BAYKO Shop Display Models

Here there is comparatively little to go on other than personal experience and anecdotal accounts.
Retail dispaly version of pre-war set 20
MECCANO were justly famous, as indeed, more recently, are LEGO, for the excellence of the display models they produced to promote their product.
BAYKO, apart from a limited number of one-off models produced for major international toy fairs and possibly for promotional displays in a few large retailers, were much less exhibitionist though they certainly offered unspecified, display models in 'Games & Toys', the leading UK toy trade publication, in October, 1953.
However the set #20 shown in the picture [left, above] must surely have been designed to double as a shop display item - why else was the packaging so different from the standard box type? I suspect that the model shown was intended to be displayed within the box with the lid closed but the front flap open. The 20s series sets were produced between 1938 and the second world war so this display version was definitely quite innovative for its day.
Display Signs for Models
While I have personal childhood memories of occasionally seeing individual BAYKO models on display in toyshop windows or other display areas inside...

Tree display sign for a set 1 model

Tree display sign for a set 3 model

Tree display sign for a set 4 model

Small retail display flag in front of the famous detached house from the 1950sincluding the [very rare] balcony



Mini Flag style display sign for use with models



Animation showing both sides of the Set 2 Lollipop Display Sign
...I'm afraid I just don't remember seeing any signs with them...
...nevertheless, there can be little doubt that the Display Signs, such as the small flag shown, in front of the garage, on the model [left, upper] was intended for just that purpose.
The picture [left, upper] shows a model typical of those used to push BAYKO sales. These were available - "on free loan" - direct from Plimpton, certainly in April, 1950, when they offered their retailers an, unfortunately, unspecified range of BAYKO Shop Display Models.
The actual flag itself [left, middle] is 'slightly foxed' as the second hand book trade would say, [marked by an assortment of age, acidity, fungi, or mould]. It is actually double sided - if you move your mouse anywhere over the image you will see the [similar] reverse side.
Like the other Model Display Signs shown here, it dates from between the late 1940s and the mid 1950s. I'm afraid I can't be more specific than that, as I've yet to see any specific mention of them in BAYKO literature, however, the logo style is a general clue, with colour inclusion a probable marker as to their likely sequence.
The circular "Lollipop" sign [left, lower] has the same use, but is, I strongly suspect, a later design - the greater use of colour giving it away.
As so often seems to have been the case with print work of the time, the colour positioning has room for improvement, though, to be fair in this case, it is a small sign.
There was yet another style, this time in the shape of a festive "Christmas Tree", [right], though, they don't strike me as being particularly festive. These excellent images were originally shown courtesy of Malcolm Hanson, though now they are actually mine.
As an interesting irrelevance, I can also remember regularly seeing BAYKO models being used as part of window displays in both Estate Agents [Realtors] and Architects studios...
...I can even remember being a bit surprised, though pleased, to see such a model in a small side window in a Windsor property, as late as the mid 1970s, though, alas, I'm afraid that I don't remember the exact nature of the business.
All these Model Display signs had one thing in common, they were located in front of BAYKO models, using standard BAYKO Rods, probably a 3-Brick for a single storey model, or a 4-Brick Rod for a double storey model - though, of course, my sense of aesthetics may not match the toyshop manager's!
The two styles to the left of this section [Flag and Lollipop] were both double sided, and were intended to be folded over and glued, so that they clung on to the Rod. The Flag with the fold to the side, and the Lollipop via a narrow 'hinge' at the top.
By contrast, the single sided Model Display Signs, to the right, [Trees] were fastened onto the the Rod using a small piece of adhesive paper tape at the back.
Shop Display Models
Apart from the trade advert referred to above, I've found no Plimpton literature referring directly to the supply of Shop Display Models.
1961 letter to retailer - BAYKO page
Perhaps it's the shorter time scale, or, more probably the larger quantities [of both paper and collectors!] but, to date, there are two surviving documents from the MECCANO era.
The first of these [right] comprises half of a letter sent, by MECCANO, to their retailers and offers a choice of four, different, ready-made, models, which the retailers could buy to support their in-store BAYKO displays.
