Lines Brothers

Lines Brothers, who are perhaps best known as the manufacturers of the TRI-ANG range of toys, took over MECCANO, including BAYKO, in, or around, January, 1964.
An announcement in March, 1964, in 'Games and Toys', a leading trade publication for the U.K. toy market, states that MECCANO will continue to operate as a separate company, in “friendly competition” with the rest of the organisation.
From the point of view of this site, I do not propose to discuss 'Lines Brothers era' BAYKO as a separate category, not least because it was, beyond the marketing [lack of] question, indistinguishable from the mainstream MECCANO era, presumably because of the autonomy referred to above.
It can be no coincidence that the original Plimpton Engineering Company was formally wound up as from January 1st, 1964, with BAYKO being fully integrated into the MECCANO company from that date.
The business case for the takeover is not immediately obvious. Lines Brothers themselves had delivered poor results for quite a few years, regularly failing to live up to its more optimistic company profit forecasts. They had at least been consistent with what had been an acquisitive strategy over many years. It's also not too difficult to convince yourself that there was more than a hint of ego trip about this, as the Lines Brothers had finally bested one of their biggest, most durable rivals.
CLIKI-PLUS from Toy Trader and Hobby & Model Stockist, October, 1964
The lack of a coherent corporate strategy is, perhaps, best summed up by the fact that both sides of the organisation were busy pushing new plastic construction toys within a month of each other later the same year. The MECCANO products, CLIKI and CLIKI-PLUS were 'reviewed' in what is known as an 'advertising puff', in October, 1964, in 'Games and Toys', while TRI-ANG's product, PENNYBRIX followed, in a similar vein, in the very next issue of the same magazine.
Pennybrix set on display at the BAYKO Collectors Club, December, 2011
One thing we can be certain about is that these Lines Brothers era 'puffs' did absolutely nothing at all to help BAYKO, which was only mentioned, beyond in-house publicity literature, on one more occasion in external media, as far as I can tell. Specifically, that was in the March, 1964, edition of 'TOY TRADER and HOBBY & MODEL STOCKIST' - and even that was a lie!!!
All these factors point to the fact that BAYKO could well have been described as a 'dead man walking' - it was certainly indicative that no support was going to be allocated, and that BAYKO would be 'milked' for the rest of its life. It's, perhaps, worth reminding ourselves of the longevity of the three replacement plastic products!
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Latest update - August 10, 2022
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