper's view of 'dayglo' ink!
This image is shown courtesy of Andrew Lance of the Hornby Railways Collectors Association.
Display Models
Plimpton era Retail Packs - known as Accessory Packs at the time
These, with supporting flags, are discussed separately elsewhere…
Display Shelving
These too existed are also discussed elsewhere…
Retail Display Packs
These are likewise detailed elsewhere…
Retail Display Racks
MECCANO ERA Retail Packs Display Rack
These must date from the June, 1962, which is when the MECCANO era retail packs were introduced.  Part of the arrangement was the provision, “Free on Loan”, of a Display Rack to any retailer who bought at least 10 of each of the 8 different packs.
The official photo [right] shows us all we need to know about using the Display Rack. To me, this seems to have been quite an attractive deal, which begs the question - “Why have none of these survived?” - unless you know different!
It is made of white-plastic covered wire and designed to sit on a counter, pedestal or broad shelf, to bring it up to adult eye level. It measured : -
1' 11" x 1' 6" x 1' 6"
[584 x 457 x 457mm]
The Display Rack must have been pretty full with the initial stock of 80 retail Packs on board!
I doubt that a similar Plimpton era Display Pack existed, as the pack headers had no holes, but…
Retail Cabinets
These held the retailer's stock of separate BAYKO parts and were made of either wood or cardboard.
MECCANO era Retail Display Cabinet
The Retail Cabinets [left] were designed to sit proudly on the toy shop counter [though many retailers often had their own different ideas!] where the colourful BAYKO parts display on the back could attract the customers, and help separate them from their pocket money!
I can remember the eager anticipation I felt on regular Saturday morning trips to The Pram Shop in my home town of Blackburn as the drawers of their cabinet slid open.
These too are discussed in full elsewhere…
The use of a 'Showcard' like this is easy to understand. It was printed as a simple piece of card, with a single fold running vertically to give it the specified “3-dimensionsal” look…
…with the slight projection of the low flat roof to the left of the card, perhaps helping.
show card image taken from a September, 1961 letter to retailers
Reference coded 71705/02, this item is described in the September, 1961 letter to retailers showing what display materials were available, as a “3-dimensional Showcard Full Colour”, sadly it doesn't specify what those colours were, or, indeed, how the 3-D bit worked!
Showcards like this would have been intended to sit in a prominent position on a display shelf, on the toyshop counter, or perhaps even in the shop window, of toy shops and toy departments, across the country and possibly even further afield.
In truth, the distinction between these Showcards and the Display Cards [detailed above] is essentially just one of terminology, and there usage would have been very similar.
This image is shown courtesy of Andrew Lance of the Hornby Railways Collectors Association.
Shelf Strip
The use of this 'Shelf Strip' [coded 71717/06] is easy to understand. It was printed as a simple card, with a single fold running the full length. Move your mouse anywhere over the image [below] to demonstrate the fold…
MECCANO era BAYKO Showcard, complete with demonstration of the folding
…the top flap sat, flat on the shelf surface, tucked neatly under a pile of BAYKO sets, while, the product information sat vertically, attracting the shoppers to the MECCANO era incarnation of world's first and finest plastic construction toy.
I'm afraid I can't give you an exact date for this item, as there is no code. However, in the top right hand corner, i.e. on the bit that goes flat on the shelf, there is an admin or, more likely, a printer's reference code “B2” together with the legend “Printed in England”. This begs the question as to who printed it, as most of the MECCANO era BAYKO documentation doesn't specify nationality, but is widely believed to have been printed in house.
Shelf Strip
The above item [coded 71701/02] is taken from a letter to MECCANO BAYKO retailers, detailing available display items…
This item is clearly similar to the above, but is described as being “Yellow Dayglo Lettering on Red Ground”. I suspect that this is actually the earlier version, based solely on the comparison of the subscripts within the codes, but I can't be certain.
These images are shown courtesy of Andrew Lance and Peter Hilton of the HRCA - thanks gentlemen.
It's not difficult to see the link between Shelf Strips like this and the smaller, price stickers like those below…
Shelf Price Stickers
The use of these Shelf Price Stickers is fairly self-explanatory, and their bright, 'Dayglo' vertical surfaces may well have been the most visible piece of BAYKO marketing in your local 1950s or 1960s toyshop.
Most toy shops probably wouldn't have had the space to do large, spectacular displays of BAYKO sets - I know, unbelievable isn't it‽
Your average toy shop would probably do little more than simply display their stock of BAYKO sets and conversion sets on their standard shelving…
…and, like many other manufacturers of the day, Plimpton offered their retailers small price stickers to fit on their shelves to attract attention to the world's finest plastic construction toy.
This method of pushing the product was evidently regarded as being effective, as MECCANO continued to use them in the 1960s [below].
The examples shown here were made from thin card and measure 5 x 2 inches [127 x 50 mm], roughly twice the size of the images shown.
1959 BAYKO Shelf Sticker for Set #3, 54/3

