Retro Ice buckets

Ice bucket collection

I collected these ice buckets because I loved the idea of using them with the bakelite blender [the ‘Vitamizer’, posted below] at cocktail parties. I am very partial to a martini, which while not strictly needing a blender, does require the service of an ice bucket. The blender was good for making frozen daiquiris, which my guests favoured. Either way – an ice bucket was totally necessary, and who wants to use a modern one?

I have ended up with a few ice buckets…and in researching these, I found quite a few avid collectors out there. People collect ice buckets. And why not- they look fantastic displayed together [and they’re good for storing ice…amongst other things…]

The bucket to the left in the image is made from Scandinavian teak, and has matching tongs.  The red plastic bucket has a brass handle, and has matching tongs. The only ice bucket with any branding – the Dia Ice Pail, made by Dia Vacuum bottle Industries Co. Ltd, is anodised aluminium and steel [with a ‘vacuum’ white plastic interior] and it comes with…you guessed it…matching tongs. Matching tongs are so important at a cocktail party.

For sale: $AUD75

Buy Now

Slidex slide library

Hanimex Slidex slide library, 1950sHanimex ‘Slidex’ slide library
made in Australia 1950s

I love and collect Hanimex – slide projectors, slide viewers and now- a slide library. Each of the three drawers has flip out slide-holders [yellow, red, green] and each can hold 120 x 35mm slides. The slide library is pristine – never been used. Opposite the drawers is an index – to note the title of each of the twelve slide holders in each drawer- and the drawers themselves have a space for a label integral with the drawer pull. All you need is a typewriter: the index is removable and so can be inserted into a typewriter to be completed; and the drawer labels could similarly be typed. Tres tres cool!

Hanimex is an Australian company that commenced importing cameras and lenses in 1947. Jack Hannes started the company and the name Hanimex is an abbreviation of his company name: Hannes Import Export. By the mid 50s Hanimex was making and selling smaller photographic equipment –like this slide library- in Australia. Cameras that were still imported were rebadged Hanimex Topcon, the second name indicating the original manufacturer.

The precision engineering that has gone into making this compact, portable slide library is fantastic.

The slide library is for sale: team it with one of more of the other fantastic Hanimex products on this site! $AUD75

Buy Now

50s Diana vases

Diana vases,
made in Australia 1950s

As you know, I collect Australian pottery made by Diana- the post-war pottery was situated very near where I now live in Sydney. I collect the ‘Australiana’ pottery in colours of eucalypt green and bark brown- but the same vase shape came in a multitude of colours to suit the changing interiors of post-war Australia.

Here are two posy vases- or ring vases- which display floating flowers [rather than stemmed flowers] and a small matching vase. The deep crimson and powder blue colours are SO 50s; but the geometric patterning on these vases harks back to the 20s and Art Deco. The same shaped vases were made well into the 70s, when they were handpainted [quite garishly, natch] with Australian flora.

Diana produced ‘art pottery’ from 1940 to 1975. The pottery is unique in that it only produced art and domestic pottery products, rather than having antecedents in industrial pottery. I have a number [she said, modestly] of Diana pieces featured on this blog; jugs, pudding bowls, ramekins, casserole dishes, platters, coffee pots…and vases.

This collection of vases is for sale: $AU75 [the small vase has original Diana sticker]

Buy Now

Australian linens [sold]

Australian linens
made in Australia, 1960s-70s

Here is a selection of Australian souvenir tea towels from the 60s and 70s. I love the colours and graphics of these linens- and since they have never been used [they are ‘new old stock’]- they remain vibrant. As souvenirware, the graphics are of Australian towns and feature Australian flora and fauna. Wattle, grevillea and koalas abound.

I bought these tea towels with the intention of making cushion covers [see examples in posts, below] – but came to the realisation that actually I have far too many and nobody could actually use a thousand pillows, not even in the most optimistic of circumstances.

