Early BAYKO Literature

I thought it was about time I wrote something about the paperwork side of BAYKO collecting, particularly after our illustrious editor said, “it’s about time you wrote something about the paperwork side of BAYKO collecting.”  I know most of us are familiar with the wide range of BAYKO literature from the ‘50s and ‘60s, so I thought that the pre-war side of the game would be more interesting - here goes.
The early 1930s was a period of massive contradictions.  The new social order following the first world war; the general strike and subsequent industrial unrest; the stock market crash and its associated depression, on the one hand, contrasted with the optimism of the Hollywood blockbusters; the increasingly accessible ‘happy’ popular records and music of the day; and Art Deco’s joyous contributions to the worlds of pottery and jewellery, art and architecture.  Such was the world into which C.B. Plimpton launched his brainchild – certainly not one with which we instinctively associate marketing – but, of course, that doesn't mean that it wasn't there.
The first BAYKO flier - 1934
The, perhaps over-the-top, quality of the early standard BAYKO manuals says a lot about the upmarket approach adopted at launch, but they’ve been covered previously.  Fortunately, sufficient specimens of the BAYKO ‘Fliers’ circulated alongside them have survived to give us an insight into pre-war company thinking.  These fliers, all of which carried the logo with the BAYKO letters in-filled with BAYKO spare parts, had to be : -
Attractive so that  the punters had to be enticed to read them.
Informative, ensnaring both parents and kids with what BAYKO was and could do.
Insidious,  with carefully designed price points to coerce parental acquiescence.
The very first BAYKO flier, [right] printed in 1934, was, almost by definition, a key component of the launch and subsequent success of the world’s first and finest plastic construction[al] toy.  It was printed, single-sided, in green and red on beige paper.  Although the paper was thin, it was good quality, and both the colour scheme and the artwork reflected the cover of the first BAYKO manuals.
Key points to note are the emphases in the script on : -
BAKELITE - a contemporary shorthand for high tech.
Hygienic - because BAYKO could be boiled, for that pre-antibiotic era.
That BAYKO was “more than just a toy”.
The fact that parts fit together “perfectly”.
The fact that BAYKO models were “rigid, yet easily dismantled”.
The central Deco-esque picture of an aspirational, large, detached house, modelled in BAYKO does everything else.
I really find the price points to be interesting, with set prices at 7/6 [three half crowns = 37.5p]; 10/6 [half a guinea = 52.5p]; 15/- [six half crowns = 75p]; 21/- [a guinea = £1.05]; and 30/- [a pound and a half = £1.50].  When set 6 arrived a year later, it continue the price progression at 42/- [two guineas = £2.10].  If you think of the first two set prices as being £A & £B, then the overall set price point progression reads £A; £B; £2xA; £2xB; £4xA; £4xB, yet each price point maintains its own individual rationale and credibility within the market of the day.
Animation showing both sides of the second BAYKO Flier - 1936
This first reference to set 6 was actually in Ian Cole’s 1935 Flier, which set the tone for all the subsequent pre-war fliers, all of which included quality artwork or photos, and are printed, double-sided, in black on various shades of beige or pale brown paper, all of which are of a reasonable quality.
Unsurprisingly, given the pace of change pre-war BAYKO styling, each of these fliers heralds either a new period of production, or a newly launched variant.  Specifically, after Ian’s set 6 launch flier, which contains the only ‘oak’ model photo in BAYKO literature, outside the manuals, they herald : -
The colour change to red and conversion set 5A introduction, c.1937/8.
The launch of the 20s series with their orange parts, 1938.
Plus, almost certainly, the ‘New Series’ launch, 1939, though sadly none of these has been discovered, yet - as far as I am aware.
1937/8 flier front with product script
1938 20s series sets flier - front
Front of the 1941 blackout leaflt
The 1937/8 flier [right] is unique in that it also includes spare parts information, though, sadly, indeed frustratingly, apart from red and white Pillars, it is glaringly silent on all the other available colour options!  A little confusingly it also makes reference to Large Floors, though qualifying them as “Small Floor and 2 Extensions”.  I am almost certain that this must have been the general descriptor for the pack of three Floor pieces, rather than the earlier, single-piece, 15 x 23 hole monsters which they had replaced – almost!
1937/8 flier reverse with sets and parts prices
1938 20s series sets flier - rear
Rear of the 1941 blackout leaflt
As an aside, at least in terms of paper colour, this colour scheme was still current immediately after the war – in Canada!
The link [below] obviously wasn't included in the original article, but I felt I should include it here…
The penultimate BAYKO Flier, from 1938, relates, on the front, [left] to the much loved 20s series sets, which are most famous [infamous?] for the orange parts.  Apart from the unique bits, the 1-Brick Pillars, Curved Tie Bar and 11 x 8 hole Floor, these sets introduced all the bay window related parts [elsewhere called bow windows at the time], Turrets, Pinnacles and Domes.
On the reverse, is the full range of the red, green and white sets and conversion sets – the ones with the pale green, Georgian style windows.  Like the previous flier, conversion set 5A is mentioned.  Thus it contributes to the process of determining the date of the change from brown Bakelite parts to true red ones as being late 1937.
The last flier in this section is the popular ‘New Series’, “Black-Out” flier. [right & left, lower] This specific war-time reference to A.R.P. Warden Hodges’ obsession, surely dates this beautiful document as being after the original 1939 launch documentation.  Uniquely, at least until after the war, its having been printed in three colours, on white paper, suggests to me a final thumbing of the BAYKO nose at the ever-advancing war-time austerity.  Its reference to “…excellence in British workmanship”, clearly has a patriotic resonance, and the suggestion, “Remember to buy or order your set early to avoid disappointment”, clearly is an attempt to ride the austerity wave as a vehicle for driving increased sales – sorry about the pot-pouri of metaphors!
There must have been a ‘New Series’ launch leaflet, in 1939, and it goes without saying that I’d love to hear from anybody with one of these or any other pre-war documentation – a free cup of tea or coffee at a club meeting could be available!!!  Your track record in this respect, with the BAYKO manuals, is superb, with three rewrites having been required to date!!!
p.s. - It's four now!
Thank you in advance?
That's the end of the original article, just to add a brief post script, I really love these particular Fliers, they're so evocative.
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