Super, super 8

Diamond Super 8 Editor, 1950sDiamond Super 8 Editor
made in Japan, 1950s

Super 8 film is having a resurgence, and super 8 cameras and editors are being dusted off and put back into use. You only have to look at YouTube to see how many videos are being made using this fantastic 50s technology.

This Editor is fully working, and comes in its original box with splicer, spare bulb, reels of film and even splicing cement [not sure how good it will be after sixty-odd years but the box packing is fabulous.] It’s been tested by an electrician and deemed good to go.

Even if you don’t use the editor to – you know- edit, it is a beautiful piece of engineering that will lend industrial cred to any space.

The Editor [and assorted accoutrements] is for sale: $AU150

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create-a-kit

Torro create-a-kit,
made in New Zealand 1960s

Here’s New Zealand’s answer to lego : create-a-kit. It’s new in box, never opened, with instructions for making houses, and robots, windmills and the like. It was made by Torro [Toys of Tomorrow!]

I like the images and font on the box, as much as the idea of making a primary coloured house of the 60s [the instruction images are hilarious – so retro!] I had a quick check to see all the pieces are still inside – and some of the bricks are still connected to the manufacturers frame.

The create-a-kit is for sale: $AU65

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Barometer [sold]

60s barometer,
made in Tasmania, Australia

This is a fabulous wall barometer- and temperature gauge- made from blackwood timber, in the shape of Tasmania.

The barometer was a wedding gift to a couple in the 60s – and has faithfully recorded the air pressure [barometer] and air temperature [thermometer] since then. I particularly like the fonts used for the barometer – it is very old school, where each condition has its own curlicue lettering: ‘stormy, rain, change, fair, very dry.’ That last one is -of course- referring to wit.

In excellent working order, and ready to hang, the barometer is for sale: $AU45

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

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10″ slide rules

10” slide rules
Hemmi, made in Japan, c.1954
Aristo, made in Japan, c. 1960
Royal, made in Japan, c.1960

The first slide rulers were developed in the C17th, for mathematical calculations. They were used consistently from this date until 1974, when they were replaced by the scientific calculator. The middle section moves between scales on top and bottom of the scales, and then an independent clear plastic slider is moved to allow the calculation to be read.

These 10” slide rulers [250mm] were made for the office; they are larger and allow more complex calculations that the smaller 5” portable scale rules […yes..they will appear in a previous post…I can’t help it…I love them!]

The Hemmi slide [topmost in the image] has a bamboo structure, with a plastic laminate covering; whilst the later slide rules are all solid plastic. All slide rules come in their own boxes [some with original operating instructions] and some have their original owners names incised on the box.

For sale: $AUD85

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60s jigsaws

60s jigsaws
made in Australia

Two delightful jigsaws, made from timber, in Australia in the 60s. The first was made by Louise Rayner Toys; the second – a teaching clock, is unmarked. Both jigsaws came from a nursery school, who purchased them in the 60s but now deemed them too ‘old-fashioned’ for today’s children. So – hello – retro!

I do remember playing with a clock jigsaw when I was at nursery school- the plastic handles are adjustable and have to be moved in order to get all the pieces in. And I just love the funky glasses on the coloured jigsaw- which is very ‘analogue’ with a clock and a rotary telephone!

Both jigsaws are in excellent vintage condition; with very little wear and are for sale: $AU45

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Vintage Reader

The Big Red Bus, Childrens Reader 1955The Bad Red Bus, published in London, 1955
MacMillan & Co Ltd.

I really like children’s readers…they are especially funny to read as an adult, but even as a child I thought that Dick and Jane were…weird. They were strangely dressed children, with stilted speech patterns. Mind you, the parents spoke with a limited vocabulary too:

“Now I must buy a present,” said Father.
“Here is a little horse,” said Ken.
“Pamela could sit on it and we could rock her.”
“Yes, Mother and I will give her that horse. We will take it home with us.” [Gay Days, 1961 p.14]

This was a book that was before my time at school- The Bad Red Bus– but it was on the Australian school syllabus and many people I know read it as a child. Children remember titles with the word “Bad” in them…and boy, was this bus bad!

Unusually for the time, both the author and illustrator were women; not unusually for the time, the story line is very eurocentric and gave Australian children a small glimpse of the animals and customs of England in the 50s.

The Big Red Bus is in good vintage condition, it shows sign of wear to the cover and has been handled by many, many children. It is for sale: $AU15

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50s Australiana kitsch

Gambit Ware 'Ceramique' Australiana leaf platesGambit Ware ‘Australiana’ leaf plates
made in Australia 1950s

Here is another part of my collection: anything botanically themed always gets me in. Add to that these plates were designed and made in Australia- celebrating our unique flora in the post war period. AND this is ‘Ceramique’ – an early melamine material that was developed to revolutionise ceramic – it would ‘never chip or break.’

The stylised plates came in simple pastel colours, but were quite botanically detailed- they include wattle, banksia, kurrajong, mulga leaves- to name a few. The simple colouring meant that each leaf shape was reproduced in six colours- so one could buy a set of six ‘for display OR kitchen purposes’!

This image shows another part of my collection- at last count I had 50 plates. Plates with their labels intact are worth significantly more. The Ceramique has certainly lived up to its name- there isn’t a chip or a crack on any of the plates, although colour fading has occurred on a few.

Kitschy – yes. But 50s Australian kitsch- I love it!

This selection of Gambit Ware is for sale: $125 [13 pieces]

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40s souvenir ware [sold]

Clock and barometer souvenir
made in Australia 1940s

I’ve featured quite a bit of Mulga wood on this blog: . and a fair bit of kitsch. Often Mulga wood and kitsch go hand-in–hand, as is the case here. Mulga wood was used in 1940s souvenir works as it is a hardwood –unusual in a native from the wattle family – and was considered ‘export quality’. The timber is cut and arranged to show off its famous bi-colouring, as is the Australia-shaped base of this 40s souvenir.

The clock- with alarm and glow-in-the-dark numbers and hands, is paired with a barometer [working; naturally it’s in Fahrenheit] and a gilt koala. The wind-up clock is functional- but I can’t attest to its accuracy. But a barometer and a clock and a gilt koala all on an Australia-shaped Mulga wood base? Doesn’t get much better!

I’ve teamed the souvenir with a Bushell’s tea jar from the same era. The rusted lid adds another brown tone, and the glass picks up the glass on the clock and barometer.

The Mulga wood souvenir is for sale: $AU45

Polaroid LAND camera

Polaroid LAND 1000 cameraPolaroid Land 1000 Camera
made in USA 1965-1970

A man named Edwin Land developed the Polaroid LAND camera; seen here is the now famous black ‘striped’ Model 1000. Land was the first to use film that developed outside the camera.

The Polaroid camera was the first cheap, mass-produced fixed lens camera that was marketed to the young – apparently Barry Manilow sang the adverts jingle, while Ali MacGraw frolicked on a beach. Since the beach-frolicking youth were new to this new-fangled photography lark, the camera was made as a point-and-shoot.

Polaroid film is no longer available, but a great company called the Impossible Project [www.the-impossible-project.com] produces new instant film materials for these classic polaroid cameras. Hurrah! You can now take pictures like a young Ali MacGraw!

The model 1000 came in both white and black forms- but the black is the best known. It uses SX-70 film, also available for the Impossible Project.

The camera comes untested and for sale: $AUD65

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