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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Westclox

Westclox clocks :
‘Big Ben’ made in USA  c.1916
‘Baby Ben’ USA  c.1964
‘America’ USA  c.1932 and
Five Rams clock, made in china c.1970s

All clocks are wind-up, with alarms, in working order. Big Ben is missing a ring on its top, but I think it looks better without it. America is quite rusted, but it being made in the 30s it’s entitled to be. Baby Ben, being of a later vintage, has a funky 60s aesthetic and glow in the dark numbers and hands. Westclox are very collectible, with whole websites devoted to their identification, buying and selling.

Clocks look great massed together – just make sure you have three or more.  For sale: $AUD115

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Westclox

Westclox clocks :
‘Big Ben’ made in USA  c.1916
‘Baby Ben’ USA  c.1964
‘America’ USA  c.1932 and
Five Rams clock, made in china c.1970s

All clocks are wind-up, with alarms, in working order. Big Ben is missing a ring on its top, but I think it looks better without it. America is quite rusted, but it being made in the 30s it’s entitled to be. Baby Ben, being of a later vintage, has a funky 60s aesthetic and glow in the dark numbers and hands. Westclox are very collectible, with whole websites devoted to their identification, buying and selling.

Clocks look great massed together – just make sure you have three or more.  For sale: $AUD115

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Krups kitchen scales

Krups kitchen scales
made in Germany c.1954

I have a rather large collection of retro scales. So far I have posted Australian scales [Salter -50s and Persinware-60s] but the collection also includes these lovely metal German scales. Scales are both functional and beautiful – as long as the measuring bowl is intact [and one must make sure it’s the original bowl as well.]

These scales weigh items up to 25 lbs [approx. 11.5kg] in 2 ounce increments. The scales are completely made of metal- bowl included, and they are original – not reproduction- scales, in that the scale is imperial only. Kitchen scales that feature both imperial and metric scales were made post 1972 and are considered reproduction.

The scales show a little bit of wear and tear from a life of service in a kitchen, but there is no corrosion or deterioration of the material and the weight measure is accurate. As is typical, there is an adjustment knob at the rear to allow one to correct for the weight of the bowl itself.

Four lemons and a lime weight 1lb 7oz. The duck is just along for the ride.  For sale: $AUD75

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Bakelite domestica

Nally blue bakelite tray, made in Sydney, Australia  c.1940s
Dalson Products bakelite retractable washing lines, made in Melbourne, Australia c.1940s

And now for some more bakelite domestica!

This lovely speckled blue and white bakelite tray has distinctive art deco styling, with its embossed sunburst pattern. The speckled form of bakelite was often used with blue pieces- it has been noted previously [see ‘blue bakelite post, below] that blue bakelite is prone to break down to a murky brown colour. One solution was to mix the blue bakelite with another colour- usually a neutral colour- to help disguise any such deterioration.

The tray has performed well at many cocktail soirees, and I can attest to the understated glamour it brings to any occasion.

The three retractable washing lines are also very cute. They were made for the interior hanging of clothes.  Being retractable meant that one could wash and hang clothes on a rainy day, or it was used when travelling. The winding mechanism is working well on all three – and I like that the manufacturer’s name is cast into the contrasting bakelite winding handle. One could certainly use them today – for retro travel in style!

I recently found another retractable clothes line: this one is plastic, later in date, and made in England; coloured beige and green. The mechanism is exactly the same, but the handle has been modified- this is a 50s version. Surely there is a collector of indoor washing lines out there; Washingalia?

For sale: $AUD85

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Bakelite amp meter [sold]

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

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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50s Australian glassware

Australian glassware, 1950sAustralian glassware
made in 1950s

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

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Mickey Mouse alarm clock

Walt Disney Productions Mickey Mouse Clock, 1970sAvronel 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.]

The clock is for sale: $AU75

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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