BAYKO Product Details - 1949 to 1959
The Peak Period

This period contains not just the peak of BAYKO's popularity but also the seeds of it's ultimate downfall. It starts when the slackening of raw materials, including paper and cardboard lead to the familiar standard product.
Large BAYKO model from the early 1950s
By the mid 1950s, annual BAYKO set sales were regularly topping the 150,000 set mark. Similarly, up to 35% of the sets were being exported.
Arguably this period could be split in 2 or more : -
The early 1950s when all BAYKO parts were all made from conventional plastic [left].
The later 1950s when several parts were changed to polystyrene [below, right].
However, the changes here were phased in over the period and not all pieces were actually changed, so it's easier to regard it as one.
BAYKO model detached house from the later 1950s

Mint BAYKO set 3
Parts were now in the archetypal red, white and mid green colour scheme, with which most of us are so familiar, with only small shifts across the period.
The later red POLYSTYRENE bricks were a little less bright and the POLYSTYRENE Windows and Doors, lighter and slightly brighter.
This later period also saw the introduction of Glazing Strips for windows - I have to confess that, Luddite that I am, I have never used the Glazing. I just don't like it.
By 1959 Plimpton had developed the widest range of BAYKO parts that was ever available to collectors.
New parts 1950 or 1951
Opening Gate & matching Balustrade.
Opening Windows.
Side Bricks.
Side Windows - Left Hand.
Side Windows - Right Hand.
Small Chimneys.
I suppose, in the interests of accuracy, I should point out that the actual peak was in the very last couple of months before the MECCANO takeover, after the Garage Doors launch.
Many, if not most BAYKO collectors, like me, look back wistfully at this period given the slightest excuse, largely because this was 'our era'.
Set #4 was now launched [February, 1952], including all the newer, more exotic parts, and established itself as every young BAYKO collector's dream. Surprisingly the #3X conversion set had been launched in July, 1951, based on 'MECCANO Magazine' BAYKO adverts…
The original, small set 3X with it's later, larger counterpart
'With Compliments' style slip which accompanied the inclusion of the Dome and Pinnacles
…or April, 1951, based on the date code of a BAYKO Flier…
…or April, 1951, date coded BAYKO Parts Price List…
…or August, 1951, based on the date of the first set #3X manual…
The earliest Conversion Sets #3X didn't include the exotic roof pieces - Domes & Pinnacle Roofs and Platforms - [top, left]…
…however, it wasn't too long - I don't have an exact date thought they were mentioned in the May, 1952 edition of the set #3X manual - before they were included, along with the 'with compliments' type slip [right]. Logic suggests that set #3X was upgraded at roughly the same time as set #4 was introduced.
There is a conundrum over the earliest set #3X. After acquiring several of these, all lacking any sort of internal cardboard structure. While I know absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, I now believe there was, intentionally, no internal cardboard.  When the larger set #3X was introduced, at roughly the same time as the set #4, normal cardboard infrastructure service was resumed!
There is some debate over why the post-war BAYKO set structure changed so significantly from the pre-war structure…
A limited number of new pieces were launched after 1958 : -
New BAYKO parts
The proliferation of T.V. aerials in the U.K., after the launch of I.T.V., was reflected in the introduction of the BAYKO TV Aerial, the Chimney being modified to take it. I believe both date from 1958. There was certainly a mention of new parts in May's 'MECCANO Magazine'.
To enhance play value with DINKY Cars, etc. a Ramp was produced, which allowed you to 'drive' cars onto the Bases of your models - I don't know the exact date of this, but, again, believe it to be 1958.
A set of Opening [or Garage] Doors added to this play effect a little later, on June 1st, 1959.
Immediately before the 1959 MECCANO takeover, although struggling commercially, the BAYKO parts range was at its all time peak.
This next section is hedged around by caveats I'm afraid, but I'm certain there is something significant here, even if I can't be sure what!
The colour variant parts alongside their standard counterparts
For the March, 2008 BAYKO Collectors Club meeting I built a large office block - 'BAYKO Buildings' - which, as you can see [right], used a massive number of Side Windows.
As I sorted through each piece, I noticed that occasional examples were a different [though consistent] colour from the familiar darker green - they were more akin to Plimpton era polystyrene window green - 1957 to 1959.
With the model's deadline looming, I set them aside and did nothing with them for several months - I don't normally get too excited about small colour variations anyway.
BAYKO Buildings, an office block model using a lot of Side Windows
However, I finally got around to looking at them again and was intrigued by what I found. Something approaching five percent of my building stock - including those in the model - were the paler colour. I wondered…
…I looked at my stock of Doors. There was the same colour variant, occurring in a similar proportion. Unsurprisingly that spurred me into action and I went through my stocks of Windows, Large Windows, Curved Windows and Opening Windows…
…with the same result!
I'm afraid I don't have a definitive explanation for you, but, by far the most likely answer is that they were intended to blend with the POLYSTYRENE Windows, Large Windows and, later, Doors - though why do it with the styles being replaced as well?
The five percent, maximum, proportion suggests that they were only produced for a few months, which certainly leaves me wondering.
The image [above left] doesn't do full justice to the colour variants, but the lighter parts, which match the POLYSTYRENE parts, are to the left - guess where the standard parts are! At some point I'll build a pair of models in the two colour variants for a more realistic comparison.
The early post-war period was almost littered with manuals, there were so many variants even allowing for the ten years…
…in fact there were no less than thirty different versions in the ten years covered by this period…

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Latest update - August 11, 2022
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