Bakelite amp meter,
Lamb sugar-figurine, made in Australia 1950s
I love bakelite, as you know, and I love scientific/measuring instruments. So this gauge [which measures amps, and still works] is totally up my alley. I am so pleased that the buyer is giving it to a artist who makes toys out of found objects. Imagine this as part of a toy, where the amp needle moves as the toy moves~ magic!
I have resisted collecting figurines, but you know- this sugar lamb – was kinda irresistible. The ‘sugar’ refers to the rough clay texture which gives the figurine some semblance of realism, and unbeknownst to me, this is highly sought after. This lamb is going to a remote sheep station in Western Australia.
I shall endeavour to buy bakelite gauges and sugar figurines- it’s not just me but you!
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.
I am a huge fan of Australian glassware: and collect it when I can.
Here we have:
tri-pouring graduated ½ pint jug [pours from three sides]
Kodak developing chemical graduated glass
and seven medicine graduated glasses.
All pieces were made rough-and-ready; several have ‘bubbles’ in the glass, and evident seam lines. But no chips or cracks- all these lovely glasses can be used today for their original – or indeed – new purposes.
Because that’s what glass is like. Unlike plastic, it does not allow molecular transfer – so when heated or filled with foodstuffs or chemicals- there is no movement between the two.
And being made in the 50s- all the graduated measurements are imperial; in relief in the glass, or transfer printed. A lovely snap-shot of Australian glassware.
This set of Australian glassware is for sale: $AU95
Avronel Walt Disney Productions alarm clock
made in Germany 1970s
Just when I finished explaining I don’t collect very many Mickey Mouse pieces, I came across this fantastic alarm clock, made by Walt Disney Productions in the 70s. Mickey is depicted in the traditional ‘pie-eyed’ way from the 20s and 30s, rather than the way he was drawn in the 70s. [‘Pie-eyed’ being a circular pupil shape with a pie-shaped cut-out.]
This is a fixed-key wind-up clock with brass feet; and it has a Jerger 90 M10 movement. It originally came in both round and oval shapes- the oval shape being the rarer of the two. Unfortunately there is a section of plastic broken from the rear – not noticeable from the front- but it is a flaw in this otherwise lovely vintage alarm clock. I rarely collect vintage items with flaws, but this clock is so sweet I overlooked it [but it is reflected in the sale price.]
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.
Pyrex Agee ‘Coloured Pyrex’ 3” bowls
made in Australia 1952-1959.
How collectable is Pyrex right now? Crazy collectable, that’s how! I had been quietly collecting the ‘Coloured Pyrex’ series for a while: I like the harlequin colours, the stackability and use in the kitchen. They come in three sizes [3”, 5” and 7”] and six colours. I had an oversupply of green 3” condiment bowls so posted them for sale. They were quite literally- snapped up.
The ‘Agee’ was Pyrex manufactured in Australia. These 3” condiment bowls are stamped “PR 234, Agee Pyrex, Made in Australia” on the base. And that’s another thing to look for: Pyrex colours that have deteriorated after being in a dishwasher- or a Pyrex bowl that has done heavy duty and has colour worn from the base. The interior of the Agee is glass; the colour is applied to the exterior, so it’s food grade – and so if any wear happens, it happens to the exterior base.
These beauties are in excellent condition, with no wear. And a fantastic green to boot.
This set of 3 green condiment bowls sold for $AU25
Adler & 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, 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]
I have seen vintage trophies repurposed as business card holders: and so decided to collect them.
Here we have, from left to right:
A silver plate cup, with no inscription; on a Marquis bakelite base.
A silver plate cup inscribed: “Presented to V. Kane, Fairest Player on and off field, 1956” on a Marquis bakelite base.
A hallmarked silver cup inscribed: “Selangor Golf Club Services Trophy 1958, Winners D.C. Hurst & L.M. Riedel” on a bakelite base.
Of course, once you’ve figured out that a trophy is great as a repurposed card holder, you can think of many great repurposing ideas. Drinking champagne comes to mind.
A birthday gift, because my family know I love old instruments, bakelite knobs and original leather cases. Oh JOY! This Voltmeter has it all. It even has its original leads for – you know- voltage testing. I’ll be doing some fine voltage testing, let me tell you.
Old scientific instruments were not designed to be beautiful- just functional. But somehow the very precision with which they were made lends them a wonderful beauty. This piece adds serious industrial cred to my entrance hall. I notice that children when they visit are drawn to it – to play with the knobs [as I do myself. Seriously good fun.]
The Voltmeter is not for sale: I include it here to encourage the collection of these fabulous old instruments – now getting harder to find, they are becoming collectable due to rarity.
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!