BAYKO Set Labelling

Several people have asked me to produce something like this over the years, but it has taken quite a time to put it together. I hope you find it both useful and interesting - I must confess to being quite pleased with the way it's turned out.
Just before we look at the actual set labels, you'll notice the sheer number of different BAYKO logo variations used, particularly on Side Labels…
The whole purpose of the labelling of any product is to grab the attention of possible customers, with the intent of successfully converting them into purchasers - this is the obvious purpose of the Main Label on the top of every standard BAYKO set.
Sometimes product features mitigate against this, and, arguably, the bulkiness of many BAYKO sets comes into play here. Naturally Toyshop shelf space was at a premium, with sets often stacked flat - all that eye catching artwork out of sight. Add the convenience factor, even for experienced shop staff, to identify different sets, and you have the rationale for secondary labelling on the side of the lids [usually the left] - Side Labels.
The comparative lack of Side Labels on the sides of many of the earlier conversion sets, I believe, supports the customer focus argument - modellers buying conversion sets, are, by definition, familiar with the product and less in need of visual attraction. This is further reinforced by the far greater effort on the quality of main BAYKO set labelling compared with conversion set labelling.
I may have been over-egging this particular pudding, for a start, many of the pre-war conversion sets were, too thin to accommodate a Side Label - yet!
For simplicity, I've organised labels in chronological order, grouping Side Labels with the Main Labels alongside which they appeared. However - there's always a 'however' - for the immediate post-war period, I've had to deviate a little, to try and accommodate the relative chaos prevailing at the time, after the decision to move away from the 'New Series' set structure.
As you wander through BAYKO's label trail, notice, although the phrase doubtless wasn't invented early enough, the 'gender neutrality' of them all.
n.b. All the images on this page are set to exactly the same width, so any differences in depth, in particular, or shape, in general, are accurately, proportionately reflected. I've included the dimensions of every Plimpton era label should you feel the need for absolute size comparisons.

1933 to 1934 - Standard Sets - Patent Pending

After an initial patent application on November 30th, 1933, together with a further submission on June 23rd, 1934, C.B. Plimpton was finally granted a patent for BAYKO on January 16th, 1935.
Before that date, the bottom left hand edge of all set Main Labels [right] bore the legend : -
“PATENT APP No 32235/33”
This is so early in the life of BAYKO that I'm uncertain as to whether or not there were conversion sets at this date - I sadly don't have any with the above patent comment.
If you can resolve this, perhaps even have a scanned conversion set image showing the above patent comment, then I'd love to hear from you…
The artwork is innovative and pleasing - unlike the printing, the quality of which is probably best described as variable! Colour alignment apparently being a continual challenge.
Early set 2 with the patent applied for Main Label
415 x 200 mm = 16.3 x 7.9 inches
The same set label was used for all the standard BAYKO sets of the period, which was obviously the cheapest solution.
For some reason, lost in the mists of time, the Main Label dimensions were inconsistent, varying by around 5 mm [0.2 inches].
I can only suggest this was because of different print runs, perhaps even by different printers, in those low volume, early days for BAYKO.
…and now for the Side Labels…
There seems to have been a strange convention amongst the Side Labels in these sets [right]…
…strangely the Side Labels for the sets #1, #3 and #5, i.e. odd numbered sets [right upper] had the “BAYKO OUTFIT” script printed in red with a white highlight, against a green background, plus a brown [= red + green] central disc and, finally, an overall red outline…
…I feel like a fashion correspondent reporting from the catwalk…
…whereas sets #2 and #4, the even numbered sets [right lower] had the script printed in green, again with a white highlight, with a red background, plus a green central disc and overall outline.
If there's a rationale for it, then I really can't see it!
Patent applied for Set 1 Side Label
Patent applied for Set 4 Side Label
100 x 28 mm = 4.1 x 1.15 inches
Box colours during this period were mainly a darkish red.

1934 - Ornamental Additions Sets - Patent Pending

Ornamental Additions set C - early patent applied for version
As described above, BAYKO was awarded its first patent on January 16th, 1935.
Before that date, in the top left hand corner, all BAYKO 'Ornamental Additions' set labels again bore the legend : -
“PATENT APP Nº 32235/33”
There were no Side Labels and no conversion sets in this particular series of BAYKO sets.
These sets were unique, in the Plimpton era, in having the set number - OK, letter - printed on the Main Label.
The artwork was identical for all three sets - apart from the 'set letter' - as can be seen in the later, three labels, [below] which were introduced after the patent was granted.
230 x 130 mm = 9.1 x 5.1 inches
This Main Label is 10 mm bigger, in both directions, than the later versions - entirely because it has a wider white margin - extravagance or quality image projection?
Box colour during this period was all brown with a black 'wood grain' type pattern.

