BAYKO Shop Display Models

Here there is rather surprisingly little to go on in the Plimpton era, other than personal experience and anecdotal accounts. However, the combination of MECCANO era literature, together with more widespread Display Model support Signage, suggests that this may have been a more substantial field than appears at first sight, even during the Plimpton era. I'm sorry if that seems a bit convoluted, but sometimes the patchiness of research results just falls out that way!
MECCANO were justly famous, as indeed, more recently, are LEGO, for the excellence of the Display Models they produced to promote their product.
BAYKO, apart from a limited number of one-off models, produced primarily for major international toy fairs and possibly for promotional displays in a few large retailers, were much less exhibitionist. However, Plimpton did offer [sadly unspecified] display models in a supplement, in 'Games & Toys', the leading U.K. toy trade publication, in October, 1953. Mr. MECCANO was much more proactive.
Retail dispaly version of pre-war set 20
Particularly worthy of note is the BAYKO set #20 shown in the picture [left] which was surely designed to double as a Shop Display item - why else is the packaging so different from the standard set box type?
I suspect the model also shown in the image was intended to be displayed within the box, with the lid closed, [unlike the image] but the front flap open [as in the image]. Perfect - compact and attractive! The 20s series BAYKO sets were manufactured between 1938 and the second world war so this display version would definitely have been regarded as quite innovative for its day.

Display Signs for Models

While I have personal childhood memories of occasionally seeing individual BAYKO models on display in toyshop windows or other display areas inside…
Tree display sign for a set 1 model

Tree display sign for a set 3 model

Tree display sign for a set 4 model
Small retail display flag in front of the famous detached house from the 1950sincluding the [very rare] balcony

Mini Flag style display sign for use with models

Animation showing both sides of the Set 2 Lollipop Display Sign
…I'm afraid I just don't remember seeing any signs with them…
…nevertheless, there can be little doubt that the Display Signs, such as the small flag shown, in front of the garage, on the model [left, upper] was intended for just that purpose.
The picture [left, upper] shows a model typical of those used to push BAYKO sales. These were available - “on free loan” - direct from Plimpton, certainly in April, 1950, when they offered their retailers an, unfortunately, unspecified range of BAYKO Shop Display Models.
The actual flag itself [left, middle] is 'slightly foxed' as the second hand book trade would say, [marked by an assortment of age, acidity, fungi, or mould]. It is actually double sided - if you move your mouse anywhere over the image you'll see the [similar] reverse side.
Like the other Model Display Signs shown here, it dates from between the late 1940s and the mid 1950s. I'm afraid I can't be more specific than that, as I've yet to see any specific mention of them in BAYKO literature, however, the logo style is a general clue, with colour inclusion a probable marker as to their likely sequence.
The circular “Lollipop” sign [left, lower] has the same use, but is, I strongly suspect, a later design - the greater use of colour giving it away.
As so often seems to have been the case with print work of the time, the colour positioning has room for improvement, though, to be fair in this case, it is a small sign.
There was yet another style, this time in the shape of a festive “Christmas Tree”, [right], though, they don't strike me as being particularly festive. These excellent images were originally shown courtesy of Malcolm Hanson, though now they are actually mine.
As an interesting, though not irrelevant aside, I can also remember fairly regularly seeing BAYKO models being used as part of 'shop window' displays in both Estate Agents [Realtors] and Architects studios…
…I can even remember being a bit surprised, though pleased, to see such a model in a small side window in a Windsor property, as late as the mid 1970s, though, alas, I'm afraid that I don't remember the exact nature of the business.
All these Model Display signs had one thing in common, they were intended to be located in front of BAYKO Shop Display Models, using standard BAYKO Rods, probably a 3-Brick for a single storey model, or a 4-Brick Rod for a double storey model - though, of course, my sense of aesthetics may not match the toyshop manager's!
The two styles to the left of this section [above - Flag and Lollipop] were double sided, and intended to be folded over and glued, so they clung on to the Rod. The Flag with the fold to the side, and the Lollipop via a narrow top 'hinge'.
By contrast, the single sided Model Display Signs, [right above - Trees] were stuck to the Rod with a small piece of tape at the back.

