BAYKO Tie Bars

Dimensional inaccuracies of plastic BAYKO components, coupled with the use of comparatively flimsy Rods meant that sections of BAYKO buildings often benefited from additional support.
On a large scale this was provided by Floors...
Binding Strips
...but more localised issues were resolved using Tie Bars.
Arguably Binding Strips were Floors, however, as the clear intent was to secure short sections of wall, I think it is more logical to group them with the Tie Bars.
Binding Strips were included in sets from 1935 to 1938, initially in the #6 sets, then also in the slightly restructured sets #1 to #5.
However, that's not quite the whole story as far as BAYKO Binding Strips are concerned.
2 versions of Binding strips, with and without the additional holes
One look at the image [left] will tell you that there are two different versions of the Binding Strips.
The standard, more familiar type is shown [left, above] and has larger holes at each end, which I can only assume were used as part of the alignment process to enable accurate drilling of the rod holes.
The other Binding Strip [left, below] comes from a #1 set with true red and white bricks but which has the rare dark cherry red Small Roof, intermediate between the early brown and true red roofs.
This dates them as being from 1937, but their comparative rarity strongly suggests that this was a short lived experiment.
Binding Strips were also available separately, probably until the war, but certainly no later.
 
4 Curved Tie Bars
The short-lived Curved Tie Bars [right] were introduced in 1938 in sets #20 to #23 to 'control' the new Curved Windows. They were not used elsewhere.
Their short shelf life indicates that, while they clearly worked, there were easier ways to achieve the same ends without manufacturing a specialist component.
The Curved Tie Bars were made from bare mild steel.
 
Straight Tie Bars were introduced in the same sets but survived for the rest of the life of the product...
2A conversion set parts list image showing that Tie-Bars are included
...or so I thought...
...however, there is a growing body of evidence now emerging, that Straight Tie Bars were also introduced into the range of standard BAYKO sets, not long before the switch to 'New Series' sets, almost certainly during 1938.
This was as replacements for the much more cumbersome [and expensive?] Binding Strips.
 
Two pieces of evidence confirm that this occurred : -
The image [above, left] shows the parts listed in a #2A conversion set, probably dated 1938 that clearly mentions Tie Bars but does not make any reference to Binding Strips. It is possible that this conversion set was a little later than 1938, as they were available right up to the war.
Floor bag from a standard BAYKO set from 1938
The image [right] is of a bag, typical of those in which the Floors were supplied in the sets of the day, which carries a label which reads : -
"In Place of Binding Strips small metal Tie Bars have been substituted, these being more convenient and less noticeable in the finished Model".
If you click anywhere on the image [right] you will be able to see a larger view of the label which I have cleaned-up somewhat.
Thanks to Robin Throp for this image.
Initially, like the Curved Tie Bars, Straight Tie Bars too were in bare mild steel and I've a few from the early days made from copper, and again with a thick copper coating.
A sample of different types of Straight Tie Bars
There was a brief experiment with a thin version of the Floor material, and even some which appear to my untutored eye to have been lacquered, before standardising on cheap steel with a bright protective coating.
Straight Tie Bars survived through the rest of BAYKO's production life, as a concept anyway, individual Tie Bars weren't always that lucky.
Straight Tie Bars could be used to support 2 columns of Bricks and Windows [e.g. above a Bay Window] as well as their primary alignment role.
 
Square Tie Bars [or Corner Ties, or Corner Locking Plates] were introduced a few months later, in 1939, in the 'New Series' sets and survived for the rest of the product's life. They started out life manufactured in bare mild steel, though fairly quickly introduced the bright, 'chrome' coating which ultimately won out.
A sample of different types of Square Tie Bars - note the two unstamped blank examples shown
There was a brief experiment, early post-war, with painted metal Corner Ties (beige, on one side only) which, it has been suggested, may have been pressed from a job lot of cheap tin-plate - from MECCANO perhaps?
Another flirtation, this time with Floor-like material, i.e. Resin Bonded Paper or Paxolin, dates from around 1940, but was probably also used post-war. Just a detail, the Paxolin used here is significantly thinner than that used for making standard Floors.
Copper Square Tie Bar
There were also periods, again around the same time, when material shortages lead to 2 circular discs, diagonally opposite each other being stamped out of the Square Tie Bars, presumably then sent for recycling to reduce overall metal usage, and, again, there is a version which appears to have been lacquered. This lasted for a few years, probably only stopping when the stamping tool had to be replaced.
The photo [right, above] includes two blanks, without holes, suggesting that manufacturing was a two stage process, the blanks having skipped part two! Photo courtesy of Robin Throp.
Finally the image [left] is a form of composite. It is cut from a copper sheet which has the cream paint on one side, [a la Tin Plate] and a thin [zinc?] coating on the other, but you can now see the copper peeping through. This Corner Tie Bar image is shown here courtesy of Brian Salter.
 
It's easy for me to postulate that material shortages around the war were undoubtedly the trigger for something which happened to BAYKO...
...here, at least, is unambiguous documentary evidence that Plimpton really did have to adjust their product offering to take account of material shortages.
Page 3 of the 'New Series' manual with the label explaining the lack of Tie-Bars
This label was stuck over page 3 of a 'New Series' set manual [right] and clearly states that replacement Small and Medium Floors were included instead. It reads : -
"Owing to the impossibility of obtaining the necessary steel for these, we are substituting a Special Floor which can be fitted over the top row of bricks before fitting roof, thus locking the building together." All sets got a Small Floor [11 x 7 holes] and all but set #1 also got a Medium Floor [13 x 9 holes].
One point to note is that it was only the Straight Tie-Bars which were replaced by Floors, Corner Ties were still supplied as usual, though these were often now also in Paxolin.
 
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