While it is unarguable that, BAYKO Rods will never be regarded as the sexiest part of the BAYKO hobby - but have you ever tried building anything without them‽ [Cheating with glue just doesn't cut it!]
Raw material for the Rods was almost certainly [it's the industry standard anyway] supplied on a reel as a continuous piece [and was thus curved]. This 'wire' was then 'drawn' [and straightened in the process] and cropped to the required length.
Pre-war Rod Boxes
Even parts as simple as Rods, or Wires as they were known in the early days, have evolved over the years...
...and so has the packaging in which they were supplied to retailers.
The correct gauge for BAYKO Rods is 75 thou [thousandths of an inch], 1.905 mm.
Rod sizes are described in terms of the number of Bricks they can support - e.g. 5-Brick Rods will support 5 Bricks!!!
Post-war Rod Boxes
BAYKO Rods were cut 3/8 inch [half a brick] longer than their Brick count description...
...this is to allow for the length which has to be stuck into the Base, and also to facilitate the use of a Floor on top, and even one in mid structure.
Sets in the early and mid 1930s had rods up to 10-brick long.
'New Series' sets and post-war Plimpton era sets contained rods up to 8-brick long.
½-Brick Rods were introduced immediately after the war - though they were not included on a postcard / Spare Price List postmarked July, 1945.
There's another pointer to the timing of their introduction in the early post-war manuals...
MECCANO era Rod Boxes
MECCANO era sets had rods up to 7-brick long.
Longer MECCANO era Rods were generally supplied to BAYKO retailers in flat boxes with a rectangular cross-section made from thin, yellow card [right]...
...shorter MECCANO era Rods were usually supplied in sealed polythene bags [below left].
Rods up to 12-bricks long were available as standard from retailers, particularly in the 1930s and then again in the 1950s.
Smaller sizes of MECCANO era Rods supplied in sealed polythene bags
However, both Plimpton and MECCANO would produce longer Rods, of any length, to order, though I picture this was a relatively slow, sedate service.
Generally Rods were produced in mild steel so collections kept in damp sheds, cellars or attics often deteriorate - that's posh for rust!
Some later Rods seem to preserve their shine over many years, and so may be a low cost stainless steel, I really don't know - I'm no metallurgist.
However, post-war, materials were in short supply. Steel was scarce, but aluminium, no longer needed for aircraft manufacture, wasn't, and many sets were produced with aluminium Rods.
There were also experiments with rolled, hollow tubing, of the right gauge. I only have a small number of these but they are surprisingly strong. This happened in in 1940 or 1941 and may well have been repeated in 1946 or 1947.
There are examples of Rods, from the immediately post-war period, of copper coated 'wire' being used, and this may also has occurred in the early months of the second world war as well. This I am certain was part of the "buy what ever was available" philosophy forced on much of industry during the war-associated austerity period.
Let me apologise, in advance, for the Rod images [below], but I haven't found it easy to 'capture' them - thanks to Simon Brassell for help with the copper coated Rods.
Pre-war Rods Steel Rods Copper Coated Rods Aluminium Rods Post-war Rods
If you're going to build a large model, you will almost certainly need longer, replica Rods of the correct gauge - 1.903mm.
1.905 mm or 75 thou animated GIF file
The two metric standard gauges of wire, available today, which are closest to this figure are 1.8 or 2.0 mm gauge.
1.8 mm fits the Bases easily enough, but provides a very slack fit...
...and models built with these don't travel well at all!
2.0 mm provides a very tight fit for brickwork etc. but won't fit into the Bases... each individual Rod has to be ground down by hand to make it fit...!
...and they won't fit through many End Bricks, Corner Bricks, etc.
I have now identified a source of correct gauge [1.905 mm] replica Rods.
75 thou or 1.905 mm animated GIF file
They are available from me in 1 metre or 2 metre lengths at £1.75 per metre [£1.50 for BAYKO Club members] plus post and packing.
I have also now started a service to supply orders for Rods cut to size from my stock of replica Rods.
Below here are links to related info : -
Click on any of the links below for related information.
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