1959 BAYKO Shelf Sticker for Set #4, 104/6
The actual colours shown here are not strictly accurate as both the yellow and red inks were 'dayglo', which just doesn't show up well on today's computer scanners and screens. Non-the-less the colours shown here do catch something of the brightness [garishness?] of the originals. Actually scanners hardly pick up the 'dayglo' colours at all, all of which created a surprising amount of work for yours truly.
The prices on these cards only applied briefly from either April, 1959 [from a dated Retailers Card] or July, 1959 [from 'MECCANO Magazine' adverts] until after the MECCANO takeover. Publishing deadlines may account for this discrepancy, making the April start date the more likely. Beyond this prices for Plimpton style BAYKO sets are shrouded in a poorly documented MECCANO mist [as the new management crawled into action!] but the certainly appeared to reach May, 1960.
"…and now", as Monty Python didn't say, "for something completely the same…"
Superficially, the following two Shelf Display Cards [below, right & left] are the same as those above, but are interesting for several reasons : -
1955 to 1959 set #3 shelf card
Firstly, the same material, size and colour suggest a consistent marketing policy‽
1955 to 1959 set #4 shelf card
Secondly, the set prices, pre-date those above - February, 1955 to January, 1959.
Thirdly, there's no dot under the “o” of “No” on the set #4 card [right], but there is on the set #3 card [left] - perhaps suggestive of a third print run?
Lastly, the lower loop of the BAYKO “B” is more open - yet another nerdy bit!
One question occurs to me, I wonder were any of these Shelf Display Cards ever produced for BAYKO conversion sets…
That's it as far as the Plimpton era Shelf Display Cards are concerned, but it's worth noting that they were obviously thought to be sufficiently effective for Mr. MECCANO to continue using them for some time.
Late 1961 BAYKO Shelf Sticker for set 11

Late 1961 BAYKO Shelf Sticker for set 12
Into the MECCANO era, and the concept is alive and well, though the artwork has been updated, as well as the set numbers and prices.
Late 1961 BAYKO Shelf Sticker for set 13

Late 1961 BAYKO Shelf Sticker for set 14
The late 1961 date is based on the quoted BAYKO set prices which applied during that comparatively limited period.
n.b. - The originals for these come from black and white photocopies, so the colours are mine, though I have matched the ones below…
In my defence, I didn't want to display a set of 'monochrome smudges', when this could easily, and realistically, be avoided, so I spent a couple of hours preparing them…
…I believe the similarity of the typesetting of the two sets of stickers is sufficient to make the colour choice defensible.
MECCANO were obviously very satisfied with the effectiveness of the BAYKO Shelf Sticker concept, because they continued to utilise it after set #15 was launched on the U.K. market in August, 1962.
MECCANO era BAYKO Shelf Sticker for Set #11
Of course there'll always be times when knowing set prices isn't going to help you with dating something like a shelf sticker at all…
MECCANO era BAYKO Shelf Sticker for Set #13
…not least because there are no prices on them!
MECCANO era BAYKO Shelf Sticker for Set #12
The five shelf stickers, including set #15, shown here are all from the MECCANO era, and therefore date from between 1962 and 1964
MECCANO era BAYKO Shelf Sticker for Set #14
…sadly, as you can see, they contain no helpful price data.
This probably says more about the price volatility which was creeping into the U.K. market place in the early 1960s, and also, perhaps, reflects the parlous state of MECCANO's finances…
MECCANO era BAYKO Shelf Sticker for Set #15
…either way, the retailer clearly had to do the pricing job him or herself.
Just a thought, without detracting from the above comments, perhaps this style would also have been used for English speaking export markets, avoiding having to print the relevant BAYKO set prices in multiple currencies.
For those, like me, who are candidates for visiting Nerd's Corner, the MECCANO admin code for these stickers is 71717/06.
If you would like to find out more about the price of BAYKO Sets over the life of the product…
I hope you've found this section interesting - it's highly probable that both Plimpton and MECCANO used a variety of other BAYKO Sales Aids over the years : -
If you've more info. for the site, or display items for my collection, then I'd love to hear from you…
Below here are links to related info : -
Click on any of the links below for related information.

The 'Flaming BAYKOMAN' site logo

Latest update - May 24, 2019
The BAYKO name and Logo are the Registered Trade Mark of Transport of Delight.