BAYKO Base Links

I have now edited this page to correct an error.
I previously mis-labelled the two different screw sizes used over the life of BAYKO. Thanks to Keith Oakes, who spotted my error, and did a lot of work to drive the correction into my thick skull, the references I have now used on this page are correct. My sincere apologies for the error and any confusion I have undoubtedly caused - and also for making Keith work so hard! In my defence, I did use an engineering friend [who I will not name!] initially for this information - he has now been shot!
Just like MECCANO and LEGO, BAYKO was a modular system, capable of building anything from a simple garden seat on part of a single Base, to a massive Skyscraper or Country Club spread over dozens of Bases.
This meant that BAYKO had to provide something to fasten the Bases together - they couldn't expect everybody to screw each Base down to a wooden board [the recommendation for all but the smallest exhibition models] hence the Base Link was born. The earlier style of Base Links were actually usually referred to as “Connectors”, but I will continue to refer to them by their more familiar handle.
Pre-War BAYKO Base Links for the early large Bases
The first design [left] was clearly inspired by engineering principles…
…the use of 2 holes on one side of the joint helped in 2 ways : -
Accurate alignment was easier to achieve, and subsequently maintain.
The framework of Bases was held very rigidly.
The Base Links were secured using brass screws and nuts.
The earliest Base Links were actually solid brass and had square corners.
The majority of the early Base Links were chromed, with rounded ends, but there are also examples of bare metal, both with, and without, a thin copper coating. There are, similarly, enough square cornered Base links in existence, of the same material range, to suggest that these can't all be 'Dad' pieces.
The actual Screw size is 4BA with, as you can see from the photo, small square Nuts.  I have also come across quite a few hexagonal nuts, but have seen nothing, so far, to convince me that these were other than extras bought in to the hobby from the local hardware stores.
In 1939 Plimpton relaunched BAYKO in the 'New Series' format, which included a complete redesign of the Bases to a new, smaller size.
The new Bases required new Base Links [right] to fasten them together.
2 Base Links for the later small Bases - original style below, later style above
These new Base Links were provided with a receiving thread so that the screws are secured directly into them, eliminating the need for separate nuts.
There was a slight change in the design, around 1949 - the photo [right] shows the early, slightly flatter design at the bottom, and the later, 'shapelier' version at the top - click anywhere on the image [right] to see a larger image, which should help make the distinction clearer.
After the takeover, MECCANO continued with exactly the same design until the end.
These Screws were size 5BA, a fact I have now found to be confirmed in the Set Parts List on page 2 of all the 'New Series' manuals, though, oddly, not on the Spare Parts Price List on page 4 of the same manual…
Thinking logically, NOT communicating the screw size makes it slightly less likely that little Johnny [or his Dad!] would source them elsewhere.
In contrast to the Base Links, the Bases themselves were produced with significantly more variety…
Both types of Screws, and the Nuts for the earlier type, remain available from specialist screw suppliers, though not the B & Qs of this world. Just a word of warning - BE CAREFUL - with 4BA SCREWS, as some of those supplied currently are slightly too long, and will scratch whatever surface the model is put on, as a now discarded sideboard could testify - don't say I didn't warn you!
Below here are links to related info : -
Click on any of the links below for related information.

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Latest update - August 10, 2022
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