BAYKO - Company Navigator

The purpose of this Company section is to bring together information on corporate matters and structure, which sounds a bit of a turn-off, but it also includes information on BAYKO's inventor, C.B. Plimpton [and his dad!]; interesting departments, like the MECCANO era Modelling Shop; the company's takeover history; BAYKO Factories; and even a little information about the BAYKO Van!
I hope you find the mix interesting.
Charles Bird Plimpton invented BAYKO - the world's finest architectural toy and the first plastic one.
He set up the Plimpton Engineering Company Limited [company number #464,070] to manufacture it - unfortunately Companies House can't provide any details on the incorporation dates, etc., having lost the lot!
Early BAYKO Set 2
BAYKO was produced in Liverpool from 1934 to 1964, though it was still advertised in the 1967 MECCANO products price list and there is even a spare parts list from the same year! However, what we can say is that the marketing effort after 1964 was pretty damned cold if not absolute zero.
At first BAYKO was made from BAKELITE, the first commercial plastic, hence the name - BAYKO Light Constructional sets.
BAYKO suspended production between 1942 and 1946 as they refocused to support the war effort.
C.B. Plimpton - BAYKO's inventor
Innovation was the name of C.B. Plimpton's game. This high level of innovation was recognised by the granting of two patents [links below]…
BAYKO inevitably reflected, and indeed often lead, the rapid development of plastic technology during its 30 year life.
C.B. Plimpton died in 1948 and much of the innovation died with him.
64% of plastic parts debuted during C.B.'s reign, which was just 40% of the toy's life almost 3 times the innovation rate which followed.
Only 3 new parts emerged in the 1950s while LEGO make more than 1 a week - a hundred times more innovation!
Despite this, much of the 1950s were successful - annual sales topped 150,000 sets in the mid 1950s.
Set 14 which was, initially, the largest set from the MECCANO era
MECCANO took over Plimpton Engineering in September, 1959
…but didn't actually introduce their own version until very late in 1960.
BAYKO Building Sets production must have finally stopped some time around January, 1964
…because the Plimpton Engineering Company Limited was formally dissolved on January 1st, 1964 - information supplied by Companies House.
However, a limited number of MECCANO era BAYKO sets have been found with quality control slips dated mid 1964.
'MECCANO Magazine' advertised BAYKO, intermittently, until February, 1964.
Oddly BAYKO was still listed in the MECCANO price list dated July, 1966 as England were winning the football World Cup! In deed it was still there in January the following year - it looks like MECCANO were milking BAYKO for whatever residual income was available, without committing any spending on advertising.
Post-war, BAYKO was exported to at least 24 countries, peaking at 35% of the total business.
Pre-war, Plimpton certainly intended to export BAYKO as their 1939 appeal for agents in 'Games and Toys', the leading trade paper for the UK toy industry confirmed, but I don't know anything about their actual export achievements before the war, except, perhaps for Canada. Literature suggests the Canadians got a flying start after the war, perhaps indicative of a thriving proven market?
Advert in Games and Toys, May 1939, which clearly shows Plimpton's intent
I've no knowledge of the BAYKO's export performance during the MECCANO era, but, given their own products' penetration of the global market place, it is likely that BAYKO too continued to enjoy a substantial export trade.
I believe that Plimpton also did contract production work for other companies - they might well have made plastic parts for MECCANO such as the rockets which were included with various DINKY toys.
Mottled BAYKO Screwdriver with foreign colours
I only have circumstantial and anecdotal evidence for this…
…but, if you look at the 'Friday afternoon' mottled screwdriver [left - click on the image to see a larger version] you can clearly see that it includes specks of black, blue and yellow plastic…
…none of these colours was ever used in the manufacture of Plimpton era BAYKO, so where did the demob happy 'Friday afternoon' operator manage to get the materials from?
This wasn't just a one-off, there are plenty of other examples of mottled BAYKO screwdrivers around, many of which also have 'foreign' coloured plastic included in the mix. Cheap job lots offered by a salesman may be the reason, but I both hope, and believe not.
If you have any more info I'd love to hear from you…
Below here are links to related info : -
Click on any of the links below for related information.

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Latest update - August 10, 2022
The BAYKO name and Logo are the Registered Trade Mark of Transport of Delight.