30s sugar canister

30s sugar canisterSugar canister
made in Australia, 1930s

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

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70s orange [sold]

Krups kitchen scales, made in Ireland c.1970s
Pyrex mixing bowl, made in USA c. 1970s

Ah the 70s when orange ruled supreme! I can’t but associate anything oldish and orangish with the 70s.

I have a rather large collection of retro kitchen scales. So far I have posted Australian scales [Salter -50s and Persinware-60s] but the collection also includes these lovely metal scales made in Ireland in the 70s. Scales are both functional and beautiful – which is why I love ‘em; I’ve seen them used for their original intention [weighing stuff] but also they make great book ends and fruit bowls. Just as long as the measuring bowl is intact [and one must make sure it’s the original bowl as well.]

These scales weigh items up to 10 lbs in 1 ounce increments, or 4.5kg by 25 grams- so are good for most of the world whether imperial or metric. The scales are orange enamel and the plastic bowl is a great elongated oval shape- again, very 70s.

The Pyrex mixing bowl features a great orange pattern- I’m sure Pyrex aficionados could identify the pattern name.  The mixing bowl also functions well as a fruit bowl.

I like the scales and the bowl together- bonded in their orangeness and their 70s-ness.

This set is for sale: $AUD80

Swinnertons Chelsea Blue

Swinnertons Chelsea Blue crockerySwinnertons Chelsea Blue
made in Staffordshire, England c.1950s

This set comprises 4 dinner plates, 4 side plates and 4 cake plates. The colour is described as ‘duck egg blue’.

I had been hunting for the matching Chelsea Blue coffee and tea sets, but upon reflecting how lovely the harlequin crockery sets are [see for example Swinnertons Nestor Vellum ‘Moonglo’ sets, below] I can’t actually imagine having a set all one colour.

Also, for some unexplained reason, the Chelsea Blue jug looks so wrong with the rest of the set- it is overblown, and has some quasi-20s affectations…what were they thinking? This is the 50s, people! I couldn’t bring myself to buy it – and left it on the shelf- which was probably a first for me.

This would be a good starter set for a harlequin table setting for 8 – just collect similar 50s colours in the same simple, rounded forms. Or just use as is – how good would cake look on those duck egg blue plates!

For sale: $AUD120

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Sellex canister set

Selex canister setSellex 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

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1920s cobblers last

Cobblers lastCast-iron shoe last
made in Australia c.1920s

This is a ‘dual’ cast-iron cobblers shoe last- there are two different shapes on which to stretch and shape leather to make shoes. Cast-iron was used as it maintains its shape when in contact with wet leather and the mechanical stresses of stretching and shaping shoes.

Nowadays these heavy items are used as book ends, door stops or simply as decorative industrial forms.

There is something very satisfying about repurposing an industrial antique- giving it a new purpose and lease of life- and the functional design of the last means it is stable either end up.

The cobblers last is for sale: $AUD45

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Studio Anna kitsch-fest

Studio Anna wall plates & salt and pepper shakers
made in Australia 1950s

I am particularly drawn to kitsch pottery that has landscape or botanical images…so souvenir ware from the 50s is right up my street! I have posted Studio Anna pottery previously- you might remember that it was situated right near where I now live, in inner-Sydney.

This very kitschy souvenirware was very popular in the 50s – and then it went out of fashion [in a big way] in the 70s and 80s. Rightly so, the appropriation – and kitschisation- of indigenous motifs was debated and condemned. Now, in this post-modernist era, enough time has passed and enough discussion ensued that we can now look on these very dated images with fondness and nostalgia.

The wall plates have a hanging device on the back, so they can be – hung on a wall; here the cities of Adelaide and Albury are celebrated.  The salt and pepper shakers celebrate Moree. A nice start to a Studio Anna collection.

This collection is for sale: $AU80

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70s Australiana

Crystal Craft trivet, made in Australia 1970s
Wiltshire ‘Vogue’ cutlery, made in Australia 1970s

Crystal Craft has become uber trendy for collectors: it is a resin-covered fabric that originated in Queensland in the 70s. This is a super 70s trivet- just look at the forms and colours! And it is great that the piece has it’s original sticker on the base.

The ‘Vogue’ cutlery was designed for Wiltshire by Stuart Devlin- famous for his other work designing the images on Australian coins [all native fauna & flora.] This was his day job – but once those coins were minted I think he gave up his day job! The cutlery are ‘new in box’ never opened or used, and in great condition.

I styled these two items together – I love the 70s colours! – but am happy to sell them separately: $AU35 each.

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50s candlesticks

50s candlesticks
made in Australia

Here is my burgeoning brass & timber candlestick collection. You’ll note they all have the same candle [important stylistically] but the only things that unite the candlesticks is the material and the age.

Admittedly, the second one is timber veneer on top of timber, but timber is timber [especially in the 50s!] The first candlestick is ecclesiastical [came from a church]; and the last two are teak, fashioned after Danish pieces. All made in Australia! – another element that unites the collection.

This could be the start of a great collection – or just be four stylish candlesticks to adorn the dinner table. The candlesticks [sans candles- they are from Ikea!] are for sale: $AU55

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Golliwogs #70sstyle

Basic Soft Toys
by Sister Mary Bertrand, published by Reed, 1974, Wellington NZ

So – Sister Bertrand – shows you how to make golliwogs in 1974. I love this book! The goofiness, the un-PC quality, the terrible shot of St. Bertrand on the cover.

And I confess, I got her name mixed up with the flying nun – who was Sister Betrille.

Nineteen soft toy patterns : “every pattern is actual size”! Wow and hurray! if only I had the time/emotional energy to make every pattern in this book. I would. If only to realise the 1974 kitschiness / Sister Betrand factor.

I am asking you, dear reader, and dear soft toy maker, to do this on my behalf. Go on – I know you want to.

Plus – soft toy makers in NZ – I have thrown down the gauntlet. The soft toy gauntlet.

This wonderful tome is for sale: $AU15

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O Canada!

Timber wall plaques,
made in Hong Kong 1960s

O Canada! Moose and squirrels [national animals] and cliché all around! If this was an Australian homage- it would be aboriginals and kangaroos. But that gilt is universal in its 3D kitschiness – I do so love it.

The timber in the first plaque is real- while only laminate in the second. But the 3D reality- really, does it get any better? For lovers of kitsch, no matter where you live! Imagine a whole wall – a collection of these babies….

Both plaques are in good vintage condition, and ready to hang. And they are for sale: $AU25