The set comprises ten ‘as new’ linens, and they are for sale: $AU50

Donald Clark placemats

'Cigarette' ashtray & Daniel Clark placeats‘Fish’ placemats by Donald Clark,
made in Australia 1960s

The Australian artist – cum graphic designer- Donald Clark is having a resurgence right now. The pattern on these linen placemats is [unsurprisingly] ‘Fish’ and the limes and greys and very funky 60s-ness reminded me of this 60s ashtray. There are four placemats in the set, all with Donald’s signature.

Yes- that’s an ironic 60s ashtray that features cigarettes on a painters easel. Surrounded by abstract art forms, in a funky 60s shape, that’s an astray that I can enjoy. [Plus it’s never been used and would make a great pin dish.]

As an ode to the funky 60s, this set is for sale: $60

Buy Now

Vintage Australian linens

Upcycled cushions
made from vintage Australian linen

My partner recently found a batch of vintage Australian tea towels, all linen and all unused. I love the graphic qualities of the images- and the strong colours – and decided to make square cushion covers from them.

The backs of the cushions are either upcycled linen or new linen, in plain colours to suit the images. I salvaged the upcycled linen from 50s and 60s tablecloths- and finished the openings with vintage bindings. It was nice to be able to use some of my vintage sewing stash…so it can be considered less a collection and more a necessity!

The cushions are sized to take a 400 x 400mm insert [15.7 x 15.7 inches.] They are fully washable and would make a great gift- especially if the calendar date 1976 or 1985 has a particular association for someone. I have thirty cushions made- and they can be grouped in 2s or 4s- email me if you’d like to peruse the ‘collection’.

The cushion covers are for sale: $AUD35/pair

30s Mickey Mouse

1930s Mickey Mouse napkin ringMickey Mouse napkin ring
made in Japan 1930s

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

Buy Now

Australia in the #40s and #50s

Australian Souvenirware,
made in Czechoslovakia, England, Australia 1940-50s

A selection of hand-coloured, photographic transfer prints of various Australian cities and landmarks made in the 40s and 50s. What a great wall feature they’d make!

Featured herein are beaches, streets, bridge and bridge approaches and traffic bridges, parks, clocks, landmarks, harbours, town halls, parliament houses and rivers [and I quote] :

  • Harbour Beach, Manly
  • Prince Street, Grafton
  • Belmont, Lake Macquarie
  • Bridge Approach, Shoalhaven River from Showground, Nowra
  • Bridge, Shoalhaven River, Nowra
  • Traffic Bridge, Macksville
  • Machattie Park, Bathurst
  • Dr Evershed Memorial Clock, Bega NSW
  • Bottle Rock, Coonabarabran
  • Ulladulla Harbour, NSW
  • Town Hall, Rockhampton QLD
  • Perth, WA
  • Parliament House, Canberra
  • Murray River, Corowa.

Makers are all noted on the backstamps: Victoria, IBC, Royal Grafton Bone China, Royal Stafford Bone China, Westminster China [the last, weirdly from Australia.]

All fifteen plates are in great vintage condition and provide a snapshot of important landmarks in Australia, as judged by tourists in the 40s and 50s. Or – as I mentioned – massed together they would make a fantastic wall feature.

The souvenirware plates are for sale: $AU120

Buy Now

An ode to 70s design

Fred Press cheeseboard & Bessemer piecesFred Press, American artist
Lionel Suttie, Australian industrial designer

Fred Press was an American artist, and from 1950 to the 1980s was the chief designer of Rubel & Co on NY’s Fifth Avenue. He set out to revolutionise giftware, bringing his artistic sensibilities to domestic ware. Here we see a cheese/fruit board, in the shape of an apple, with one of his iconic drawings reproduced on the ceramic tile. The tile itself was made in Japan and is set in American teak, and it is signed Fred Press.

Lionel Suttie was an Australian industrial designer, bought in to Bessemer to revolutionise the design of utility ware– butter dishes, sugar bowls and table ware. This was the first time mass produced melamine products were thought worthy of design – or that they could make could make a design statement. In this image- a russet brown lidded condiment bowl, an avocado cup and saucer and a yellow sugar bowl.

Altogether a fine homage to the 70s -and- 70s designers.

This set is for sale: $AUD105

Buy Now

Blue Moon

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.

For sale: $AUD145
Buy Now