Australian bakelite bits ‘n’ pieces

Australian bakelite: Nally, 40s Nally bakelite pieces c.1940s

These are the odds and ends of my Nally bakelite collection. Nally first started bakelite production in 1923 and was one of the first in Australia to do so. The factory was in Glebe, in inner-city Sydney – where I once lived as a student, when it was grittier with light industry, warehouses and terraced housing.

I became interested in bakelite when I started making my own resin jewellery. Bakelite was the first stable plastic compound ‘discovered’ by one Dr. Baekeland in the 1907. It was – like many discoveries – a complete accident- he was trying to find a synthetic alternative to shellac. A million and one things went on to be produced in bakelite…see quite a bit of evidence in previous posts on this blog… … …

Anyhoo- in researching resin I looked at early polymer precedents and then became fixated on bakelite. Australia was just coming of age in the 20s and bakelite was taken up with great fervor- it was the modern, new era- cheaply produced alternative to timber, iron, steel and ceramic- you name it.

This set comprises:    4 end-of-day egg cups
blue nested salt and pepper shaker, with cream screw ends
green lidded ‘cloves’ canister.

I’ve teamed the Nally bits ‘n’ pieces with an old battered red aluminium canister lid, much splattered with paint. It’s had a hard life and has lost its companion piece and now must do duty as a background element. Still- that’s upcycling at its best!

This set is for sale: $AUD45

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2 thoughts on “Australian bakelite bits ‘n’ pieces

  1. Edwina, thanks for giving a glimpse into the history of vintage tablewear. I remember my grandparents had some bakelite items, a radio and some utility boxes, and I remember how I liked to touch its surface and sometimes to lick it (I was 7 years old or so :). Thought they did not have any bakelite tablewear, and I would be really curious to find out if it has the same polished texture as the radio case.

    • hello and thanks for your interesting comment. all bakelite will respond to a polish- using brasso and a polishing cloth. in australia a great deal of kitchenalia was made in bakelite- i have examples of canisters, scoops, funnels, measuring cups, mixing bowls, picnic ware- on my blog…and i’m still collecting and finding more.

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