BAYKO - "Mottling"

It won't come as a major surprise to anybody familiar with plastic, even today, that virtually every piece of plastic, such as a BAYKO part, is in a single colour...
Mottled Model with mottled green roofs, 'Oak' mottled bricks and mottled green bases
...but that's not the end of it...
...Plimpton also experimented with 2 colour plastics, producing a mottled effect for selected plastic parts between 1935 and approximately 1947.
The earliest examples are the special coloured roofs which were included with the larger Ornamental Additions sets...
...the dark mottling being clearly visible against the lighter background [left, a slightly later version].
The earliest 'Oak' bricks and Arches were also included in these sets.
Mottled BAYKO Screwdriver
I understand that this mottling was, initially at least, achieved by the addition of sawdust into the mix prior to moulding...
...a nice cheap additive I'm sure...
...however, this process must have evolved because parts like the 'Oak' pillars are far too thin and probably used a different 'impurity'.
The mottling of BAYKO Screwdrivers is, at least, better understood, and was definitely done deliberately, if not officially.
These Screwdrivers [right] are certainly distinctive and popular with collectors. They were made by throwing a mixture of different coloured pelletised ingredients into the mould...
...it wasn't a promotional idea as many collectors thought...
...it was a friday afternoon phenomenon.
We are all familiar with the occasional mental aberrations that occur as people become a little 'demob happy' with the approaching weekend in view...
..and the BAYKO factory clearly wasn't immune!
An interesting detail is that several of the colours concerned often don't occur in the normal BAYKO range, perhaps adding evidence of a small sideline, producing plastic parts for other companies?
On the other hand, they may just have been using up of job lots of odd or even mixed colours...
...acquired, 'at a knock-down price', from a sales rep.
The 3 main styles of 'Oak' bricks
So why did Plimpton do this?
The answer is probably "because they could" and, perhaps slightly more cynically, because the additions, like sawdust, 'Wood Flour' to the trade, were cheap.
However, that doesn't do justice to the finished product, and there is no doubt that the 'Oak' Bricks [left] had a 'warmth' to them which was much loved by those fortunate enough to own them in childhood...
...and they're not exactly unpopular today!
The mottled windows, which appeared, though rarely, both pre-war and post-war are, perhaps, a little more difficult to understand.
New Series Set 4C with Mottled Windows
They may well have been interesting and possibly seen as attractive...
...but they weren't exactly prototypically accurate...
...who do you know with [deliberately!] spotty window frames?
I suspect this is also true for the mottled windows, both pre-war and post-war - always assuming that they were produced deliberately...
...there always remains the cock-up theory, which I normally tend to prefer, that it was caused by inconsistent mixing of ingredients.
There is, however, no doubt that the very rare 'Oak' Curved Windows must to have been deliberately made - after all, there was no base-line brown Curved Window to have been cocked up - though these also exist as rarities - so, you pays your money and takes your choice!
BAYKO Collectors Club member, Peter Crooke, who knows a thing or two about plastic, tells me that, certainly the later mottled product, and the earlier non-oak mottled product could, indeed probably would, have been produced using mixed colour ingredients. This is corroborated by the visible evidence of 'smearing' in relatively thin items as individual pellets were squeezed, yet were held apart by the relatively strong surface tension of the individual melted pellets.
Bob Burgess's mottled brown large base
Special mention should be made of one other item...
...mottled brown bases [left].
Just like 'Oak' Pillars, they aren't listed anywhere as an official BAYKO colour variant, and may not even have been produced deliberately, but there are sufficient in existence to enable me to be confident in saying that they really do exist!
The one here is shown courtesy of Bob Burgess - click on the picture to reveal a larger image where it is much easier to see the mottling.
Can you throw any light on the rationale behind the mottling in any or all of its forms? If so, then I'd love to hear from you...
In the mean time, below are details of, at 34 items, a surprisingly long list of mottled BAYKO parts, so...
..."on with the motley" : -
Sorry - just couldn't resist!!!
 
