BAYKO - Plimpton Era Summary

The purpose of this page is to provide a quick, chronological summary of the period  when Plimpton Engineering operated as an independent company, producing BAYKO and a range of other plastic items.
After teething troubles as C.B. Plimpton's fledgling company struggled to master the [then] new plastic technology, BAYKO finally hit the shops just in time for Christmas, 1934.
1934 to 1936 - The Beginning
Brown Brick model of a 2 Storey House
This was the very first BAYKO production period.
Not surprisingly, particularly when viewed with hind-sight, the initial range of BAKELITE plastic BAYKO parts certainly appears quite limited - just 16 initially, including the bases, but that clearly didn't deter the early [plastic] adopters from taking BAYKO to their hearts. Please don't underestimate how truly innovative BAYKO Light Constructional Sets were regarded by punters and trade alike
Initially sets #1 to #5 were produced with conversion sets #1A to #4A available from 1935.
Bricks were brown or cream.
Windows were 8-pane, 'Georgian' style in dark green - only one size and style was available.
Bases were large and brown.
Large and Small roofs were available in brown.
BAYKO model using parts from 1937 or 1938 supplemented by Ornamental Additions pieces
1935 - Ornamental Additions Sets
Ornamental Additions Sets [A, B and C] were available from early 1935, in parallel with the standard sets. They had no Bases, so were clearly only to be used in conjunction with the standard sets.
The Ornamental Additions sets contained red (initially) and white Pillars, 'Oak' and green Arches, mottled green Roofs, white Wall Capping and 'Oak' Bricks and Full Corner Bricks.
Quantities varied with the set size.
Colours also changed with time. The red Pillars were initially brown and green Arches were originally dark before being lightened as were the mottled green Large and Small Roofs.
These Ornamental Additions sets allowed you to embellish models built from the standard sets - indeed, as they contained no Rods or Bases, that was they only way they could be used.
1935 - "De-Luxe" Set #6
'Oak' brick model - the Castle
From later in 1935 the large, much loved, #6 "De-Luxe" set was added to the standard range of BAYKO sets. This was the largest BAYKO set ever produced in terms of the number of parts, even though the range of different parts included was still very restricted.
Bricks were 'Oak'.
Windows were 'Georgian' style with 8 panes in white.
Bases were large and brown.
Large and Small roofs were mottled green.
'Oak' Wall Capping and white 3-Brick Pillars were introduced.
In theory, from this point onwards until the war, any set could be ordered in the above colour scheme.
These sets are held in great affection be original owners and modern collectors alike.
Model of a church built from a set #5 from this period - compare it with the similar model further down
1937 - Colour Change
In 1937 the colour scheme changed completely, but the range of sets available remained unchanged.
Bricks were now true red or white.
Windows were still 8-pane 'Georgian' style but in light green - still only one size and style was available.
Bases were still large and brown.
Large and Small Roofs were now available in red though early sets still have maroon roofs. Occasional examples also emerge which are a deep cheery red colour, very much a halfway house between the two colours, which I find particularly attractive.
Any set could be specially ordered in the 'Oak' and white "De-Luxe" colour scheme.
Late 1938 - Set #6
In late 1938 the large #6 "De-Luxe" set was changed to the same red and white colour scheme as the standard sets.
The 'Oak' and white colour scheme remained available, "On Special Order".
Conversion set #5A now made sense and was introduced at the same time.
 
1938 - Sets #20 to #23
From 1938 to the war BAYKO sets #20 to #23 and conversion sets #20A to #22A were produced.
These 'special sets' introduced a completely new range of mainly ornamental new parts, Domes, Pinnacles and four types of Turret.
 
Uniquely in these sets, all these parts, plus the Bay Window Cover were manufactured in orange…
 
…I'm afraid I'm not a fan…
 
…though they are very much sought after.
They also included the 1-Brick Pillars, more conservatively white, which were, similarly, unique to these sets.
The Curved Windows [in the new 'cruciform' style] and Curved Bricks, together with the Bay Window Cover, went on to become a stalwart for the rest of the life of the product.
All bricks were red or white.
Standard size Windows were initially 8-pane 'Georgian' style in light green but were changed to the "cruciform" style in 1939 when the 'New Series' sets were introduced. I'm afraid I have never come across one of these sets with the latter, perhaps suggesting they weren't used here.
Bases were large and mottled green.
 
