Carnation champagne flutes

Retro champagne flutes
made in Australia, c.1950s

I’m rather fond of these kitsch decorated champagne flutes – the gilt rim and base helping somewhat to offset the rather garish carnations. The glasses were won in a golf tournament by my partner’s brother- and they had pride of place in the family’s display cabinet for many, many years. I don’t think they were ever used to imbibe champagne…they were considered far too precious. They were for display [and admiration] purposes only.

The set now needs a new home – I’m imagining a nice mid-century modern drinks cabinet…where they can be taken out from time to time to drink champagne. Or beer. Beer would also be good.

For sale: $AUD55

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Aboriginal motif kitsch

50s Aboriginal motif s&p, jugAboriginal motif salt & pepper shaker sets, and small jug
made in Australia c.1950s

While none of these items has a maker’s mark, the salt and pepper shakers at the back are possibly by Terra Ceramics, and the round shakers to the left are possibly Florenz Pottery. The small jug is probably Studio Anna. All these potteries were making tourist and souvenir pottery by the 1950s, and these appropriated [and westernised] indigenous motifs were hugely popular. Post war arts and crafts saw a rise in the popularity of Australiana – replacing traditional English motifs with ‘Australian’ themes; invariably Aboriginal motif works were black, tan and white.

This group works well as a set, or could form the basis of a larger collection. The items on their own are very kitsch…but somehow when grouped the kitschness is subverted into a subtler aesthetic.

This set is for sale: $AU125

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Nally mixing bowls

Nally mixing bowls,
made in Australia, 1940s

I love bakelite and have collected Australian bakelite domestic ware for some time. Nally first started bakelite production in 1923 and was one of the first in Australia to do so. The factory was just up the road from where I now live.

These two mixing bowls – although nested [that is fitting exactly within one another]- were priced and sold separately. Nally’s advertising blurbs of the time made much of the fact that replacement pieces could always be bought, and as the mixing bowls were ‘harlequin’ [ie: different colours] they could be mixed and matched.

As it happens, these two bowls have never been used- testament to this fact is the original sticker in the base of the bowl. The sticker indicates these are ‘Genuine’ Nally bowls [in case you know, you thought they were fakes!]

The mixing bowls have a pouring lip, and came in the usual 40s pastel colours of blue, green, pink, cream and white. These bowls are yellow; and I’ve teamed them with a kewpie doll from the same era.

The bowls are for sale: $AU75

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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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Bakelite napkin rings

Bakelite napkin ringsBakelite napkin rings
made in Sydney, Australia 1950s

This set of harlequin octagonal bakelite napkin rings was made by Marquis in the 50s. Harlequin refers to the different colours [indeed, one of the rings is ‘end-of-day’ bakelite.] End-of-day bakelite was the pattern formed when whatever bits of bakelite where left where thrown together into the mould.

In the 50s everything was ‘harlequin’ – think sets of anodised aluminium beakers. This was actually a clever marking ploy- if you lost/broke one piece of a set, it was easily replaced – since nothing matched by colour, pattern or manufacturer.

Marquis was a huge bakelite manufacturer- they made everything that could be made from bakelite- from kitchen utensils, to light switches, to 35mm slide viewers. Indeed, I seem to have quite a few kitchen scoops, butter dishes, teaspoons, salt and pepper shakers and slide viewers made by Marquis in my collection.

I love the form of these napkin rings: octagonal shape on the outside – so the napkin ring sat easily on a table- but circular inside form – so the napkin could be smoothly set in place. Form and function, people! And just look at those beautiful bakelite colours.

Bakelite continues to be a sought after collectible: and this set of eight napkin rings is for sale: $AUD80

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Retro kitchen appliances

Ice-o-mat, Can-o-mat, Dia ice pailIce-O-Mat, ice-crusher
Can-O-Mat, can-opener
Dia, ice pail.

This collection is perfect for the retro kitchen. Look at all that gleaming chrome!- offset nicely by the clean, smooth white plastic and funky black graphics. It seems that in the 50s ‘O-Mat’ was a shortened form of ‘automatic’.

The Ice-O-Mat is wall-mounted, and one puts ice cubes into the top, turns the handle left or right to produce different sized ice, then squeezes the central knob to open and pour out the crushed ice. A terrific invention! No home should be without one!