1935 to 1938 - Ornamental Additions Sets- Patent Granted

Ornamental Additions Set A box label
After BAYKO's first patent was granted, on January 16th, 1935, the script in the labels' top, left hand corner was changed, and subsequently bore the legend : -
“PATENT Nº 422645”
There were still no Side Labels and no conversion sets in this series of sets.
These sets were unique, in the Plimpton era, in having the set number - yes, I know, set letter - printed on the Main Label.
Apart from the identifying letter, the artwork was identical for all the three sets, and, other than the patent information, also to the earlier sets [above]. I don't normally do this, but the 'C' label is a copy of the 'A' with the 'C' copied in - the true label image would have taken more than a day to tidy up!
Is it just me, or does the “B” look odd? To me it looks upside down - shouldn't the larger loop, conventionally, be the bottom one‽ No - it's not just that the print block was upside down - think about it.
Ornamental Additions set boxes themselves had a stylish brown, wood-grain-patterned-paper cover, adding very much to the 'top of the range', quality image.
These labels show off, to great effect, the stylish BAYKO logo with the interiors of its five constituent letters decorated by a 'pleasingly random' design of loose BAYKO spare parts.

If you would like to see more information on these attractive Ornamental Additions sets…

Ornamental Additions Set B box label
Ornamental Additions Set C box label
220 x 120 mm = 8.7 x 4.7 inches
Box colour during this period was all brown with a black 'wood grain' type pattern.

1935 to 1939 - Pre-War Standard Sets - Patent Granted

Early set 2 Main Label
Patent granted Set 1 Side Label
Patent granted Set 4 Side Label
410 x 195 mm = 16.1 x 7.7 inches
100 x 28 mm = 4.1 x 1.15 inches
The standard and conversion set labels of this period remained unchanged throughout, once the patent had been granted on January 16th, 1935. This includes the major product colour change in 1937, when true red, white and green colours appeared.
The artwork here remained unchanged, apart from a change from “PATENT APP No 32235/33” to “PATENT No 422645” in the bottom left hand corner. It started what became a trend, by including multiple images of models, selling the idea of how versatile BAYKO can be - “limited only by the child's imagination”.
The 'off the wall' colour variation for the set Side Labels [above right] between odd numbered sets [upper] and even numbered sets [lower] continues.
Early conversion set 2A Main Label
Pre-war converting set 3A Side Label, which was actually glued onto the Main Label
410 x 195 mm = 16.1 x 7.7 inches
mm = inches
Firstly, a note on the conversion set Main Labels. [above left] For most of these, Plimpton used the same Main Labels as for the standard sets, but with what I am [wrongly] referring to as a 'Side Label', [above right] here used, centrally, as an oversticker on the Main Label [e.g. above left].
The history of the odd 'Side Label' [above right] is interesting. Initially they were glued onto the Main Label, centrally and low down [above, left].
After Plimpton introduced their 'New Series' sets, in 1939 [below] the new conversion sets were no longer compatible with the original sets - the parts were compatible of course, but the set / conversion set structure was not. Just like MECCANO did twenty years later, Plimpton continued to manufacture the original conversion sets, to support existing customers' development / progression.
For obvious cost saving reasons, Plimpton decided to simplify the labelling of these 'old series' conversion sets - and the small 'Side Labels', like the one above, were used as the only labelling, centrally, on the top of the box.
Early conversion set 1A with Side Label stuck on it
Side label as stuck on the early set 1A conversion set mainlabel
390 x 80 mm = 15.4 x 3.1 inches
151 x 21 mm = 5.9 x 0.8 inches
The exception to the norm [above left] is the unusually shaped conversion set 1A, which uses a 'slice' from the top of the standard Main Label artwork - so truncated, it even clips off a bit of the bottom of the “B” of the BAYKO logo!
Conversion set 1A is relatively thin, so much so that, having printed a Side Label of a suitable size, [above right] Plimpton had a change of heart and stuck the 'Side Label' onto the Main Label, badly aligned, in the middle, at the bottom. [above left]
If you think about the argument I used previously about the comparatively low need to advertise conversion sets, because people with BAYKO sets already know about them - I think this label usage reinforces that argument, though, of course, it wouldn't help shop assistants!
Like the larger green 'Side Label' [above], the narrow style blue set # 1A label also flew solo after the 'New Series' introduction.
Box colours were mainly darkish red, with some blue. Set #6 was brown, initially, then red after the colour change.

