BAYKO - Manual Labour - Part 3
The Immediate Post-War Years

The pun goes on!
This article is the first part of a three part article, which was intended to cover the post-war period, and hence complete the review of the BAYKO instruction manuals from the entire life of the product - if only…
This article follows the earlier series of three articles on pre-war manuals…
…and another Oops!…
A couple of years ago, I wrote two articles and a later addendum about the pre-war BAYKO manuals, ending with a promise to describe the post-war manuals when I had completed the research. Well I'm almost done, so here goes.
A postcard-format price list, posted on 2nd July, 1945, tells us that Plimpton was eager to kick start the business after the war. However, materials shortages and a general mood of austerity suggest that things didn't really get off the ground until the following year. Unfortunately, there is precious little dated, published material to pin down events. What we do know is that industry was under tremendous government pressure to export its products instead of selling them at home.
1945 parts price list showing franking
First post-war 16 page manual front cover
To satisfy these demands, Plimpton's first post-war manual – the 1946 Sets 0 to 2 Manual – was a modest affair of just 16 pages, the pages being the same size as the pre-war 'New Series' manual. The new manual had a full colour cover featuring a painting of a BAYKO bungalow in a garden (reproduced on the front cover). The other pages were printed in black with red highlights. This was the first manual to feature Flat Roofs – diamond pattern, of course.
Not only did this manual lack a sets contents list but, for some reason, unlike the models for Sets 1 and 2 on later pages, the models for Set 0 were shown without parts lists. This deficiency was made up by the 1946 Parts Lists Sheet which had, on one side, the missing parts lists for the Set 0 models and, on the other, a list of sets (up to Set 5!), and the contents of Sets 0 and 1 (but not Set 2, purportedly available!).
1946 Sets 0 and 1 models parts lists
The other omission was building instructions. There is a strong case for saying these were left out with export markets in mind. They were supplied instead in the 1946 “How To Build With BAYKO Leaflet.
The 1946 Sets 0 to 2 Manual was replaced within a year by the 1947 Sets 0 to 2 Manual – of identical appearance, but 20 pages long. The extra pages were used to incorporate the contents of the previous year's Parts Lists Sheet and for pictures of two additional large models.
There were three issues of this manual, all produced between late 1946 and early 1948. The 1st issue has an error in the Set 2 contents list for Corner Ties, corrected in the 2nd issue. Then there are a number of differences between the 2nd and 3rd issues, virtually all relating to the use of ½-brick rods to stretch the resources available for low-level walls. This actually meant significant typesetting changes.
Post-war 20 page manual page 20
There are two particularly interesting details in this manual. First, page 16 alludes to the opportunity to buy a No. 2X converting set, though these weren't available until 1948. Second, the additional large models pictured on the back cover “made with our largest set” are pre-war and built on large bases, lending a touch of irony to the claim “…BAYKO, the most up-to-date creative Building Set”!
When Set 3 was launched in 1948, boxes included the 1947 Sets 0 to 2 Manual, the 1946 “How To Build With BAYKO Leaflet, and a new manual – the 1948 Set 2X Manual. Of a dozen pages (numbered 21–32 to be in sequence with the 1947 Sets 0 to 2 Manual), it was again printed in black with red highlights, but this time on glossy white paper. Page size was significantly larger than its companions, and set the standard for all subsequent Plimpton-era manuals.
1948 Set 3 manual front cover
This was the last manual in which models were illustrated by means of photographs. It is unique in that the set contents are listed on its front cover. It is also uncommon, suggesting it wasn't around for very long.
Post-war 4-page leaflet page 2
Despite evidence suggesting the 1946 “How To Build With BAYKO Leaflet was included in the earliest No. 3 sets, it was soon replaced by the four-page 1948 “How To Build A BAYKO Model” Leaflet – the same page size as the new Set 2X Manual but printed in black on cheap newsprint. This leaflet was the first to show dimples/channels in the backs of the bricks and Flat Roofs of the later tiled pattern.
At the same time – or perhaps a little earlier – Plimpton published a six-page leaflet “Introducing many new supplementary parts”. This so-called Supplementary Parts Leaflet was printed in red, green and black on better quality newsprint. Actually a single sheet of paper, it was folded concertina-style to create three double-sided pages. It heralded the extended range of spare parts, some of which had been available intermittently since the war, and some of which were launched in 1949.
1948 6-page leaflet page 1
1948 sets 0 to 3 manual page 1
The 1948 Sets 0 to 3 Manual – the final manual of the immediate post-war period – is, in many ways, a mongrel, containing bits (literally!) of earlier manuals and leaflets. However, that doesn't do it justice. Although the familiar manuals of the 1950s were a little different, in effect, this manual set out the basic template in 1948. This manual added the “Wayside Cafe”, “Village Well” and “Toll Gate” to the roster of Set 0 models, making a dozen in all. There were two issues: the differences between them are curious and hint at a somewhat cavalier attitude to the printing plates – not a cheap item in those days.
Pages 10 and 15 differ merely in the parentheses around the set number alongside the model title.
1948 sets 0 to 3 manual page 28
On page 28, the model drawing and the parts list exchanged places.
On pages VII and VIII Plimpton seemed to develop an aversion to the phrase “Supplementary Parts”, preferring “New Parts” in the 2nd issue.
That’s where I draw the line between the immediate post-war period and the 1950s 'peak period', as subsequent manuals of the Plimpton era have a consistent layout and style. I will talk about them in Part 4.
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