Given that there were never more than two of these Bases in what were, and remain, rare sets, these are very highly prized by collectors.
Finally, the 11 x 7 hole and 11x 8 hole Floors, and the Curved Tie Bars were also introduced, the last two being unique to these sets
 
1939 - 'New Series' Sets #1 to #6
From 1939 onwards the roll out of new parts continued with the introduction of the 'New Series' sets #1 to #6 with conversion sets #1C to #5C.
The original BAYKO Small Roof was renamed as the Medium Roof so that the new [smaller] version of Small Roof could be introduced.
New Series BAYKO Set 3
Full Corner Bricks were superseded by End Bricks…
…and more Bricks of course!
Wall Capping was [apparently] dropped - though some people, myself among them, still believe that they were, never-the-less, still included in the 'New Series' version of set #6…
 
…even though they were never included in the parts list…
…but if they weren't included, no parts would have been unique to set #6.
Straight Steps - in red - replaced the earlier left hand and right hand ones and also the Platforms…
 
…irrationally, I miss these parts!
Model of a church built from a set #5 from this period - compare it with the similar model further up
Long Bricks and Large Windows were also introduced.
Bricks were red or white.
Windows were a new, 'Cruciform' style, with 4 panes, in light green, the Large and Curved Windows matched in style and colour.
Bases now became small and were mottled green…
…and, though not particularly rare, are very popular among collectors.
Roofs were red.
Any set could still be specially ordered in the 'Oak' and white "De-Luxe" colour scheme…
…though their rarity today indicates that this didn't happen very often.
Parts that were dropped from BAYKO sets at this time were still available separately…
…and the old conversion sets were also still available.
 
Production was suspended, to focus on the war effort, between 1942 and 1945.
 
1945
1945, October seems to be the logical date for BAYKO to re-emerge following the second world war.
Whilst sets were probably not available until the following year, there was at least a modest trade in spare parts somewhat earlier, certainly in October, 1945 - how widespread this was I've no means of knowing…
1946 - Post-War 'New Series'
We now know that, before the major post-war changes were implemented, there was limited production of post-war 'New Series' sets, possibly only set #1, in boxes which were very different to their pre-war counter parts - austerity impacted,…
1946 to 1948 - Immediate Post-War
Between 1946 and 1948, sets #0 to #3 with conversion sets #0X to #2X were gradually unveiled as war time rationing and material shortages eased.
Chris Reeve's early postwar model built on rare pale green Bases
The Flat Roof was introduced, initially with a diamond pattern, but after about a year it was changed to the standard tiling style.
Bricks were red or white, though some unusual shades of red date from the first year or so of this period.
Windows were a yellow green for the first year or so, then standard mid-green.
Bases were small and, after flirting with pale colours and shades of grey, settled on green.
Roofs were red.
Set box sizes, colour and internal cardboard structures varied considerably impacted by austerity shortages..
1949 to 1959 - The Peak Period
From 1949 to 1959 the conversion set #3X [August 1951] and set #4 [February 1952] were added to the range.

Excellent model from the first half of the 1950s

Excellent model from the latter half of the 1950s
New parts now emerged and were included in set #3X from 1951 - Balustrades [including matching Gate], Wall Bricks, Corner Bricks, Gable Roofs, Side Bricks and Windows, Opening Windows, Long Roof Ends, Small Chimneys and Crazy Paving.
In the mid 50's material changes began with the gradual introduction of polystyrene. Retooling the windows allowed for the introduction of Glazing.
From around May, 1958 the TV Aerial and Ramp became available, and the Opening or Garage Doors from June 1st, 1959.
NB. Only Bricks, Half Bricks, End Bricks, Windows, Large Windows, Garage Doors and, later, Doors actually used the new material.
The colour scheme was unchanged though windows lightened slightly with the new material.
This format and colour scheme prevailed until the MECCANO BAYKO take-over.
1959 MECCANO Takeover
In September, 1959, or thereabouts, MECCANO took over BAYKO.
Given how sluggish Mr MECCANO was in launching his own product, we know that this period extended late into 1960, the only changes being to literature and the introduction of see through plastic bags, as wholesale packaging, for several parts.
 
I'd love to hear from you if you've more information on the Plimpton era…
 
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