This is a collection from my travels over the last ten years. Retro things that appeal to me are: well designed, representative of their era, and have a nostalgic / kitsch / quirky quality. I like to display these retro pieces in my home & drawing studio – either as art pieces, or repurposed with a new function. I have an eclectic aesthetic, and am often accused of being a maximalist.
This blog has a twofold aim : the first is to showcase my collection, and to receive some form of validation~ I welcome comments and questions and advice from other avid collectors. I’d also like to sell parts of my collection – obviously only in order to make room for more collections. Once a collector – always a collector!
Have I mentioned that kookaburras are very collectible right now? Perhaps once or twice!
This delightful set of teapot, creamer and cake plate was made in 1933- as evidenced by the design of the Noritake backstamp. The backstamp also indicates the pieces were “exclusively made for the Commonwealth of Australia market” – this fascinating information found on the Noritake website.
It seems kookaburras were highly sought after in the 1930s too. On this set, the kookaburras are paired on one side of the piece, and single on the other. They are all handpainted, and quite delightful.
Towerbrite tea and coffee pots
made in Australia c.1950s
How shiny and lustrous are these anodised aluminium pieces- and how beautiful the bakelite handles! They certainly live up to their name- Towerbrite- and I particularly like the expressed handle connections- very modernist.
Towerbrite was an international company, churning out anodised aluminium pieces in England, New Zealand and Australia from the 1940s-1960s. It seems the company didn’t last once the fascination with aluminium diminished.
I first became enamoured with anodised aluminium whilst visiting a trendy new cafe in Newcastle- they had a long line of various teapots of all colours along the top of a countertop that looked fantastic. Which proves my theory that more IS more- and one should collect as many anodised teapots as one can.
The blue teapots are stamped with “stainless tableware, made in Australia” while the gold set of coffee pot and water jug are unmarked. All are clean inside- no tannin staining- which suggested they are still waiting for a brew. And all are in good condition, no nicks or scratches.
Red & white Eon bakelite canisters
made in Australia, c.1950s
This is an unusual set of bakelite canisters- four are ‘nested canisters : flour, sugar, tea and coffee – and the fifth larger canister is for cake. The nested canisters have transfer labels…somewhat worn from long years of service, but the cake canister is unlabelled. Maybe people just knew that the round, squat non-nesting canister was always for cake!
The canisters – and the labelling- have a somewhat deco styling which is somewhat late for the 1950s- but perhaps these canisters were themselves aiming for retro? Either way, the creamy white bakelite contrasts nicely with the vibrant red bakelite of the lids. And it’s nice to have a complete, intact set.
Eon cake bakelite canisters
made in Australia c.1950s
Eon is a well known Australian bakelite manufacturer of the 40s and 50s- specialising in kitchenware and especially canisters.
These two cake canisters are from different sets, but they were both produced in the 40s and both feature the red and white colourway- so beloved by modernist kitchens of the 50s. Both lids still fit snuggly, thus keeping said cake fresh. And both are unblemished, the bakelite as shiny bright as the day it left the factory.
The red-lidded canister is not labelled, but it’s clearly for cake. The white canister has that typical 50s cursive bakelite label pinned into the side of the canister.
For cake bakers/lovers/consumers and for all your retro kitchen cake needs…these canisters are for sale: $AUD90
Sellex nested bakelite canisters, made in Australia c. 1940s
Kanga and Roo salt & pepper shakers, made in Japan c.1960s
These Sellex bakelite canisters ‘Rice’ and ‘Coffee’ have been separated from their red-lidded set [flour, tea and sugar...] but Kanga and Roo are in their entirety; Roo being the pepper, and Kanga – the salt. Roo pops out the pouch, should be in need of pepper.
I’m sure someone out there has the rest of the Sellex set – or at least wants to add to canisters already collected. The somewhat flowery transfer labels are a little worn, but it’s clear that more Rice was used than Coffee!