1938 to 1940 - 20s Series Special Sets

20s series special sets Main Label
To clear up the main difference from the earlier BAYKO Ornamental Additions sets, which these sets essentially replaced, sitting front and centre on the label is the script : -
“Can be used as a separate set
or as an addition to Bayko standard sets”
Set 21 Side Label
241 x 165 mm = 9.5 x 6.5 inches
99 x 28 mm = 3.9 x 1.1 inches
I've always had mixed feelings about these sets. They introduced some excellent new parts, but I'll never get used to the orange!
I have no such reservations on the highly stylised, 'gender neutral', typical 1930s artwork of the Main Label [above left] - I like it!
The same Main Label artwork was used for all 20s series BAYKO sets, identification being achieved with single format Side Labels [above right] which were very much a continuation from the contemporary standard sets [above & below], though with a uniform red background.
I'm afraid I have no information on the conversion sets from the 20s series - if they ever actually existed!
Box colours were universally red.

1939 to 1940 - 'New Series' Sets

Much commentary on the 'New Series' BAYKO [the title used for the re-launch of the retooled, extended product range, in 1939] is of the “if only” variety, thanks to a jumped up Austrian lad called Adolph! Personally I'd include the artwork [below] in this - it's so evocative, very much of its time, but definitely going places - it deserves to have survived much longer. Note the continued gender neutrality.
New series BAYKO standard set Main Label
New series se 3 Side Label
99 x 28 mm = 3.9 x 1.15 inches
'New Series' conversion set Main Label
261 x 210 mm = 10.3 x 8.3 inches
241 x 115 mm = 9.5 x 4.5 inches
The standard set Main Label [above left] was, as usual, identical on all six sets. I love it, and believe it would have been a very effective marketing tool, given a level, Adolf-free, playing field. The familiar BAYKO slogan, “A Fascinating Pastime for all Ages”, makes its box label debut here.
The artwork for the conversion sets [above right] was more modest [just two colours] and also standardised, except for the conversion set number [top right] which obviously changes for each of the five conversion sets, together with the explanation underneath it - “CONVERTING a No. 4 Set into a No. 5 Set, n.b. the capitals and italics are taken direct from the script.
There was, therefore, no need for a Side Label on the conversion sets, but there was on the standard sets [above, right upper]. Plimpton chose to use the same format as the previous sets, but this time without the confusion of the odds / evens variations.
One, to a non-marketeer's eyes, extremely strange detail is on the BAYKO logo. If you look at the tail of the 'B', at its bottom left corner - it has been truncated, yet there was more than enough space to have shown it in full! Why‽
Box colours were mostly red, but with quite a few blue.

Post-War 'New Series' Sets - 1945/1946

Post-war 'New Series' set #1 Main Label
This Side Label [below] is slightly different from its pre-war, 'New Series' counterpart in that the central circle has reverted to the earlier brown colour [= red + green].
Sadly I've no knowledge of an even numbered set from this period, so can't say whether or not the earlier distinction between the Side Labels for odd and even numbered sets was also re-adopted.
Post-war 'New Series' Side Label
mm = inches
100 x 27 mm = 3.9 x 1.1 inches
As you can see, apart from the lack of a white border, and some small colour variations, presumably austerity driven, this Main Label image [left, above] is the same as its pre-war, 'New Series' counterpart [further above, left].
Coming to too many conclusions based on Chris Boutal's single set #1 is risky, as we have no information to compare it with, however, as an adherent of the cock-up school of life rather than the conspiracy theory approach, I suspect that Plimpton simply used what was lying around, being desperate to 'get something out there and sell it'!
For completeness, the set #1 box concerned is blue, with no interior cardboard structure, similar to others in the next section, and again I suspect this change to be austerity related, rather than a deliberate, planned change of direction.
In the interest of accuracy, the dates are 'best guess', though I am confident in their accuracy.
I'm afraid I can make no comments on conversion sets from this period as I've never come across any, and doubt their existence. However, if you can help with information on post-war 'New Series' sets, including conversion sets, then I really would love to hear from you…

