C.B. Plimpton, BAYKO's Inventor

Charles Bird Plimpton was born, at a very young age, in 1893, in Peckham, London, later (in)famous as the home of Del-Boy! Charles too was a genuine entrepreneur, and, I suspect, substantially more ethical.
The geographical aspect of his birth is interesting, in that his older siblings were both born on the Wirral, [then Cheshire, now Merseyside] and the family clearly returned there at some point, certainly by the time of the 1901 census.
This colour image of C.B. Plimpton, the only colour one I've seen is shown courtesey of Brian Tunstill
His father, John Calvin Plimpton, an American citizen from Walpole, Massachusetts, had moved to Merseyside, where he established his Import/Export business…
His mother was Caroline Augusta Plimpton [C.A.!], née Bird - clearly the origin of C.B.'s middle name. She too was an American citizen, again from Walpole, MA.
C.B. was educated at Birmingham University, though he only finished 2 years of his 3 year course, his studies having been interrupted by Kaiser Bill and Gavrilo Princip's bullet in Sarajevo.
The Pure & Applied Mathematics, Physics, Metallurgy, Engineering & Engineering Drawing he studied there doubtless stood C.B. in good stead, both with BAYKO production…
…whilst serving aboard H.M.S. Mars, a veteran navy ship from 1896
…and during his military service on board Minesweepers.
At one stage during his childhood, when his mother was seriously ill, C.B. stayed with the Kendal family, most likely in Walpole. At some stage, C.B. went into his father's business, and even, spent a brief period working for a clock and watch manufacturer in America. This presumably helped him, in 1922, successfully submit a patent application for “Improvements in Clocks and Clock Movements”
One enigma relates to C.B.'s education - the family American connection is clear, as are his personal stays there - however that doesn't explain the fact that his personal writing style [idioms, spelling, etc.] was also American, but surely most of his childhood education was U.K. based. Most British kids would take teacher's opinion over parent's every day of the week, so…
C.B. Plimpton married Audrey in 1922.
A soggy day I'm afraid, but this is the house that C.B. Plimpton lived in during his control of the company
At least during the years between the two patent applications mentioned below, C.B. and Audrey lived at : -
39, Hamilton Road,
For the uninitiated, this is on the Wirral peninsular, just across the Mersey from Liverpool. The local government reorganisation of 1972 picked it up and plonked it down into Merseyside - just as in Southport, this was not to unanimous approval!
C.B. was well over 6 feet tall, his height further exaggerated by his “painfully thin” build. A serious case of T.B. led to a long stay in a sanatorium at Ruthin, North Wales. and may also have gone a long way to explaining his build, if not further exaggerating it.
Whilst in the sanatorium, to help fill the long, empty days, he began to work on his designs for a new construction toy.
There had been an earlier card/wood version, MOBACO, from Mobal in Holland - popular in the 1920s & '30s, it too survived into the 1960s. The individual MOBACO 'panels' were several times larger than a standard BAYKO brick, significantly restricting architectural variety and innovation - a personal opinion.
C.B.'s genius was to use the [then] latest technology - BAKELITE - the world's first truly commercial plastic…
On November 20th, 1933 he applied for a patent for BAYKO, which was granted in January, 1935.
A limited scale production, packed in the family kitchen at their Wallasey home, was prepared for Christmas, 1933.
Despite early teething problems with the full scale production, Plimpton Engineering successfully launched BAYKO Light Constructional sets in time for Christmas, 1934.
C.B. drove the company's innovation, keeping them abreast of developments in plastic technology until his death on December 29th, 1948, following the re-emergence of his TB.
C.B. was actually granted a second patent for BAYKO less than 4 weeks before his untimely death.
C.B. was well respected in the Toy Trade and his work was recognised in the February issue of the trade magazine, 'Games and Toys'
BAYKO's innovation stream, which had clearly been driven by C.B.'s famous love of, and enthusiasm for, his invention, now dried almost completely, only 3 new parts being produced during the 1950s.
The 'Plimpton Sisters' visiting us at a BAYKO ollectors Club meeting in Nottingham
C.B. and Audrey had 2 daughters - Anne and Jean. [right]
Although both were directors of Plimpton Engineering, they never took active formal roles in the business…
…but they do remember hand packing BAYKO sets on the family kitchen table, ready for Christmas, 1933!
In recent years they have both been gracious enough to take an interest in the continuing enthusiasm for their father's invention, and have been very supportive of the BAYKO Collectors Club. They have travelled to Club exhibitions on more than one occasion, for which support the B.C.C. is very grateful. As an example, at the 2014 exhibition, in the Museum of Liverpool, they lost themselves in conversations with every member present, BAYKO royalty in deed!
Below here are links to related info : -
Click on any of the links below for related information.

The 'Flaming BAYKOMAN' site logo

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