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

Buy Now

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

Buy Now

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

Buy Now

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]

Buy Now

40s souvenir ware

40s souvenir, clock & barometerClock 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

Buy Now

Electronic printing calculators #70sstyle

Adler & Casio electronic printing calculatorsAdler & Casio electronic printing calculators
made in Japan c.1970s

How cool are these printing calculators? And fun to use. I could play with those big chunky keys all day- and don’t get me started on the sound of the printing!

For the more serious minded collectors out there- the Adler is your 121PD model, type CP 46[3], 220/240 V, and the Casio is your GR-2250, AC 220V, 50/60Hz. Did I mention they are totally fun to play with calculate with?

Ink and paper rolls are still available, so you could have these beauties on your desk and tote up your tax accounts with style. Or- a la Mad Men- add up the cost of the booze for the christmas party! Hey!- they go up to 12 digits!

The two machines are in excellent working order and are for sale: $AU145 [come with new paper rolls]

Buy Now

70s telephone intercom phones [sold]

Telefon children's intercom toy telphones, 1970sTelefon children’s telephone toy
made in Germany, c.1970s

How cute are these push button intercom phones! A friend of mine who received them as a birthday present in the 70s [his was garish blue and white] said that his mother would ‘call’ him in his bedroom to tell him his dinner was ready! How cute!

This set has never been used, and comes in its original box. They are made ‘for ages 3 and up’, have 10m [33ft] of wire to allow use in different rooms, and take two 9V batteries. This is the pre-wireless age, peoples!

A perfect [nostalgic] Christmas present for someone 3 and up!

For sale: $AU75

1925 children’s reader

Tommy's Ride on the Emu, 19251925 children’s reader
published in Melbourne, Australia

Tommy’s Ride on the Emu, written by J.A. Fletcher, is for children 8-9 years old. It’s number 311 in the Whitcombe’s Story Book series.

It is illustrated by ‘Prae’, which shorthand for Hans G. Praetorius. I haven’t read the story- I bought the book for that fantastic cover illustration. In the twenties, Australian’s were just starting to embrace nationalism – and this book cover exemplifies the new found confidence in our own flora and fauna – albeit with the startling idea that Tommy RODE an emu!

I have quite a collection of children’s readers- mostly due to pure nostalgia- these are the ones printed in the 50s through 70s that I read as a child. So when I came across this tome, written in 1925 – I had to collect it too. The book is in good vintage condition, and is still marked with the 1 shilling [1/-] price on the front!

It’s now for sale: $AU25

Buy Now

70s inventory stamp

Zest inventory stampZest inventory stamp
made in Australia 1970s

This is a steel inventory stamp – it has five rubber wheels that run from 0-10, with the addition of $, c, ½, /. Each wheel can be moved independently so you can set the numbering sequence or monetary value required. [½ c! imagine when that was a possibility someone needed to stamp!]

You can stamp sequentially, or lock the stamp to create the same five digit [or symbol] sequence. This is old skool analogue technology – but how cool are those slightly mis-matched inked numbers?

And- I ask you- who doesn’t like to stamp?

The ink pad shown is for styling purposes only- it is of the same era as the stamp, so has run dry [although never opened.] Fortunately ink pads- in a myriad of ink colours- are still available to buy.

The stamp is made from heavy grade steel and so will be good for stamping into the next century, after coming from the last. It’s had little wear and most of the rubber wheels have not been used.

The Zest stamp is for sale: $35 [provide your own ink pad]

Buy Now