Cast-iron shoe last

Cast iron shoe last [1920s]Cast-iron shoe last
made in Australia 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.

Pictured here with a pineapple- the shoe last lends gravitas to anything!

The cobblers last is for sale: $AUD45

Buy Now

Ceylon tea

Ceylon tea tin with original celluloid spoon
made in England, 1960s

This tin features its own original branded celluloid spoon: ‘Ceylon Tea’. The spoon is a little warped; the tea tin is a little rusted; commensurate with age.

But this tin is a lovely feature of the 60s- just when Ceylon [now Sri Lankan] tea was making it big in Europe. Tea was drunk right across Europe, and Ceylon started making inroads into the English tea drinking public.

Now of course we have tea-bags from everywhere- but this little tin with it’s spoon envision when tea came in tins, and was measured with spoons.

The tea tin is for sale: $AU15 [some rust on tin; some warping on spoon.]
Buy Now

Depression era hand-made scone-cutter

Depression era hand-made scone-cutter
Australia, 1930s

Depression era hand-made items are having somewhat of a resurgence at the moment. Especially kitchenalia; into which category this scone-cutter neatly fits.

It was made by someone in their kitchen [with the help of a soldering iron] in the 1930s. Scones were a simple flour-and-water batter cake so most depression era families relied on them to either bulk out their evening meal; or – with any luck- by adding jam the ‘cake’ became a sweet item for desert.

Scones – with jam AND cream became popular in the 1940s and 50s- after the depression- and as a direct influence from England. Clotted cream and scones served at high tea became good old Aussie scones with a cup of tea. Either way, the scone-cutter lived on and has been cutting scones for decades!

The scone-cutter is for sale: $AU15
Buy Now

Housie

Housie game, NZ, 1959Holdson Products Housie,
made in Auckland NZ, 1959

The game of Housie is called Bingo in the UK- players fill in numerical spaces on their boards as a ‘caller’ randomly produces numbers and calls them out. A win is made when any line is filled vertically, horizontally or diagonally.

Yawn. Sounds tedious to me – but look at the beautifully made housie board, and the numerical discs are stamped timber. And the graphics on the box…beautiful.

The box has its previous owner’s name ‘Cantwell’ inscribed on it – and a price tag of $2:50. My- how prices have changed!

Etsy and Pinterest are replete with artistic repurposing of Housie boards and numbers- what could you make of this collection?

The Housie game is for sale: $AU40

Buy Now

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

40s kitsch

Kangaroo bookends
Aboriginal
motif placemats
made in Australia c. 1940s

Did I mention I like kitsch? These bookends are so of their time: the kangaroos are pewter, and have adopted that typical Skippy looking-over-the-shoulder stance. They stand on traditional Mulga wood- which has been cut and arranged to show off its famous bi-colouring. Mulga wood was used in 1940s souvenir works like these as it is a hardwood –unusual in a native from the wattle family – and was considered ‘export quality’. A transfer sticker on the base of the bookends, in the shape of Australia, proudly proclaims “Genuine Australian Mulga” in case one confuses it for fake Mulga, or worse still, a non-Australian Mulga.

The woven placemats are also genuine…a proud Aboriginal spear and shield-holder walks in front of a map of Australia- in case you mistake him for a proud Aboriginal spear and shield-holder from say, America. There are four placemats in the set…and the motif is arranged on the left side of the mat, so that plates, cutlery etc won’t obscure the motif.

My collection contains a fair few Aboriginal motifs…once considered to be in very poor taste,  they are now old and retro enough to be embraced by hipsters who didn’t encounter them the first time round.

For sale: $AUD65

Buy Now

Retro money box

Gempo pottery money boxGempo Pottery Australia money box
made in Japan, 1962-1974

A fabulous retro lion money box – made by Gempo Pottery as part of a zodiac series; this one of course is Leo the Lion.

The money box features the abstract, large–faced form that marks all Gempo Pottery. It is also particular to its period; the stylised features, and the stoneware pottery glazed in rustic creams and browns. As was the custom in Australia at the time, the money box was designed in Australia but manufactured by ceramic artisans in Japan.

The money box comes complete with its original rubber stopper and is in excellent condition. A must for money box enthusiasts and Leo’s alike!

The money box is for sale: $AUD45

Buy Now

Bakelite roulette wheel

Duperite bakelite roulette wheel, made in Australia c.1950s

How do you combine your love of bakelite with your penchant for gambling? With a bakelite roulette wheel. [Catalogue No. 1324/1, to be precise.] This beautiful roulette wheel hasn’t been out of its box- it is in pristine condition although its box has seen some wear and tear. It comes with a printed green felt baize [not pictured] and a little timber ball ~which was still taped to the wheel when I bought the set.

I have other bakelite items made by Duperite- see ‘Green bakelite pieces’ post below- an Australian bakelite company that made, as well as domesticware, lawn bowls and -apparently- roulette wheels. I must have been the only person who didn’t have one at home as a child…everyone I have shown this roulette wheel to has exclaimed that they remember having one! That might explain  why 1] I am so attracted to it [pure envy] and 2] why it elicits so many nostalgic sighs from my friends.

For sale: $AUD75

Buy Now

Terra Ceramics lazy susan

Terra Ceramics ‘Daisy’ lazy susan
made in Australia, c.1965

The ubiquitous daisy- symbol of the 60s- is stylised and showcased on these Terra Ceramics pieces. Terra Ceramics was proudly Australian, and they have imbued their daisies with the colours of the bush-  olive greens, tans and browns. This set is a lazy susan: four segmented ceramic pieces lift out from around the central circular piece, with the whole lot on a burnished anodised aluminium tray. Which turns around – hence ‘lazy susan’.

The pieces are stamped “Terra Ceramics Australia, Terama hand painted”. It’s now unusual to find hand painted ceramics- and if you look at the five individual pieces you can see subtle differences in the hand-painters work.

I have also collected a matching Daisy ramekin, and Daisy salt and pepper shakers. The Daisy collection continues!

The lazy susan is in excellent vintage condition and is for sale: $AU75

Buy Now

Donald & Piglet

Donald Duck clock & PigletBayard Donald Duck clock, made in France c.1960s
Beswick Piglet figurine, made in England 1968-1990

This lovely Donald Duck clock is currently for display only – the clock mechanism still works but its time keeping is not exactly accurate. It could possibly be repaired- and it would be fun to see Donald’s arms holding red paint brushes move around the dial – but for my money, he’s quite adorable as he is.

The other issue with these clocks is…the hands are well known to fall off. In fact, if you find a clock with the hands still attached- you are doing well. So, I think since the hands are in a delightful twenty minutes to three configuration, all well and good.

The blue metal casing has some rust – and a tiny nick in the plastic dial ring between numbers 8 and 9 – click on the image to enlarge to see – both of which are a product of the clock’s age. This particular Donald clock is now quite rare in that it has little plastic feet in place of the more commonly produced metal pedestal rest.

All vintage Disney products are now very collectable. Donald’s friend Piglet, by Beswick, is no exception. He has a ‘gold’ back stamp indicating he was made by Beswick, under license for Walt Disney Productions. Figurines with a gold back stamp are more expensive than those with a mere brown back stamp. I have seen gold back stamp Piglets for sale for over $150! And for a fella with such a forlorn face too!

Piglet is in excellent condition; both items are for sale separately or together.

For sale: Donald Duck clock: $AUD75, Piglet : $AUD75 or both: $AUD125

Buy Now