BAYKO
Part #
Part Description
Colours
Dates
Comments
2
Roof - Medium
Dark green
on
lighter green
1935
to
1941
These roofs were produced initially for the Ornamental Addition sets, but were then included in set #6.
Earlier versions are significantly darker than later ones, sometimes approaching black.
There are also examples said to resemble the 'Oak' colours of dark brown on mid brown and others including dark orange mottling.
3
Roof - Large
11
Arch
Dark brown
on
mid brown
1935
to
1941
These parts were produced initially for the Ornamental Addition sets, but were then also included in set #6.
Later, 'New Series' versions are significantly lighter than earlier ones, being tan on mid brown.
4
Brick
6
Brick - Full Corner
Dark brown
on
mid brown
1935
to
1941
They were produced initially for the Ornamental Addition sets, but were then included in set #6 as well.
5
Brick - Half
Dark brown
on
mid brown
1935
to
1941
These parts were introduced in Set #6.
Later, 'New Series' versions are significantly lighter than earlier ones, being tan on mid brown.
9
Canopy
10
Chimney
14
Platform
Dark brown
on
mid brown
1935
to
1941
These parts were introduced in Set #6.
They may also have been included in any "on request", 'Oak' and white versions of the 'New Series' set #6 in the later tan on mid brown colours, though it is at least equally likely that Plimpton stuck with white, particularly with the Wall Capping.
12L
Steps - Left
12R
Steps - Right
16/3
Wall Capping - 3 Hole
16/6
Wall Capping - 6 Hole
16/9
Wall Capping - 9 Hole
15L
Pillar - 3-Brick
Black
on
dark purple brown
1935?
to
1938?
They are not listed in any BAYKO literature, so I can't explain their origin or dates, I'm afraid, though, I suspect they were between 1935 and 1938. They were certainly included in some Ornamental Additions sets.
1
Bases
Mid brown
on
lighter brown
1934?
to
1938?
These are not common - and may also be 'not deliberate' - but sufficient exist to justify their inclusion here.
1
Bases
Dark green
on
lighter green
1938
to
1940
These were produced exclusively for the special sets #20 to #23.
There are also late examples of the colour scheme being reversed.
28
Roof - Small
Dark green
on
lighter green
1939
to
1941
They were introduced as part of "on request", 'Oak' and white versions of the standard 'New Series' sets.
5L
Brick - Long
Tan
on
mid brown
1939
1940
These parts were introduced as part of "on request", 'Oak' and white versions of the standard 'New Series' sets. There are also examples of these parts, particularly End Bricks, which include a third colour - white.
12S
Steps - Straight
26
Brick - Curved
27
Brick - End
4
Brick
Tan on
mid Brown
1939
1940
These two types of brick switched a little later than the newer parts listed immediately above.
5
Brick - Half
21
Turret - Curved
Tan
on
mid brown
1939
1940
These parts are slightly more problematic in that they don't officially exist. However, the Long Turret is known, and almost certainly dates from this period.
22
Turret - Square
23L
Turret - Straight - Long
23S
Turret - Straight - Short
1B
Base - Small
Dark green
on
light green
1939
to
1941
These were introduced in the standard 'New Series' sets.
There are also rare early examples of the colour scheme being reversed. I can't explain why, but I find quite attractive.
17
Pinnacle Roof
Tan
on
mid brown
1939
to
1940
These parts were only ever available as separate parts.
They were never officially listed anywhere that I've seen.
18
Pinnacle Platform
20
Dome
19
Bay Window Cover
Tan
on
mid brown
1939
to
1941
They were possibly introduced as part of "on request", 'Oak' and white versions of the standard 'New Series' sets, but I am not certain.
They were never specifically listed anywhere and Plimpton may have used white Bay Window Covers in these sets. However, as I have one in my collection, I know that they do exist.
25
Window Curved
Tan
on
mid brown
Late 1940s?
These certainly were not listed anywhere in the BAYKO literature that I can find, so I'm afraid I can't date them -, but they do exist.
7
Window
Mid green
on
pale green
1938?
to
1941?
These parts were produced during the 'New Series' period, 1939 to 1941, but the exact dates are not known - it is possible that they were accidents rather than planned.
7
Window
Mid green
on
yellow green
1946
to
1947
These parts were produced occasionally in the earliest post-war period - they too could well have been accidents rather than having been planned.
7L
Window Large
25
Window Curved
 
Screwdriver
Various multi-colour combinations
1947
to
Early 1950s?
These were 'unofficial', probably the result of Friday afternoon 'demob-happy' employees making light of the standards. Interestingly, many include colours not used elsewhere in the BAYKO range. It is possible that financial attraction of bargain boxes of mixed or 'alien' colours offered by a sales rep, or even using up leftover oddments from non-BAYKO production, may explain some.
BAYKO
Part #
Part Description
Colours
Dates
Comments
 
One further query remains. There are occasional examples of Floors which display mottling with small, slightly lighter brown patches.
Floors are made from Resin Bonded Paper, [R.B.P.] the same stuff that is still used today in computer boards. As this is a widely used, specialist material, I strongly suspect that the Paxolin [the main brand name] was bought in, in large sheet form, then punched in house. I have seen an example where a suppliers label has been punched through.
This means, to me, it is pretty well certain that this mottling was the result of a slight inconsistency in production quality in the basic pellets which were supplied to the R.B.P. manufacturer.
 
Well, that's it as far as my knowledge runs, I'll add any others that I learn of as and when I get any further information. If you can help educate me about any aspect of mottled product...
...in the mean time, my sincere apologies for the awful ,"on with the motley", joke!
I will add the photos above - soon!
 
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