BAYKO Set Sales

Firstly let me be honest up front - I don't know exactly how many BAYKO sets were sold, however, by analysing the information we have [right] on the number of BAYKO manuals which were printed, we can paint a picture, and that is what I've tried to do here.
Sadly, for the first half of BAYKO's life, we don't even have that basic information, because none of the manuals before 1949 include information on either the size, or the date, of the print run.
Graph showing when BAYKO Manuals were printed
However, by way of contrast, for the peak period in the Plimpton era - 1949 to 1959 - and the MECCANO era - 1960 to 1964 - we do have the basic information we need.
The graph simply indicates when the manuals were printed, rather than being useful for detailed study, for that…
Just a quick comment, we need to remember that, apart from conversion sets #3X and 14C, only standard sets actually included a manual. I have taken this into account and done a limited amount of 'smoothing' to balance out apparent quirks in printing schedules for the manuals.
So looking at the graph [below] we can see that sales in 1949 were a little over 50,000 sets, which gives us a scale for the earlier sales. I can't imagine, given the mid-year production start, that sales in 1946 were much more than 10,000 sets, if that, indeed the comparative scarcity of BAYKO parts from that year suggest it was well short of that amount.
BAYKO Set Sales graph covering the second half of BAYKO's life
We know from talking to former Plimpton employees and inventor Charles Bird Plimpton's daughters that the factory was very busy post-war, so the 1949 figure was probably approached quite closely in 1947 and more certainly in 1948, but remember, these sets were all small, i.e. sets #0 to #2.
From that point, we can be confident that the Plimpton era sales figures are quite accurate, averaging 150,000 sets at the peak from 1953 to 1956, with a sharp decline thereafter.
The MECCANO era figures are a little more problematic. The first MECCANO era manual, August, 1960, had a run of 250,000, with a further 100,000 just six months later! This suggests a sales volume which is difficult to grasp, however, these are sales into the retail trade, rather than by retailers, and it's not too difficult to imagine the scale of 'pipeline-filling' necessary after the 3,000+ U.K. toy shops which sold BAYKO had been all but starved for most of 1960.
This pipeline filling process would also have applied, perhaps to a lesser extent, to stocks of the [loose] manuals themselves.
Sales of BAYKO did continue up to 1967, but I suggest that the total for this period was probably only just into five figures [10,000].
Returning briefly to the pre-war period. We know from conversations with Charles Plimpton' daughters that there was limited production of BAYKO sets, literally at the kitchen table, in the run up to Christmas, 1933, but quantities are unlikely to have got far into four figures [1,000]. After that, annual sales figures will have grown up to the war, though I think it unlikely that they reached anywhere near the 1949 figures [50,000]. Again there is support for this assertion, based on the amount of product which has survived from this pre-war period.
All this means that the total sales for BAYKO sets, over the life of the product, will have got surprisingly close to the two million mark, perhaps even getting within a hundred thousand, though I think somewhere between 1,800,000 and 1,900,000 is more likely - and remember that doesn't include conversion sets. Although that seems a high figure, given that it was over a thirty year period, it suggests that almost 10% of U.K. households had a BAYKO set at some point during that period, and then there's the unquantifiable question of second hand and hand-me-down collections.
Below here are links to related info : -
Click on any of the links below for related information.

The 'Flaming BAYKOMAN' site logo

Latest update - August 11, 2022
The BAYKO name and Logo are the Registered Trade Mark of Transport of Delight.