BAYKO - The Post Mortem

The intention on this page is to lay out and discuss the various aspects of the death of BAYKO, the world's first and finest plastic construction toy...
...and, perhaps, even to make sense of it!
I thought it best to split the discussion into three main questions...
...When, How and Why...
...though whether I answer them remains to be seen!
I'm all too well aware of the scarcity of information on this subject, so I would really welcome any information or opinions you want to share...
 
WHEN ? : -
My freelance BAYKO model using only 'Flanged' Bricks and matching parts
According to Companies' House, the Plimpton Engineering Company was formally wound up on January 1st, 1964.
'MECCANO Magazine' advertised BAYKO until February 1964.
BAYKO was still being offered for sale in the Gamages 1964 / 1965 Autumn / Winter catalogue.
CLIKI was introduced in late 1964 [and dropped again in 1967].
BAYKO seems to have been allowed to die quietly, though, oddly, it was still included in the 1967 MECCANO price list and there was even a spare parts price list from the same year.
Multi-language quality guarantee slip with the hand stamped date clearly visible
I was certainly a bit surprised when I saw the date on one side of the general purpose "Tested and Guaranteed" slip [left] which I came across in a mint 'Flanged Brick' BAYKO set...
Multi-language quality guarantee slip
...11/4/64!!!
Perhaps this might just have been a part of the mopping up of residual parts, or perhaps Lines Brothers, really did continue to 'milk' BAYKO until 1967, which I am convinced was in deed the case.

It seems to be increasingly likely that the final cessation of BAYKO production was some time in 1967, which means that BAYKO and CLIKI would have been in the market at the same time. The difference seems, to me to be, that MECCANO gave no marketing support whatsoever to BAYKO, just allowing it to provide a modest income stream and share some of the plastic manufacturing overheads which would otherwise have fallen entirely on CLIKI.

 
HOW ? : -
The formal winding up of the Plimpton Engineering Company on January 1st, 1964 may just have been a piece of administrative tidying up, but, in my opinion, it looks like the provisional [at least] decision to kill off BAYKO, as a front line product, was taken in late 1963.
The complete absence of any advertising after February, 1964, following the Lines Brothers takeover of MECCANO seems to support this.
However, the Gamages inclusion in their 1964/1965 Catalogue suggests that MECCANO were taking a pragmatic approach.
 
The April, 1964 production [see above] seems to further support this.
An element of confusion is introduced by the retooling, in 1963 or 1964, which produced the 'Flanged Bricks', even if this was stopped part way through.
Taken all in all, it looks to me like Lines Brothers took the final decision to "milk" BAYKO - in other words to take any easy money that came their way, while spending nothing - all without impacting on the planned launch of CLIKI.
 
WHY ? : -
Were the sales simply too low and did MECCANO and / or Lines Brothers feel that they couldn't be significantly improved?
Did Lines Brothers think that the LEGO look-alike product, CLIKI, was more appropriate for the future?
Were there safety concerns over BAYKO and its metal Rods?
The safety question is something of an old chestnut. While I can't say that no child was ever injured by BAYKO, I've not been able to uncover any incidents. Had the Rods been an issue, then alternative plastic Rods could have been introduced, or Rod ends could have been cropped with a rounded end.
Choking hazards can't have been the issue as LEGO, to this day, has far more dangerous parts in its range.
Bear in mind that the Plimpton era came to an end because of poor sales, under pressure from various products, including the [then] recently introduced LEGO. Couple that with the farcical time [basically a year!] it took MECCANO to relaunch BAYKO after the takeover - I believe that the reason is simple...
...BAYKO's sales just weren't good enough...
...though opting for CLIKI still smacks of panic to me!
 
I'm aware that much of the above is speculation rather that cast iron certainty, so I would welcome your comments, criticism or information...
 
Below here are links to related info : -
 
Click on any of the links below for related information.
   
   
   
 
 
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