1946 to 1948 / 1949 - Immediate Post-War

Post-war standard sets Main Label
Small ovoid Side Label from a very early post-war set 0
71 x 17 mm = 2.8 x 0.65 inches
Very rare immediate post-war set 2 Side Label
130 x 27 mm = 5.1 x 1.05 inches
Early post-war white centred Side Label from a set )
221 x 177 mm = 8.7 x 7.0 inches
126 x 26 mm = 4.95 x 7.0 inches
After the restricted, rather retrospective, period above, this post-war period represents a somewhat chaotic period of change. Chaotic in the sense that the product varied, the packaging varied and any plan or intent, which might have given us some clues, is scarcely documented.
Immediately above [left] is the first main set label used for all the standard BAYKO sets from the post-war 'New Series' up to 1948, possibly into early 1949. It isn't exactly forward looking, there being a very obvious similarity to the post-war 'new series' label [above left], and earlier standard sets, at least in terms of multi model display.
Beneath this label, as it were, Plimpton made a variety of different sized boxes. Starting with the [then] new set #0 and gradually increasing the range up to set #3 by the end of this period - but it wasn't as simple as that…
…the box sizes of sets 0 to 2 also changed significantly over time, as post-war austerity unwound, allowing more substantial cardboard interiors to be created, requiring more space than the cardboard starved, austerity equivalent, however, the label size remained unchanged throughout.
Also related to restrictions on cardboard supply, both red and blue boxes were used with [to me] no discernable pattern behind the variations.
So far I've found three different Side Labels [above right] which I know were included on BAYKO sets in this period. They are shown in general chronological order - I put it that way, because there's some evidence that it wasn't a simple progression, and that usage of the all-blue and white centred propeller versions overlapped.
This particular Side Label [above] appeared on a set #2 which had a 'minimalist' cardboard interior, making it one of the earliest post-war. I've only ever come across one other example of this label format - on eBay.
That's it for the standard sets - now for the conversion sets.
Early post-war white centred Side Label from a set )
Post-war conversion set Main Label version 1
126 x 26 mm = 4.95 x 7.0 inches
White centred set 1X Side Label from a very early pre-war set
126 x 26 mm = 4.95 x 7.0 inches
178 x 80 mm = 6.9 x 3.1inches
Above right is the earliest of two styles of conversion set Main Labels, with its Side Label [above left].
The style of the word “CONVERTING”, curving across the centre of the Main Label, is the first example of an attempt to reflect the curvature of the BAYKO logo. Obviously seen as a success, this continued in the later Main Label [below right].
These BAYKO conversion sets appeared, randomly(?) in both red and blue boxes.
This short-lived Main Label was soon, c. late 1946, superceded by the second example [below right], which is shown here alongside the two different Side Labels with which it occurred.
Arguably the first version is almost retrospective, with its pre-war type, BAYKO-parts-filled logo…
…whereas the second version is much more modern, with a stylish BAYKO logo, unique to these conversion sets.
The use of a curved version of “Converting” was obviously viewed as sufficiently successful to be continued, though, personally, it's begun to create a cluttered effect to me.
Post war set 1X Side Label of the all white centred, lozenge shape
Second version of post-war accessory set Main Label
126 x 26 mm = 4.95 x 7.0 inches
Post war set 1X Side Label of the all blue, lozenge shape
126 x 27 mm = 4.95 x 7.05 inches
177 x 125 mm = 7.0 x 4.9 inches
These conversion sets appeared mainly in blue boxes, though red ones are still reasonably common.
The exact final date for this style is impossible to state with certainty, as none of their boxes contained a manual, which would have normally included a date code… is generally accepted that they ceased in 1949, alongside the general [almost] re-launch of BAYKO around May of that year, as the austerity brakes came off, leading on to BAYKO's peak period…
…though the propeller Side Labels [above left] certainly both continued beyond that date, into 1950.
Box colours were mainly red, but with a substantial percentage blue.

1949 to 1960 - BAYKO's Peak Period

Peak period standard set Main Label
Peak period conversion set Main Label
229 x 177 mm = 9.0 x 7.0 inches
177 x 125 mm = 7.0 x 4.9 inches
Earlt peak period set 0 white centred Side Label
Post war set 1X Side Label of the all white centred, lozenge shape
Early peak period Side Label
Peak period conversion set all blue Side Label
126 x 26 mm = 5.0 x 1.0 inches
126 x 26 mm = 5.0 x 1.0 inches
Peak paeriod set 3 bow tie Side Label
Peak period conversion set bow tie style Side Label
101 x 31 mm = 4.0 x 1.2 inches
101 x 31 mm = 4.0 x 1.2 inches
1956 set 0 sqare Side Label
To date I've been unable to find a BAYKO conversion set equivalent of this style of Side Label, with its 'laid back' logo.
If you can help rectify this,then I'd love to hear from you…
102 x 22 mm = 4.0 x 0.9 inches
This is by far the longest period, as well as being, in sales terms, by far the most successful. It is also the period of greatest stability for most aspects of BAYKO including the pack labelling.
For Main Labels, there was only one each for the standard [above left] and conversion sets [above right], though things were significantly more complicated in terms of Side Labels.
The all-blue and white centred propeller Side Labels spread over from the previous era, lasting until around 1950 or 1951, when the period standard 'bow tie' format was introduced for all sets. The 'tapered' BAYKO logo is worthy of note. There was a brief flirtation with the less ornamental, rectangular version in 1956, with an unusually 'laid back' BAYKO logo, but it didn't last too long before Plimpton reverted to the 'bow tie'.
The curvature of the word “BUILDING” is noteworthy. Probably the aim was to balance the two sides of the label, but, for me, the jury's still out.
Box colours were occasionally red early on, then universally blue, though there were a few green set #3, c. 1951.

