BAYKO in the Shire Album
'Constructional Toys'

The 'Shire Album' is a substantial series with a wide range of subjects, mainly historical, but many with more than a hint of nostalgia. This volume is dedicated to 'Constructional Toys', so is clearly firmly in the nostalgia category!
Front cover of the Shire Albums 'Constructional Toys'
The word 'constructional' seems more than a little clumsy to the modern ear as we have dispensed with the final, 'superfluous' syllable, however, let's not forget that the earliest, pre-war BAYKO sets all bore the proud label “BAYKO Light Constructional Sets”.
The booklet itself has an attractive MECCANO model on the front cover [right].
The mention of the world's first, and finest, 'constructional' toy is short and sweet, though not without errors.
A little surprisingly for a nostalgia based publication, the BAYKO illustration is actually the most modern available - in BAYKO terms.
The relevant section can be seen in the accompanying image [below, left] which reads as follows : -
BAYKO page of the Shire Albums 'Constructional Toys'
Another inter-war system using moulding techniques was Bayko, made from thermosetting Bakelite. The bricks were held together with metal rods and ties. It was patented in 1933 by the Plimpton Engineering Company of Liverpool and continued in production until after the Second World War, though in a reduced range. In 1960 Meccano Limited, also of Liverpool, took the company over and made certain colour changes as well as introducing flat roofs (for easier packaging) bur it lasted only a few more years. Bayko was also scaled for 'O' railways and was a most comprehensive system. There were six sets and, like Meccano, conversion sets were available to make a Number 1 set into a Number 2 set and so on. A large separate Number 6 set had mottled brown bricks, eighty windows, steps, platforms, oak arches, et cetera, with which to make an imaginative range of buildings detailed in the instruction book. These include a Pier and Pavilion, an Observatory, a Cotton Mill, a Lions' Cage, Barracks and Parade Ground and Sunshine Flats as well as conventional houses and churches.
The rest of the section goes on to discuss other 'constructional' toys and also the spare-space-driven impact of the shift in popularity from 'O' gauge to 'O-O' gauge on toys, without actually mentioning BAYKO. However, I still happily defend my 'O-O' gauge BAYKO model railway.
The BAYKO entry was supported, at the bottom of the page, by a line drawing [taken from page seventeen of the standard MECCANO era manual] of a Heliport, which was a set #14 model.
And that, as they say, is that. Short, but sweet.
Since this book was published, a second edition, 'Building Toys' has been published by the same company, albeit they are now called 'Shire Library'…
Below here are links to related info : -
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Latest update - August 11, 2022
The BAYKO name and Logo are the Registered Trade Mark of Transport of Delight.