Shop Display Models

Apart from the, sadly vague, trade advert already referred to above, the only Plimpton literature [referring directly to the supply of Shop Display Models to BAYKO retailers] that I've unearthed, is in a "No Charge Delivery Note", dated November 27th, 1959. This clearly stated that the models are shipped "on loan". Well, at least that's cheaper than for Mr. MECCANO!
Perhaps it's the shorter time scale, or, more probably the larger quantities [of both paper and collectors!] but, to date, there are just three surviving documents showing any details of the Shop Display Models which were on offer, all three  of them dating from the MECCANO era.
1961 letter to retailer - BAYKO page
The first of these [right] dates from January, 1961 and comprises half of a letter sent, by MECCANO, to their retailers and offers a choice of four, different, ready-made, models, which the retailers could buy in support of their in-store BAYKO displays. Given that MECCANO era BAYKO sets only just limped onto the shelves just before Christmas 1960, this document suggests, perhaps, that better lay ahead.
The 1961 Shop Display Model range shown is as follows : -
61/B1 - Bungalow
@ 7/6
61/B2 - Drive Through Bank
@ 12/6
61/B3 - Detached House
@ 15/-
61/B4 - House and Garage
@ £1/7/6
The order of the models [B3, B4, B2, B1] on the page defies explanation - so far, any way - and the choice of a modest “Drive Through Bank” sticks out. I've never come across such a building, but, in a flight of fancy, I can't help wondering if its ultimate audience was across the pond.
If you would like to read more of this document's place in the general run of communication with BAYKO retailers…
Front of the MECCANO Trade Letter, January, 1962
I must admit to more than a little satisfaction, or is it relief(‽), that I've finally got my grubby little mitts on this document. [left and right] It seemed self-evident that it must exist, being intermediate between the earlier 1961 document [above] and the 1963 document [below]. But since when did logic play a part in such things‽
Rear of the MECCANO Trade Letter, January, 1962
This 1962 document is MECCANO's communication to their BAYKO retailers and is actually date coded January 6th, 1962, getting BAYKO's year off to a flying start!
Like the earlier document [above], this document is double-sided, [in contrast to its successor] the rear being shared with an up-and-coming young product, DINKY TOYS. However, the world's first, and finest, plastic construction toy is clearly the main focus of the communication. If you couple this with the [then] planned launch of set #15 and conversion set #14C, was Mr MECCANO actually optimistic about BAYKO at that stage?
As can be seen [below] the list of BAYKO Shop Display Models has been increased, from four, to six, the two extras representing the [then] new set #15. In addition to this, three of the original four models have all been changed - the “Bungalow” remained. I'm not sure why these new models were deemed more market responsive, or was it merely a chance to sell more models as the incurable cynic in me suspects‽
Somewhat cynically, [again‽] perhaps, but I have to wonder just how long the MECCANO marketing summit lasted, when they discussed the change in the code system from 61/B1 to B11/62! However, to be fair, to me the latter is more intuitive : -
As distinct from 'A' for MECCANO models‽
The BAYKO Set number.
The year code.
The full 1962 Shop Display Model range shown is as follows : -
B11/62 - Kiosk
@ 8/6
B12/62 - Seaside Chalet
@ 13/6
B13/62 - Railway Booking Hall
@ 17/6
B14/62 - Bungalow
@ £1/5/0
B15A/62 - Public Hall
@ £2/2/0
B15B/62 - Bungalow with Verandah
@ £2/2/0
Strangely, of the top four models, three have had significant price increases over their 1961 counterparts, but the set #14 model price has come down!
The Bungalow model [despite the name changes] alone remained ever present.
If you would like to read more of this document's place in the general run of communication with BAYKO retailers…
The third of these documents [below left], is shown courtesy of Chris Reeve, dates from 1963. The range of Shop Display Models has now been significantly changed, though it has been maintained at six, as the year before.  Just to confuse your humble webmaster, one model, the “Detached House”, from 1961, has been taken off the naughty step, and reinstated. The “Bungalow” is still there, but the other four models are all new to this arena, but are included in the contemporary instruction manuals or model sheets.
The 1963 leaflet showing the 6 models and other display items
The full list of 1963 Shop Display Models is : -
B11/63 - Bungalow with Garden
@ 12/4
B12/63 - Station Halt
@ 17/6
B13/63 - Garage and Workshop
@ £1/1/-
B14/63 - Detached House
@ £1/7/6
B15A/63 - House with Shop
@ £2/10/-
B15B/63 - School with Pantile Roof
@ £2/12/6
The 1963 prices are certainly significantly higher than in 1962, with the “Bungalow”, the only ever present, for example, having gone up by 46%, in just twelve months, and the “Detached House” by 83% in two years, which, I suspect, says more about MECCANO's instability than the prevailing inflation rate.
There's no real correlation between the model prices and the sets they support, other than that they get more expensive with increase in set size, suggesting they were arrived at separately, rather than based on building cost or parts included.
If you would like to read more of this document's place in the general run of communication with BAYKO retailers…
If you've more information on Shop Display Models or Signs, then I'd love to hear from you…
It would be very easy to believe that the above was the full shop Display Model story, and, in fact, here was exactly where this web page concluded for some considerable time, until, that was, I came across this 'interesting' BAYKO model on eBay [below, right].
It would be easy to get a little carried away with enthusiasm about this model as, arguably, I did as far as the bidding was concerned!!!  Still, joking apart, I'm pleased I did, because I believe it tells us a lot about just how the British shopkeeper thought about, and valued BAYKO.
Home made, shop display BAYKO Model
There are several points of interest, but let's start by examining the model itself - it's a fake.  Don't get me wrong, it's 100% pure BAYKO in terms of components, but that's where the genuine tag stops.  This definitely isn't a professionally built model of the type referred to above, rather it was made by the shopkeeper him/herself, or one of their staff…
…how do I know?  Basically there are too many 'mistakes' in its construction - just look!
As for other details, they too are of mixed pedigree, though remember, the model above came direct from a lady on the south coast, who, in turn had acquired it direct from a local toy shop, where it was displayed exactly as we see it here.  Let's take the details one item at a time : -
Spare parts sourcing information slip