The ceramic kanga and roo S & P shaker set is adorable and in perfect condition.
Diana ring posy vases
made in Sydney, Australia c. 1950s
Posy vases were a big thing in the 50s…a vase just deep enough for a single, small flower to float in water, in a ring arrangement that made the posy self-supporting. I have used gum sprigs [with leaves, gum nuts and flowers] in these bowls and the result is quite spectacular.
The first two vases are oval in shape: the third is circular. All three have the beautiful pinks and crimsons so associated with the 50s_ and the middle vase has an incised flannel flower pattern [regular readers will recognise that pattern from a couple of previous posts.]
Regular readers will also be aware of my great love for all things Diana – especially the ‘Australiana’ green and brown coloured pottery. It is with some reluctance that I offer these beautiful vases for sale…I have retained the same shapes/patterns in the green and brown glaze in my collection, and so have to let these ones go.
Further to my post [down below] of Poole ‘Blue Moon’ tea cups, here are six beauties in the colourway ‘Peach Bloom and Seagull’ [I’m guessing peach is the cup interior, and seagull the exterior... it’s a lovely mottled grey colour.] This colourway was presented in the early 50s and is denoted on the base of the cups/saucers as ‘C99.’
Poole is well known for its ‘Twintone’ pottery– their expression – a simple, stylish contrast of two colours.
You’ll note these cups have handles, but they are the same, small delicate shape and size as the Blue Moons. You don’t get much tea in them, but they are so elegant – they would make any tea party a sophisticated affair.
Poole Blue Moon tea cups, made in England 1960-1975
Poole is a very well known pottery, which started operating in Dorset, England in 1873 – and continues today. I am particularly fond of the pottery produced between the 30s and 60s.
These tea cups – very modern in shape and sans handle – are part of the Cameo range. The colour is ‘Blue Moon’ –a deep blue exterior, with a slightly off-white interior [pure white would be too stark...this off-white is just right.] The set of eight tea cups and saucers have the traditional mid-century Poole mark on each piece.
The cups don’t hold much tea – not that I have used them as such – the lovely colour and repetition of form has had them serve a purely decorative function. But they would make for a lovely tea party.
Schweppes and Tooth & Co. soda bottles,
made in London, and Sydney, c.1948-1954
These lovely soda bottles are very collectible and all have etched glass. The soda bottle to the left also has faceted glass – such a deal of detail just for soda water! Because the soda bottles are so highly prized they have been well researched and described – there is a wealth of information about them – which allows them to be accurately dated.
The glass bottles don’t photograph too well on my timber background, but if you click on the image and zoom in you can see the intricate glass etchings to the bottles.
From left to right, the soda bottles are etched:
Schweppes, [Australia] Ltd, 30 Fl Oz Soda Water – one of the first soda bottles to have a plastic and metal top.
Tooth & Co., ‘Blue Bow’, Sydney Australia, made by British Syphon Co. Ltd, London, with metal top and
Schweppes, ‘Porcelain Lined Syphon, London, 26’ – this etched into its metal top.
Retro cross-stitched kookaburra
made in Australia, c.1970
Kookaburras are SO collectible right now! And this framed cross-stitch is a beauty! I can estimate the date of this piece because I located the original Woman’s Day Craft Book pattern, which was produced by Lorraine Kloppman [Home Consultant] in 1970.
To quote Lorraine: “Every woman has latent creative talent. It lives inside you, so why not give it a chance to blossom? Nothing projects your personal image more faithfully than the free expression of your creativity. It’s time to impress yourself, as well as others…this book is your key to a new world. Cross its threshold now.”
Lorraine, you need serious editorial help! And a crash course in feminism. But – I am wondering if her expression ‘It’s time’ influenced the Labour political campaign of 1972…which successfully used this slogan to campaign on the need for change after 23 years of conservative government. Lorraine…I take it all back!
This hand-stitched, framed 1970s kookaburra is for sale: $AUD45