An ode to 70s design

Fred Press cheeseboard & Bessemer piecesFred Press, American artist
Lionel Suttie, Australian industrial designer

Fred Press was an American artist, and from 1950 to the 1980s was the chief designer of Rubel & Co on NY’s Fifth Avenue. He set out to revolutionise giftware, bringing his artistic sensibilities to domestic ware. Here we see a cheese/fruit board, in the shape of an apple, with one of his iconic drawings reproduced on the ceramic tile. The tile itself was made in Japan and is set in American teak, and it is signed Fred Press.

Lionel Suttie was an Australian industrial designer, bought in to Bessemer to revolutionise the design of utility ware– butter dishes, sugar bowls and table ware. This was the first time mass produced melamine products were thought worthy of design – or that they could make could make a design statement. In this image- a russet brown lidded condiment bowl, an avocado cup and saucer and a yellow sugar bowl.

Altogether a fine homage to the 70s -and- 70s designers.

This set is for sale: $AUD105

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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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Red bakelite s&p

Bakelite salt and pepper shakers
made by Marquis, Nally, Eon in Australia, c.1940s

I have previously posted bakelite salt and pepper shakers – twice- first in a grouping of green examples and then in a grouping of multi-coloured examples. Here we have a collection of red s&p. They were made to be included in the picnic basket- an everyday object made in a newly-developed plastic- that wouldn’t break in the great outdoors.

I am very fond of the ingenious design of the first two shakers – the top and bottom separate to reveal the two shakers; and you can see that the screw-on bases were often different coloured bakelite. These shakers were made by Marquis; and are impressed with ‘cat 729’.

The next pair of shakers were made by Nally: they are quite distinctive with black bakelite screw lids; and the last set of shakers- although not marked, are by Eon.

For bakelite collectors, and salt and pepper shaker collectors- you know who you are!

For sale: $AUD115

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70s goodness

Caroma mirror [70s]Caroma bathroom mirror
made in Australia 1970s

Does anything say 1970s like this tan-coloured mirror? With a wall mount, and a circle mirror [scale 1:1] AND flipping over a squircle mirror [scale 1:4] for makeup or shaving.

Squircle of course meaning ‘squared circle’ – this is a quintessential 70s object.

Never been used and ready for your 70s renovation. I know that you all have this going on- 70s rules!

The Caroma mirror is for sale: $AU55
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Mickey & Minnie Mouse

Minnie Mouse puppet & Mickey Mouse squeaky toyMinnie Mouse hand puppet, made in Korea 1960s
Mickie Mouse squeaky toy, made in England 1950s

Minnie Mouse hand puppet, made by Walt Disney Productions, Ohio and Mickey Mouse squeaky toy, made by Combex in England [#1499.]

Mickey and Minnie Mouse are still quite collectable, with many fan sites devoted to their collection. I have previously posted a very early Mickey Mouse- ceramic napkin ring, made in the 30s, and an alarm clock from the 60s. These four comprise all the Mickey Mouse memorabilia I have collected- and are a testament to how rare the items are now.

Minnie and Mickey are for sale: $AUD55

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60s goodness

Pyrex 'Sunburst' flask, Bessemer printed plate, 60sBessemer plate, made in Australia 1965-70
Pyrex ‘Sunburst’ flask jug, made in USA 1960s

This is Pyrex at its best- a jug modelled on a laboratory flask with an ‘atomic’ sunburst pattern in gold. The stopper is graduated plastic, in good old yellow plastic. The jug has a pouring lip, two litre capacity and being Pyrex, is good for hot and cold liquids. Pyrex is very collectible – and the jug is in excellent condition. And –it makes a terrific vase when it’s not serving hot and cold liquids.

The Bessemer plate is likewise very collectable. It is one of a series of six, designed by A. Wiederkehr – and is culturalyl important enough to be in the Powerhouse Museum collection. I would have loved to have collected all six- but alas- after so long hunting I have only found this one ‘in the wild’ [as collectors say.] I have found plenty of plates, of all the patterns – but they are invariably so scratched from use that I rejected purchasing.

If you are a Pyrex collector [and there are quite a few!] or a Bessemer collector, please check out the other items on my blog. I am a big fan of early 60s industrial designers – and Pyrex and Bessemer tick all the boxes!

The flask and plate are in excellent vintage condition, and are for sale: $AU45

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#60sstyle

60s style: kiwi, moneybox, inkwellCrystal Craft kiwi, made in New Zealand 1960s
State Bank money box, made in Australia 1960s
Glass inkwell, made in England 1960s.

60s- style from around the world.

The Kiwi is made by Crystal Craft, and features marine opal and brass legs & beak – the makers sticker in-tact on the back; the State Bank money box is metal and exhibits the logo of the 60s [founded in 1933 as the Rural Bank, the State Bank became the Commonwealth Bank in 2000.] The glass inkwell is an import from England, maker unknown.

All different items, made from different materials, and hailing from different countries but unified by date [and collectability] – and what a nice little tableau they make!

Crystal Craft has become uber collectable; money-box collectors are legend; and there is a society of inkwell fanciers.

All are for sale at $AU15 each, or $AU35 the lot.

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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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Koala canisters

Kraft koala canistersKraft koala canisters
made in Australia 1980s

More glass kitchen canisters! These are made by Kraft, and are in the shape of koalas. Originally sold with Vegemite or Peanut Butter, the form of the koala is much more apparently when the glass is filled with any kitchen food stuff [lentils spring to mind- only because they seem so hipsterish- as two of the koalas – with the red lids- are knitting.]

These canisters were made in the 80s; they have plastic lids [which are still air-tight and good for storing stuff]; canisters made in the 60s and early 70s had metal lids which weren’t so practical for re-use. Like the canisters below, the lids came in all manner of colours to make it easy to tell the jars apart. And they came in two sizes: as here, where we have one smaller size and two of the larger size.

The set of three canisters are for sale: $AU75

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Glass kitchen canisters

Glass kitchen canisters 1950sGlass kitchen canisters
made in Australia 1950s

Here is a selection of some of the glass kitchen canisters that I have collected for use in my kitchen: these are the ‘spares’. The thick, square glass canisters were originally filled with nuts or sugared almonds, and sold at Christmas time in the 50s and 60s. The plastic lids come in all manner of colours, and are still good and air-tight. So beautiful and functional!

I like that you can see how much sugar/flour/tea is left in the glass canisters, and now I associate red with ‘lentils’, blue with ‘couscous’, and green with ‘green tea’. This colour coding is a great idea!

I also have a selection of glass canisters with black bakelite lids- these only seemed to come in black- and they date earlier, probably the 40s.

The canisters are for sale: $AU20 [coloured plastic lids] and $AU30 [black bakelite lids.]