BAYKO Dealer label on a white Curved Brick from a home made, shop display model
Firstly, the roof label [left].  It's clearly a genuine BAYKO printed label, though it's a new one to me, which has been stuck, with excessive vigour [and glue!], directly onto the roof.  It reads as follows : -
Home made flags from the shop display model
“Spare parts can be purchased only through your local BAYKO dealer.”
Secondly, the two BAYKO 'flags' [right].  Initially, both look genuine, but, have actually been cut, 'Blue Peter style', from early post-war BAYKO manuals.  The printing is genuine enough, but the flags are strictly home made.
Thirdly, there is a label [left], on the white Curved Brick above the Curved Window, at the left hand side, on the front of the model.
It is clearly a neatly printed item, in green ink on a white background, but I have no means of knowing if this too was home made, using a LETRASET type system, or was provided as a pre-printed item by Plimpton, or even MECCANO.
In the dim and distant past, I actually used LETRASET, which as I remember used black, not coloured, lettering, but that isn't conclusive, nor is the fact that it is such a neat job, employing a font not unlike that used by MECCANO.
Whatever the technology used, or the provenance of this label, its quality and effectiveness are not in dispute.
Well, that's it, with that last detail, but I don't think it really matters.  The key issue here, I feel, is the overall impression made by the model - as it was seen, in the toy shop, probably for many years, by its target - the discerning young south coast toy buyers of the day…
…I like it, inauthentic warts and all!
Well, that's it for the moment - until the next time - but it's nice to remember that in those independent toy shops of 'yesteryear', so much was dependant on the personality and drive of the toy shop's owner or manager.
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Latest update - August 22, 2022
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