BAYKO Screwdrivers

How sad is this!‽ - Don't answer that! Seriously, I know that writing about the various BAYKO Screwdrivers sounds a little like scraping the bottom of the information barrel, but, try fastening Bases together for even a modest model, and you'll struggle without them!
BAYKO metal Screwdrivers - 3 different sizes
Pre-war BAYKO Screwdrivers
Pre-war Screwdrivers [left] were simple metal pieces, shaped like a closed question mark.
People claim different sizes of metal BAYKO Screwdrivers exist, but I have some reservations.
Pre-war and immediately post-war there was a thriving market in second hand toys…
…and there are plenty of examples in existence of second hand BAYKO sets being topped up with parts from the 'wrong' production period.
I suspect that some, at least, of this range of Screwdriver sizes was caused by this top-up process - or, of course, simply by people replacing lost Screwdrivers.
On the other hand, I know I threw out some BAYKO metal Screwdrivers in my early collecting days [idiot!] when I thought all BAYKO Screwdrivers were plastic!
There is conclusive evidence that the provision of metal Screwdrivers continued in the immediate post-war sets, presumably the minimum material design of what was probably classified as an essential tool, was the loophole through which Plimpton squeezed.
Post-war BAYKO Screwdrivers
Post-war Screwdrivers, in the earliest sets, were still metal, the plastic ones only being introduced in the late 1940s - 1947 or 1948 probably.
Was the change Plimpton's response to pressure to close the above loophole? I suspect the answer has gone.
Six different colours of BAYKO plastic Screwdrivers
From the early 1950s, 'officially' only Dark Green Screwdrivers were produced, though I acquired a polystyrene set from the late 1950s with two Red Screwdrivers.
Before that BAYKO made [reading right to left in the photo] Red, Dark Green, Light Green, Light Grey, Mid Grey and even Spotted Screwdrivers, [shown courtesy of Robin Throp].
The Grey's, Light Green and Red were understandable - they'd used these colours for other parts at different times - but the Spotted ones?
At a BAYKO exhibition in Liverpool in 1994 we asked several people who had worked in the BAYKO factory the reasons, particularly for the spotted ones. Were they for a special promotion or for a posh shop?
Plimpton era Screwdrivers in MECCANO era packaging - front and reverse view
The answer is much more mundane than that - Friday afternoon! 'POETS day' as the Australians say.
People everywhere can get demob happy on Fridays as they wind down ready for the weekend and the BAYKO factory was no exception…
“Sometimes we just threw any old crap into the moulds”, was their blindingly simple explanation!
It has to remain a possibility that the spotted ones were made from mixed colour 'bargain' offers from a salesman.
After the takeover, MECCANO era Screwdrivers, reverted to Light Grey matching the colour of their early BAKELITE Bases,and I've never seen a MECCANO era BAYKO set with a Green Screwdriver in it.
Early in the MECCANO era [above] there are examples of Plimpton era Dark Green Screwdrivers which have been wrapped in MECCANO era packaging, thereby proving their MECCANO era provenance, presumably as they used up stocks of old materials, once manufacture of Plimpton Style sets ceased…
A section of the display card on the MECCANO era Retail Cabinet showing a green Screwdriver
…on the other hand, the Display Card [right], printed by MECCANO and fitted to the rear of their Retail Display Cabinets, shows the Screwdriver as being green, so perhaps their original intention was to continue producing Screwdrivers in the Plimpton era Green. Although it could equally have been their own 'Roof Green', and I suggest this is probably the more likely explanation - the printed colour seems to support this.
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Latest update - August 10, 2022
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