BAYKO and Girls

Well, judging by the title at least, I'm on dangerous ground here - but here goes!!!
Label from a pre-war set #21
Every manufacturer wants as big a market as possible for their product.
Excluding girls would exclude 50% of the potential market - not a good idea...
...but not all boys want to play with a toy that is "for girls"!
Don't shout at me, I'm just reporting opinions I've heard expressed more than once over the decades - you've heard them as well.
Superficially, Victorian born C.B. Plimpton, BAYKO's inventor, wouldn't seem to be an obvious candidate for feminist of the year - or was he...
...the evidence certainly shows that he was prepared to challenge the stereotypes and push back the sexist frontiers, at least a little, and targeted BAYKO's market in an inclusive way.
Don't let's get too carried away with the idea that the world of BAYKO was totally gender blind, but lets give Plimpton and MECCANO some credit.
December, 1952 BAYKO advert in MECCANO MAGAZINE showing both a boy and a girl
I struggled for some way of quantifying the gender balance...
...it must be the mathematician in me.
By way of an example, a brief analysis of the 148 'MECCANO Magazine' adverts I have shows the following : -
41% of MM adverts include an image of a girl, if only on a set box.
15% of the rest mention that the product will suit girls.
36% mention neither gender.
By way of balance, it should be said that very many of the images used in the adverts were aimed at boys...
...but, I think we can be sure that adverts in 'GIRL' comic weren't...
In the last year or so of BAYKO's association with 'MECCANO Magazine', there was a series of articles about the worlds first and finest plastic construction toy, under the authorship of "Architect".
One of these articles, from November, 1963, was built around a model from "Christine LeConte of Grange on the Wirral Peninsular, who is only nine years of age."
Thanks to Paul Monforth and his cousin's daughter Heather, for pointing this out.
Hats off to C.B. and his successors - the boys definitely outnumbered them, but girls were always fully included in BAYKO - and still are...

Mint set 1 from the late 1950s showing a girl and a boy on the lid

...even if my ex-wife did refer to herself as a "BAYKO Widow"!
But the proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating...
The BAYKO Club already has several lady members - Jackie Britton is one of our original members - and, of course, more are always welcome.
I, and most other BAYKO Club members, also know several other ladies who actively pursue our excellent hobby...
...and I've had countless conversations with ladies at exhibitions [don't tell Diana!] which started, "Oh, I had a BAYKO set when I was a girl and I just loved it!" - enough said.
It would be nice to see more and more ladies [or should that be girls‽] re-living the BAYKO-enriched days of childhood!
Well, that's it as far as my words are concerned - for the rest of this section I'll let the following examples of BAYKO images and quotes do all talking and, hopefully, demonstrate just how inclusive BAYKO always was, and, indeed, still is.
Pat Fereday concentrates on her latest BAYKO project
Firstly, the proof of the pudding, as they say - should you believe any were actually necessary - a couple of examples of girls who have played, very successfully, with BAYKO.
A nostalgic family discussion on toys, triggered by a new grandchild, led to Pat Fereday sending the first image [right]. It shows her, in 1955, in a super photo taken by her dad.
As you can clearly see, she was concentrating, very studiously, as she built one of the first of her many BAYKO models.
...what a fabulous photo!
The next photo [below] brings us bang up to date.
Cliveden by Pamela James
This splendid BAYKO model was built by Pamela James.
It is an accurate representation of the well known English stately home - Cliveden, the home of the famous - should that read infamous - Mitford sisters...
...I rest my case!
There is certainly another example of a girl with ambitious building plans, in this case a young lady in Antwerp in 1952 - unless she was being sent the parts lists for the 'Country Club' and 'Block of Flats' models out of a mere passing interest.
 
Below this point are extracts from all ten styles of manual issued with standard BAYKO sets throughout the life of the product, all of which refer to "Children" or "Boys and Girls" or some other gender-neutral phrase, never just to Boys.
 
Front cover of the first ever BAYKO manual - click here for the manual
Sets #1 to #5 Manual, 1934
Page 1 of the first ever BAYKO manual

"These sets teach children to develop skill with their hands and with their brains, and, above all, to form the habit of thinking out problems for themselves, because they make these problems a fascinating game."

Front cover of the 1935 to 1937 BAYKO manual - click here for the manual
Sets #1 to #6 Manual, 1935 to 1937
Page 1 of the 1935 to 1937 BAYKO manual
"Bayko sets awaken a common interest in young and old alike."
Front cover of the 1938 to 1940 20s Series BAYKO manual - click here for the manual
Sets #20 to #23 Manual, 1938 to 1941
Page 2 of the 1938 to 1941 20s Series BAYKO manual
"USEFUL HINTS FOR BAYKO BUILDERS."
Front cover of the 1939 to 1942 BAYKO manual - click here for the manual
Sets #1 to #6 Manual, 1939 to 1942
Page 1 of the 1939 to 1942 BAYKO manual
"...these Sets are ideal for children incapacitated by sickness or disease."
Front cover of the 1939 to 1946 BAYKO manual - click here for the manual
Sets #0 to #2 Manual, 1946
Page 2 of the 1946 BAYKO manual
"...these Sets are ideal for children incapacitated by sickness or disease."
Front cover of the 1949 BAYKO manual - click here for the manual
Sets #0 to #3 Manual, 1949
Rear cover of the 1949 BAYKO manual
"A BAYKO SET IS THE IDEAL GIFT FOR ANY BOY AND GIRL."
Front cover of the 1950s BAYKO manual - click here for the manual
Sets #0 to #3 Manual, 1950s
Inside front cover of the 1950s BAYKO manual
" 'PERFECT' CHILD'S PLAY "
"...these Sets are ideal for children incapacitated by sickness or disease."
Front cover of the 1950s BAYKO set 3X manual - click here for the manual
Set #3X Manual, 1950s
Inside Front Cover of the 1950s BAYKO set 3X manual
" 'PERFECT' CHILD'S PLAY "
Front cover of the 1950s BAYKO set 4 manual - click here for the manual
Set #0 to #4 Manual, 1950s
Inside Front Cover of the 1950s BAYKO set 4 manual
" 'PERFECT' CHILD'S PLAY "
"...these Sets are ideal for children incapacitated by sickness or disease."
Front cover of the first MECCANO era manual - click here for the manual
MECCANO Era Manual, August, 1960
Page 2 of the first MECCANO era manual
"The master building system for boys and girls."
 
Below here are links to related info : -
 
Click on any of the links below for related information.
 
     
 
The 'Flaming BAYKOMAN' site logo