BAYKO Product Details - 1960 to 1962
The MECCANO Takeover

The 1959 MECCANO take-over heralded a major period of upheaval for the BAYKO product. This was far from an overnight process, indeed MECCANO Magazine didn't announce the relaunch until September, 1960.
The exact arrival date of the first MECCANO era sets is more problematic, but 'MECCANO Magazine' adverts give some hefty clues : -
October, 1960 : -
November, 1960 : -
In December, 1960, an advertising “puff” in 'Games and Toys', a leading publication for the U.K. toy trade, heralds “the latest addition to the Bayko range” in the form of set #12 and conversion set #12C…
There's also a comment in the 1960 MECCANO Trade Brochure that the new product will be “available in 1961” for export markets.
The entire roofing range [except the Canopy, Bay Window Cover and the TV Aerial!] was discontinued : -
Discontinued Plimpton era roofing parts
Large, Medium, Small, Flat and Gable Roofs.
MECCANO Set 11 - note the new style boxes and new styles parts
Roof Ends [both sizes].
Chimneys [both types].
Pinnacle Platforms and Roofs.
They were replaced by 4 sizes of 4-piece, light green roofs, using new Roof Ends designed with a 30° slope, as distinct from Plimpton's 45°.
This brought BAYKO's building style [if you can use the word “style” about 1960s architecture] up to date, creating a significant opportunity, through the greater choice, to the modellers of the time - and, of course, today.
New MECCANO era roofing parts
This also allowed a total revamping of the shape of BAYKO set boxes…
…which had a very positive effect on packaging and particularly on BAYKO's transport costs.
The shape of the set boxes was a marketing man's dream…
…with a large surface area to really make an impact…
…though I think they could have made a better label.
Mirroring Plimpton era sets #0 to #3, sets #11 to #14 [with conversion sets #11C to #13C] followed on from MECCANO's own sets #1 to #10.
Several more Plimpton era parts were also dropped, with no new parts appearing at this stage : -
Other discontinued Plimpton era parts
Wall and Corner Bricks.
Model built on MECCANO era grey BAKELITE Bases
Balustrades and Gates.
Opening Windows.
Side Bricks and Side Windows.
2-Brick Pillars.
The brick colour scheme was changed to orange-red and beige/cream. Windows were yellow and retooled in a more modern style.
MECCANO era BAYKO model on a MECCANO era grey Polystyrene Base
Bases were initially changed, briefly, to grey BAKELITE, identical to the Plimpton era Bases[above, right]…
…then to a more up to date, less attractive, grey polystyrene [left]…
…some polystyrene Bases were an unattractive beige [below, right].
Bases, as well as Steps and Ramps, also exist in this beige colour in addition to the grey mentioned above - some by design and some possibly due to fading due to exposure to sunlight - the grey are generally the later pieces.
The net effect of these changes was to significantly reduce the number of parts available back to the same sort of level as prevailed around 1938!!!
This certainly brought BAYKO into the 1960s, architecturally speaking, though personally I'm not a great fan of 1960s architecture…
MECCANO era BAYKO model on MECCANO era beige Polystyrene Bases - some of the parts in this model are from a later period
…while I'm not a fan of the POLYSTYRENE Bricks…
…I have to admit that the range benefited significantly from this update in many ways - and could have done so even more had BAYKO survived longer…
…as was evidenced by the next production period.
During the changeover there was still some limited production. A few anomalies such as Bases and Screwdrivers in Plimpton green can be found in MECCANO era packaging. Alternatively, perhaps these date from the early days after the restart, using up old materials.
Some early MECCANO era literature appears equally confused.
The 1960 MECCANO Trade Brochure / Catalogue has several details which differ from the final product…
An early MECCANO era leaflet shows parts from MECCANO and Plimpton colour schemes in the same set with Windows as [MECCANO] yellow versions of the Plimpton moulding…
Two BAYKO manuals was available during the first couple of years of the MECCANO era…
Front cover of the first MECCANO era manual
MECCANO saw no need to change the tried and tested format for BAYKO manuals which had been established over the previous quarter century.
You may want to know more about the full range of BAYKO manuals, if so…
Special mention should perhaps be made of Bricks with Central Rod Grooves : -
2 Plimpton era Bricks in the 'T' position which can only take 3 Rods
Plimpton era Bricks [left] just had a plain slot at the back.
MECCANO added an excellent innovation that many modellers still praise even today - the introduction of an additional Rod groove in the centre of the rear slot of some of their Bricks [below, right]…
…with my environmental hat on, this does yield a nominal saving of raw material…
…a small enhancement, but an enhancement non-the-less.
Similar enhancements were also made to the rear of both some of the Half Bricks [certainly not all the moulds] and, I believe, all of the Long Bricks.
The more cynical among you may well point to the 2% material saving which this innovation generates - nearer 3% with the case of Long Bricks - as the driving force behind this initiative…
2 MECCANO era Bricks with rear grooves in the 'T' position which can take 4 Rods
…however, regardless of MECCANO's motivation, the change reduces movement, and today's modellers still appreciate the additional strength and stability which is generated by the inclusion of the extra Rod within the 'T-Brick' formation [shown in the photo to the right]…
…this is a particular boon to exhibitionists like myself, where anything that helps models arrive at the exhibition in one piece is very welcome!
Leo's 'T' Brick which only needs 3 Rods
Seriously, this impact on larger models which need to endure transportation in order to be shown at exhibitions, really can't be overstated.
The late Leo Janssen even took this a stage further…
…initially he was motivated by his own frustrations while building and transporting mega-models with Plimpton era Bricks, which don't have this groove…
…replacing lost Bricks in the middle of a building can be a real pain…
…and so…
…he moulded a one piece 'T-Brick' which is even stronger and turns the potential weak point into a strong point - it really works in helping large models survive the rigours of transport around the exhibition circuit.

If you would like information on the price of BAYKO sets during this period, click on one of the links below.
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Latest update - August 11, 2022
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