A wonderful example of a depression era canister – this aluminium sugar canister evidences all the hallmarks of the 30s- drilled, green bakelite handles, mismatched green tones, applied ‘Sugar’ label, and graduated rings to the cream base.
Anodised aluminium was in its infancy- and achieving colour matching next to impossible. So each green lid was slightly different across the whole set of five canisters [and added to this of course, is colour fading over time.] Meanwhile bakelite technology was forty years old- you could get any colour you wanted there.
The size of this canister tells you something about the storage of sugar in the 40s. This canister was second in size only to the Flour canister. Everything else in the series was smaller: Suet, Rice, Tea and coming up last, Coffee. My how things have changed in the modern world! [Coffee should always be the largest!- and what the hell is suet?]
The canister has a few dings due to age, but the anodised aluminium base and lid are in good condition. The canister is for sale: $AUD45
Sellex bakelite kitchen canister set
made in Australia c. 1940s
I have posted Sellex canisters previously – but this is an entire set, which is now rare to find. It’s a transfer label, white bakelite set consisting of Flour, Tea, Sugar, Rice and Sago. The Tea label has now been lost- probably due to over-use..but you notice the Sago label is still going strong….I’m just saying.
These canisters would look great in a monochrome white modernist kitchen.
This delicious creamy-white, hard-worn bakelite canister set is for sale; $AUD95
Bakelite amp meter,
Lamb sugar-figurine, made in Australia 1950s
I love bakelite, as you know, and I love scientific/measuring instruments. So this gauge [which measures amps, and still works] is totally up my alley. I am so pleased that the buyer is giving it to a artist who makes toys out of found objects. Imagine this as part of a toy, where the amp needle moves as the toy moves~ magic!
I have resisted collecting figurines, but you know- this sugar lamb – was kinda irresistible. The ‘sugar’ refers to the rough clay texture which gives the figurine some semblance of realism, and unbeknownst to me, this is highly sought after. This lamb is going to a remote sheep station in Western Australia.
I shall endeavour to buy bakelite gauges and sugar figurines- it’s not just me but you!
How fabulous is this hand-painted Mickey Mouse napkin ring? Here he is in his early Disney rendering- all rat-like but with his trademark big ears. Mickey first appeared in 1928 [in Steamboat Willie] and this napkin ring was made not soon after.
I found Mickey in a collector’s sale lot of napkin rings and bought the lot because Mickey was there. Mickey is in great condition with only a little wear to the hand-painting on his extremities- ears and nose. He is very collectible- as is any vintage Mickey Mouse item. Mickey’s from the 30s and 40s are now highly sought after.
Mickey is shown here with a bakelite spice canister and a sweet tin from the 30s…they were made in Australia but since Mickey is a universal icon, I don’t think that matters. Mickey is for sale: $AUD75
Bakelite salt and pepper shakers
made by Marquis, Nally, Eon in Australia, c.1940s
I have previously posted bakelite salt and pepper shakers – twice- first in a grouping of green examples and then in a grouping of multi-coloured examples. Here we have a collection of red s&p. They were made to be included in the picnic basket- an everyday object made in a newly-developed plastic- that wouldn’t break in the great outdoors.
I am very fond of the ingenious design of the first two shakers – the top and bottom separate to reveal the two shakers; and you can see that the screw-on bases were often different coloured bakelite. These shakers were made by Marquis; and are impressed with ‘cat 729’.
The next pair of shakers were made by Nally: they are quite distinctive with black bakelite screw lids; and the last set of shakers- although not marked, are by Eon.
For bakelite collectors, and salt and pepper shaker collectors- you know who you are!
Viewmaster Junior Projector
made in Portland, Oregon 1957
The first Viewmaster was made in the 1930s by William Gruber, who was fascinated with Nineteenth Century stereoscopes. He partnered with Sawyers Co. to produce viewers which debuted at the 1939 World’s Fair.
This ‘Junior’ projector was made in 1957 – at the same time all the classic bakelite hand-held Viewmasters were made. These were called the Model C Viewer and were made from 1946-1955. But while the hand-helds view reels in stereoscope, this projector- using the same reels- projects in monoscope. The projector is cast metal and bakelite, and has a similar level mechanism to advance the reels as the hand-helds, and all reels made are compatible. The projector comes in its original box, which is in good vintage condition.
Along with this fantastic junior ‘toy’ [every child in the 50s wanted one!] come a great range of original 50s reels. The range from Australia themes [“5010 The Great Barrier Reef”, “5121 Adelaide & Vicinity”] to American themes [“291 California Wild Flowers”, “157 New York City”] and for some odd reason, a single Movie Star themed: “Gene Autry and his wonder horse Champion”. That’s a real corker!
The Junior Projector is for sale: $AU120. For a full list of the reels, please email : reretroblog.gmail.com
Here is a selection of some of the glass kitchen canisters that I have collected for use in my kitchen: these are the ‘spares’. The thick, square glass canisters were originally filled with nuts or sugared almonds, and sold at Christmas time in the 50s and 60s. The plastic lids come in all manner of colours, and are still good and air-tight. So beautiful and functional!
I like that you can see how much sugar/flour/tea is left in the glass canisters, and now I associate red with ‘lentils’, blue with ‘couscous’, and green with ‘green tea’. This colour coding is a great idea!
I also have a selection of glass canisters with black bakelite lids- these only seemed to come in black- and they date earlier, probably the 40s.
The canisters are for sale: $AU20 [coloured plastic lids] and $AU30 [black bakelite lids.]
As we say goodbye to 2016 and welcome in 2017, a sneak peek into my personal collection. Or- the bit of my personal collection I am keeping.
I became interested in resin, and experimented with making jewellery and door pulls. This in turn led me to research and learn about plastics- and during this research I became interested in bakelite. You know the rest of the story: I now collect bakelite.
This is an old bakelite phone from the 30s- made in Australia- bought recently. It needs restoration, and I have Greygate No.5 Polishing Paste on hand to do it. This polishing paste was developed to restore bakelite on phones for the GPO in the 50s – and it’s still made today. Bakelite itself is still in production- in the manufacture of light switches and electrical components, so the restoring paste is also still made.
The phone can also be restored electronically – if one wished to use it as a landline. And- it has a little drawer for phone numbers in the front – a wonderful design, if somewhat whimsical.
Happy New Year to all re:retro readers & followers! And here’s to much retro in the future!
Fowler Ware jug, made in Australia 1940s Ibis ‘lotus’ condiment set, made in Australia 1940s
Fowler Ware created industrial pottery in Glebe, Sydney commencing in the 1840s. After WWII, Fowler Ware moved to producing pottery for the domestic market : their pudding bowls and jugs were so popular that they opened a second pottery to cope with the demand. I have posted quite a few Fowler Ware jugs – this one is had that quintessential 40s rounded body shape, and is in a drip glazed green- rather than the more usual solid glaze colour.
Ibis bakelite is hard to come by: not a lot of it was made as the small factory in Melbourne only operated for a short period between the wars.
This is a condiment set, with stand; the salt and pepper shakers have been fashioned as stylised lotuses. The openings for the salt and pepper is a recessed screwed section hidden under the stand. [This set has now sold.]