The Can-O-Mat is likewise wall-mounted. It’s by Artisocrat, by Monier – so now you can have both ice-crushing and can-opening functions on your kitchen wall. Space-saving and functional…welcome to the space-age!

The Dia ice pail rounds out the collection. It is stainless steel, insulated, and comes with its original ice tongs.

All three pieces are in top-top working order, ready to go to work [or just look fabulous] in your kitchen.    For sale: $AUD85

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Carnation champagne flutes

Retro champagne flutes
made in Australia, c.1950s

I’m rather fond of these kitsch decorated champagne flutes – the gilt rim and base helping somewhat to offset the rather garish carnations. The glasses were won in a golf tournament by my partner’s brother- and they had pride of place in the family’s display cabinet for many, many years. I don’t think they were ever used to imbibe champagne…they were considered far too precious. They were for display [and admiration] purposes only.

The set now needs a new home – I’m imagining a nice mid-century modern drinks cabinet…where they can be taken out from time to time to drink champagne. Or beer. Beer would also be good.

For sale: $AUD55

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Kathie Winkle

Kathie Winkle ‘Calypso’
made by Broadhurst, England 1963

I am a huge Kathie Winkle fan: she produced over one hundred patterns for Broadhurst between 1958 and 1975. During this period, Kathie Winkie produced ironstone china with silkscreen printed decorations, with a hand-painted underglaze.

[So far on my blog: I have examples of: ‘michelle’, ‘calypso’, ‘corinth’, ‘kontiki’, ’newlyn’, ‘rushstone’, ‘electra’, ‘kimberley’, ‘taskent’, and ‘renaissance’.] I am becoming a kathie winkle nerd.

AND- while my family collected the ‘Rushstone’ pattern [c. 1960], my partner’s collected ‘Calypso’- produced in 1963.

So – this is a Calypso collection: a large oval platter, four side plates, four bowls, and four condiment bowls. Don’t you love how the condiment bowls extracted the dominant motif from the main design? These are probably my favourite part of the collection.

The Calypso collection is for sale: $AU220/ [13 pieces]

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Bakelite napkin rings

Bakelite napkin ringsBakelite napkin rings
made in Sydney, Australia 1950s

This set of harlequin octagonal bakelite napkin rings was made by Marquis in the 50s. Harlequin refers to the different colours [indeed, one of the rings is ‘end-of-day’ bakelite.] End-of-day bakelite was the pattern formed when whatever bits of bakelite where left where thrown together into the mould.

In the 50s everything was ‘harlequin’ – think sets of anodised aluminium beakers. This was actually a clever marking ploy- if you lost/broke one piece of a set, it was easily replaced – since nothing matched by colour, pattern or manufacturer.

Marquis was a huge bakelite manufacturer- they made everything that could be made from bakelite- from kitchen utensils, to light switches, to 35mm slide viewers. Indeed, I seem to have quite a few kitchen scoops, butter dishes, teaspoons, salt and pepper shakers and slide viewers made by Marquis in my collection.

I love the form of these napkin rings: octagonal shape on the outside – so the napkin ring sat easily on a table- but circular inside form – so the napkin could be smoothly set in place. Form and function, people! And just look at those beautiful bakelite colours.

Bakelite continues to be a sought after collectible: and this set of eight napkin rings is for sale: $AUD80

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Bessemer jugs

Bessemer jugs
made in Melbourne, c. 1970s

Bessemer products – made from melamine – were made by the Nylex Melmac Corporation which started production in the mid 60s. These beautiful jugs [and the subject of future posts, I have collected a lot of Bessemer!] were designed by Lionel Suttie, an industrial designer.

It’s interesting that Mr Suttie is remembered as Bessemer’s lead designer: this was the first time that condiment or tableware made from plastic [melamine] was thought to be worthy of design – that the humble mass-produced plastic jug or butter dish could make a design statement. These jugs certainly do that- they pay homage to mid-century modernist design and in the colouring, homage to the 70s.

The jugs can be used as intended- melamine is a strong plastic resistant to scratching and these jugs are ‘as new’ – or they can form part of a funky 70s display.

For sale: $AUD60

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