BAYKO Garage Doors Launch

This page, perhaps, provides a small insight into the way that the U.K. toy trade, and perhaps the broader society, operated in the middle of the last century.
Page 7 of the 1959 version of the set #4 manual showing the Garage Doors
On June 1st, 1959, Plimpton introduced what was only the third new BAYKO part in almost a decade - the Garage Doors, or Opening Doors as they were originally known.
Garage Doors were added to the contents of sets #2 and #3, which both contained one, and set #4, which contained two.
In tandem with this, the corresponding conversion sets, #1X and #3X also each contained one.
Confusingly, if you read the letter [below, right] you'll see that Plimpton, [illogically] also included one with set 2X!!!
All I can think of is that Plimpton felt generous to those who traded up an old set #2 to a set #3 with a new #2X conversion set.
Another piece of Plimpton's literature also confirms that they got this last detail wrong…
The new Garage Doors [or Opening Doors] were only finally added to the official BAYKO set contents listings in the very last Plimpton era catalogue, in September, 1959, which also included an image of them on the spare parts explanation page shown. [above, left]
The letter from Plimpton to their retailers about the Garage Doors
Garage Doors also made it into the last Plimpton era price list…
This change to the contents created a potential problem for BAYKO retailers who would obviously have residual stock across the range of BAYKO standard sets and conversion sets effected, which was now out of date - they didn't contain any Garage Doors.
Plimpton's chosen solution to this problem was certainly both simple and effective, though with my perennially jaundiced eye, perhaps somewhat vulnerable…
…I can't help but wonder if today's toy manufacturers would do the same thing - would they be so trusting?
Plimpton simply wrote to all BAYKO retailers, explained the situation and asked the retailers to let them know how many Garage Doors they needed to bring the old sets and conversion sets up to the new specification.
Garage Doors in box as supplied to the retailers
They then simply sent each retailer, 'free, gratis and for nothing', the necessary additional Garage Doors with the covering letter [above, right].
In my more cynical moments I wonder if all the responses were honestly assessed and all the freebies actually passed on - and what would happen today?
The Garage Doors were packed in an unlabelled example of an otherwise standard cardboard box of the type used for more conventional supplies of spare parts to retailers.
This can be seen in the photo to the left - along with the [suspicious?] 1/6 [7.5p] price tag.
Well, what do you think?
Would today's manufacturers be so open and trusting?
Somehow I doubt it.
One last little detail…
Explanation Slip on how to use the garage doors and ramp
…at around the same time, Plimpton also produced the little Information Slip shown to the right…
…it tells budding modellers how to use the new Garage Doors and also the Ramps…
…with particular emphasis on the on going play value after the model has been built.
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Latest update - August 11, 2022
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