1960 to 1964 - MECCANO Era

Firstly, there were no labels, in the strictest sense of the word, on any MECCANO era BAYKO sets…
…however, there was integral artwork on all their sets, which is clearly analogous to Main and Side Labels…
…for the purposes of completeness, I have included this artwork in this section.
One corollary of this is that there is no relevant dimensional data which could be included this section - pack sizes vary for reasons totally unconnected with any artwork considerations - it simply had to follow.
Being error-free doesn't seem to have been a MECCANO aspiration - just look at the Large Window alongside the door in the model. The early style [below, left] appears to have a feint central, mullion, [vertical bit] lost in the later version [below, right]. In reality there was just a transom [horizontal bit] in all MECCANO era Large Windows! Similarly, and totally illogically, the associated Long Bricks are drawn with a 2½ brick pattern when it should be a 3 brick pattern.
Apart from having the set number shown on the front, in a modest green circle, and the overall pack dimensional variations, the main panel artwork on all MECCANO sets was basically identical.
However, things got a little more complicated when set #15 was introduced in 1962. It still had very similar 'Main Label' artwork, but their were three changes : -
Firstly, the words, “You can build a wide variety of fine models with this outfit”, across the top of the design, changed from white ink to black.
Secondly, this time towards the bottom, the words “For boys & girls of all ages” are printed in red on a new white background strip, rather than the earlier, slightly larger, white print against the blue background.
Thirdly, in the middle, the two words “Building Outfit” are in a 'flatter' font, in part helping to make room for the aforementioned new white strip.
The 'Side Label' equivalent also changed. Instead of having the words “Building Outfit”, printed in white, against a black background, [below, left] the previous standard, they switched to using black ink, against a red background. [below, right]
All the other standard sets made the same switch, though I have never been totally satisfied with the accurate dating of their changes, nor that it was implemented with 100% consistency.
Marketing cynic though I am, I do think that the new version wins on points.
For both Main and Side Labels I've used artwork from otherwise identical sets, to avoid distractions in the comparisons.
Later version of MECCANO era set 13 Main Label
Later version of MECCANO era set 13 Main Label
MECCANO era set 12 Side Label with white ink on a black background
MECCANO era set 12 Side Label with black ink on a red background
The conversion set Main Labels [below right] made no such artwork changes during their brief lives.
The only minor point of interest is that they effectively have 'Side Labels' on all four edges of the box lid. Three, apart from dimensional issues related to the box size, have an identical format, [below, left, upper] which most closely resembles the standard set Side Label format…
…however, the fourth, perhaps more intentionally aimed as the 'Side Label', [below, left, lower] is different. It appears on the left hand side of the lid, in what had, during the Plimpton era, been the normal side for the label, and, to me, looks less like a label that the other three sides!
MECCANO era conversion set - the other Side Label
Front, i.e. Main Label equivalent, of a MECCANO era conversion set 11G
Front, i.e. Main Label equivalent, of a MECCANO era conversion set 11C
I've absolutely no idea why MECCANO should have felt the need to use two different types of artwork…
…doing the same job, at the same time, on the same lid!
Well, that's it for the MECCANO era BAYKO set labelling section of this page.
Box colours were universally blue.

Compiling this page has been extremely time consuming, but, perhaps immodestly, I think it was really worth it! Either way, I hope you found it both useful and interesting, I know I certainly learned a few things en route. If you disagree with any of the information, or can expand on it, then I really would love to hear from you…
Now you've seen all the actual labels, I'm sure you'll probably have noticed the oddly large number of different versions of BAYKO logos that have been used, particularly on the Side Labels. If so…
Below here are links to related info : -
Click on any of the links below for related information.

The 'Flaming BAYKOMAN' site logo

Latest update - June 6, 2020
The BAYKO name and Logo are the Registered Trade Mark of Transport of Delight.