Return of the BAYKO Rarities and Anomalies

William Wiberforce - 1759 to 1833 - who did so much to abolish slavery
The hard work and world-renowned achievements of William Wilberforce (1759 - 1833) have eluded our illustrious editor. When I naively ended last month's article [written, as was perhaps obvious, over night] with a list of the more obscure rarities, BAYKO's answer to Maxwell and Murdock, casually, with cattle-prod subtlety, suggested that I finish the job.
Well, here goes, my pound of flesh follows under separate cover!
I wrote about the Balcony Pieces a while ago now. They're there for all to see on every 1950s set and 0-3 set manual. These recently rediscovered parts are probably the rarest BAYKO items, there being only three, three-piece sets in existence, found in a Liverpool school! However, after an elephantine gestation period, Robin tells me that the reproduction Balcony parts - clearly identifiable as such, I hope - will be available in the New Year. I suspect that the BAYKO world is about to suffer an epidemic of large detached houses!!!
Wall Capping, a strange and not very useful [a personal opinion!] item, was available in 3 sizes [3, 6 & 9-hole] and 2 colours [white or 'Oak']. It debuted in 1935 in white in the Ornamental Additions Sets and around the same time in 'Oak' in the De-Luxe #6 Set. When these sets ceased circa 1938, both colours were available separately until production halted to support the war effort. For the era, this was a relatively healthy shelf life, though they were only in the more exclusive sets and thus scarce. A note to the (very welcome) innovators - with only marginal change, similar pieces could be produced to simulate the ornamental stonework that embellishes many of our more formal public buildings.
One oak and one white 9-hole Wall Capping
Four Curved tie Bars
Some of the Square Tie Bars mentioned, including unpunched blanks
This next statement is less than controversial!! Tie Bars, even rare ones, are not the sexiest parts and don't fire the imagination in the way other rarities do, nevertheless…
We are all familiar with Tie Bars in various condition from shiny plated to rusty as ****. However, the earliest examples are in uncoated mild steel and date from 1938. The Straight Tie Bar was introduced in Sets #20 - 23 in this form, as was the Curved Tie Bar, which, in fact, never escaped from them. It's role of containing the then new Curved Bricks and Windows being unnecessary. The mild steel Corner or Square Tie Bar emerged a little later in the 'New Series' sets. Material shortages coupled with technological advances and “spirit of the blitz” improvisation, lead to post-war flirtations with many different forms of the Straight and Corner Tie Bar. Tie bars exist from that period in bare mild steel; ditto with a thin copper coating; plastic Floor like material; painted metal [cream, one-sided in the samples I have seen]; bright-coated steel. The Corner Tie Bars from this era invariably have 2 circles (diagonally opposite each other) cut out for recycling. All these forms have a rarity value. Do you know of any other types - write in, I'm sure our illustrious editor will include your info.
Floors have varied over the years, with changes in colour, between mid brown and virtually black. Hole sizes have varied from 2mm to 2.2mm or so and occasionally corners have been square. The main change was between the thick early forms, which are inevitably comparatively scarce and the thinner styles from circa 1938 onwards. However, the large, thick 22 x 11 holes size from 1934/5 and the thinner 11 x 8 holes size from sets #20 - 23 are the only true rarities.
It is a scientific fact that a hollow tube can be stronger than a solid bar of the same gauge. C.B. Plimpton knew this, perhaps from his Birmingham University days, and experimented briefly with this form of economy, actually using rolled sheeting. No doubt this extra processing stage ensured their lack of longevity, but they worked. I have never actually come across any, but know they exist and join the larger sizes (particularly longer than 12-Brick) as rarities.
The ends of two Hollow Rods
Plimpton era Windows packed in MECCANO era packaging
That's almost it for the rarities, except that I remember reading somewhere about 'Oak' Windows. Was I dreaming or under the influence or do they really exist? Have you read of them; perhaps even seen one; or better still got one? I'm sure the editor will give you acres of coverage for your information.
Changing the emphasis slightly, lets look at some of the anomalies in BAYKO. The transition from Plimpton to MECCANO was less than smooth. Two years on they still had limited stocks of Plimpton BAYKO available. This shows itself in the packing of Plimpton products [e.g. green Bases and Screwdrivers] in MECCANO packaging - not many of these have survived making them quite desirable.
It is not uncommon to find anomalies in set contents, particularly pre-war. There are three known causes for this : -
The odds are very much against synchronising all aspects of a change perfectly, opening the door to potential anomalies. E.g. sets from the true red period of 1937/8 with Maroon Roofs or MECCANO ere sets with white and beige bricks.
Other colour mix anomalies are more likely to be caused by shop keepers' 'make do and mend' approach to the thriving second hand toy market either side of the war - you can't put the right colour in if you haven't got any, can you?
Sometimes they just changed the contents; it's as simple as that. I'm not talking about official changes, but I'm aware of sets where there are significantly too many Half Bricks and correspondingly fewer Bricks. In area terms the quantities were the same - not really an issue for the aspiring builder!
And that's your lot!! Let me encourage you that if you have any info on these or other Rarities and Anomalies then shake up the Quink, dust off the quill, roll out the parchment and get the wife to write in just like you do with the Christmas cards and other family correspondence.
Please note that my level of competence has improved since I wrote this article. A conversion set #2A has recently emerged, which includes a set contents label [pasted on] which clearly mentions Tie Bars, so they presumably emerged sometime [late?] in 1938 or 1939.
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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