The range shown is as follows : -
61/B1 - Bungalow
@ 7/6
61/B2 - Drive Through Bank
@ 12/6
61/B3 - Detached House
@ 15/-
61/B4 - House and Garage
@ £1/7/6
The order of the models [B3, B4, B2, B1] on the page defies explanation - so far, any way - and the choice of a modest "Drive Through Bank" sticks out. I've never come across such a building, but, in a flight of fancy, I can't help wondering if its ultimate audience was across the pond.
The second of these documents [below left], shown courtesy of Chris Reeve, dates from 1963. The range of models has now been significantly changed. It has been extended by two, both representing set #15, which was introduced the year before.
The 1963 leaflet showing the 6 models and other display items
Just one of the original models has survived [B11], the full list of 1963 models was : -
B11/63 - Bungalow with Garden
@ 12/4
B12/63 - Station Halt
@ 17/6
B13/63 - Garage and Workshop
@ £1/1/-
B14/63 - Detached House
@ £1/7/6
B15A/63 - House with Shop
@ £2/10/-
B15B/63 - School with Pantile Roof
@ £2/12/6
The 1963 prices are certainly significantly higher in 1963, with the Bungalow having gone up by 65%, in just two years, which, I suspect, says more about MECCANO's instability than the prevailing inflation rate.
Somewhat cynically, perhaps, but I have to wonder how long the MECCANO marketing summit lasted when they discussed the change in the code system from 61/B1 to B11/63! However, to be fair, to me the latter does make more sense : -
As distinct from 'A' for MECCANO models?
The BAYKO Set number.
The year code.
It would be very easy to think that the above was the full story, and, in fact, this was exactly how this page stood for some considerable time, until, that was, I came across this interesting BAYKO model on eBay [below, right].
It would be easy to get a little carried away with enthusiasm about this model as, arguably, I did as far as the bidding was concerned!!!  Still, joking apart, I'm pleased I did, because I believe it tells us a lot about just how the British shopkeeper thought about the world's first and finest plastic construction toy.
Home made, shop display BAYKO Model
There are several points of interest, but let's start by examining the model itself.  Very simply it's a fake.  Don't get me wrong, it is 100% pure BAYKO in terms of it's components, but that's where the genuine tag stops.  This definitely isn't a professionally built model of the type referred to above, rather it was made by the shopkeeper him/herself, or one of the staff... do I know?  Basically there are too many 'mistakes' in its construction.
As far as the other details of the model are concerned, they too are of mixed pedigree, though remember, the model above came direct from a lady on the south coast, who, in turn had acquired it direct from a toy shop in the area, where it was displayed exactly as we see it here.  Let's take the details one item at a time : -
Spare parts sourcing information slip
Firstly, the roof label [left].  It's clearly a genuine BAYKO printed label, though it's a new one to me, which has been stuck, with excessive vigour [and glue!], directly onto the roof.  It reads as follows : -
Home made flags from the shop display model
"Spare parts can be purchased only through your local BAYKO dealer."
BAYKO Dealer label on a white Curved Brick from a home made, shop display model
Secondly, the two BAYKO 'flags' [right].  Initially, both look genuine, but, have actually been cut, 'Blue Peter style', from early post-war BAYKO manuals.  The printing is genuine enough, but the flags are strictly home made.
Thirdly, there is a label [left], on the white Curved Brick above the Curved Window, at the left hand side, on the front of the model.  It is self evidently a very neatly printed item, in green ink on a white background, but I have no means of knowing if this too was home made, using a Letraset type system, or was provided as a pre-printed item by Plimpton, or MECCANO.
In the dim and distant past, I have actually used Letraset, which I seem to remember as utilising black, not coloured, lettering, but that isn't conclusive, nor is the fact that it is such a neat job, employing a font not unlike that used by MECCANO.
Whatever the type of technology used, or the provenance of this label, its quality and effectiveness are not in dispute, so...
...I'm sorry to leave things hanging, as it were, with that last detail, but I don't think it really matters.  The key issue here, I feel, is the overall impression made by the model - as it would have been seen, in the toy shop, probably for several years, by its target - the discerning young toy buyers of the day...
...I like it, inauthentic warts and all!
Well, that's it for the moment - until the next time - but it's nice to remember that in those independent toy shops of 'yesteryear', so much was dependant on the personality and drive of the shop owner.
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