BAYKO Parts Price Progress

I tackled the question of BAYKO set prices quite a while ago and thought I ought to write something on the price of BAYKO parts. However, one of the reasons for the delay to date was working out how to cover the subject, given all the changes to the range of BAYKO parts over the years.
After some thought, I decided to focus on the limited number of parts which existed throughout the entire life of the product - it's surprising how few of these there were. I also thought I should include a representative Rod size.
The BAYKO parts I have included are : -
Arch - Brick - Half Brick - Canopy - Window - 5-Brick Rod
For the record, I toyed with the idea of including 7 x 7 Hole Floors, but, changed my mind when I realised that they were exactly the same price as Canopies for every year except one.
Then we come to the question of exactly how to present the prices of parts. This is more complicated than it sounds given that many prices were, at different times, quoted individually, in pairs, fours, dozens, 18s, 24s, 30s or 36s. I decided that the easiest way of standardising things was to plot how many of each part you could have bought for £1. It's amazing just how many that could be - those were the days!!!
The best thing now is to look at what happened to those quantities over BAYKO's lifetime.
Chart showing How many Arches, Bricks, Half Bricks, Canopies, Windows and 5-Brick Rods you could by for 1 over the life of the product
There are several things that you can see, not least the ridiculous number of 5-Brick Rods [red line] you could have bought for £1 in the earliest years.
Plimpton clearly had an issue with setting the price of Half Bricks [purple line] before the war.
You can also clearly see the price reduction of Windows [light blue line] when the old 8-pane, Georgian styling was dropped in favour of the more familiar cruciform version, in 1939.
I think the most striking fact is the rapid plummet in the number of all the parts you could get for your £1 once the second world war was declared - prices doubled when you include the wartime purchase tax effect. The decline in the number you'd get for your £1 continued, though much more gently, after the war, not stabilising until 1951.
Finally, it's interesting that the prices of individual parts remained comparatively unaffected by the MECCANO takeover. This is in stark contrast to the way set prices fell quite sharply, with the format and packaging changes. Perhaps MECCANO were more alert than Plimpton to the profit stream opportunities of the spare parts market.
A rather subtle point is that none of the lines cross. What this tells us is that, while each part's price was determined by raw material costs, and production costs - probably mainly labour - the proportions of these didn't change too markedly over the life of the product. This suggests, to me, that the degree of automation of production was always quite limited.
For more information on BAYKO Set Prices : -
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