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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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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60s snow domes

60s Sea World snow domesDolphin snow domes
made in Australia 1960s

A pair of novelty snow domes from Sea World, circa 1960. The dome on the left- bizarrely- has dolphins on a see-saw in a [once] snowy blizzard; the dolphins on the right are performing on stage AT Sea World. Ah – the 60s – when souvenirware was cute AND surreal.

Snow dome collecting is now such an established and well-known past time that I thought there might be a special name for such collectors- but alas no. Snow domes have been around since the Eighteenth Century and were originally for advertising; by midcentury they were the well known half dome with snow blizzard and associated with holiday destinations and souvenirware.

Any snow dome collector would love this pair- novelty snow domes are quite sort after – or – start your snow dome collection today!

The dolphin snow domes are for sale: $35

An ode to 70s design

Fred Press cheeseboard & Bessemer piecesAn ode to 70s designers
Fred 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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Eon bakelite cake canisters

Eon bakelite cake canistersEon cake bakelite canisters
made in Australia c.1950s

Eon is a well known Australian bakelite manufacturer of the 40s and 50s- specialising in kitchenware and especially canisters.

These two cake canisters are from different sets, but they were both produced in the 40s and both feature the red and white colourway- so beloved by modernist kitchens of the 50s. Both lids still fit snuggly, thus keeping said cake fresh. And both are unblemished, the bakelite as shiny bright as the day it left the factory.

The red-lidded canister is not labelled, but it’s clearly for cake. The white canister has that typical 50s cursive bakelite label pinned into the side of the canister.

For cake bakers/lovers/consumers and for all your retro kitchen cake needs…these canisters are for sale: $AUD90

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Bakelite roulette wheel

Duperite bakelite roulette wheel, made in Australia c.1950s

How do you combine your love of bakelite with your penchant for gambling? With a bakelite roulette wheel. [Catalogue No. 1324/1, to be precise.] This beautiful roulette wheel hasn’t been out of its box- it is in pristine condition although its box has seen some wear and tear. It comes with a printed green felt baize [not pictured] and a little timber ball ~which was still taped to the wheel when I bought the set.

I have other bakelite items made by Duperite- see ‘Green bakelite pieces’ post below- an Australian bakelite company that made, as well as domesticware, lawn bowls and -apparently- roulette wheels. I must have been the only person who didn’t have one at home as a child…everyone I have shown this roulette wheel to has exclaimed that they remember having one! That might explain  why 1] I am so attracted to it [pure envy] and 2] why it elicits so many nostalgic sighs from my friends.

For sale: $AUD125

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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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70s lucite napkin rings

Guzzini 70s lucite napkin ringsGuzzini Fratelli napkin rings
made in Italy 1970s

70s Lucite napkin rings for your retro table setting. Guzzini have been making tableware items since 1912 and in 1938 started producing items in ‘Plexiglas’- the Italian proprietary name for Lucite [or Perspex as it is known in Australia.] And Guzzini is still producing perspex items today.

These beauties come in their original box and are in great condition. The box has fantastic 70s graphics and the title ‘Allacciatovaglioli’ which roughly translates as napkin ties [‘allaccia’=tie and ‘tovaglioli’= napkin.]

The napkin rings have been photographed with a rather groovy 70s perpetual calendar which has been sold. I am always on the lookout for these calendars- I love them!

The napkin rings are for sale: $AU45

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Red & white bakelite

Australian bakelite spice canistersBakelite spice canisters,
made in Australia 1940s

Here is a collection of red and red & white bakelite spice canisters, all Australian made, in the 1940s.

The front six canisters- two with sprinkle tops, are by Sellex; Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger, Cinnamon, and one [indecipherable] other. The two canisters at the upper left are by Marquis, and the pair of canisters adjacent are by Nally.

All good Australian bakelite canister manufacturers. All the canisters have screw lids – which are all in good order. The labels to the Sellex canisters show vintage wear- after all, they are over 75 years old.

I have a set of matching kitchen canisters by Eon – also red and white- this colour combination is a winner- see posts, below.

The set of ten spice canisters is for sale: $AUD135

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Smiths Ringers

Smiths RingersRetro kitchen timers
Smiths Ringers, made in England, 1940s,1950s, 1960s

Perhaps I should have styled these three ‘ringers’ chronologically- as it is, the green ringer is bakelite and steel, with a glass cover- circa 1940, the middle ringer is the youngest- a mere slip of a thing from the 60s – brown coated metal, and the last, red ringer is all plastic- from the 1950s.

Each ringer is somewhat redolent of its age. I do like the fact that the 60s ringer is called ‘Ringer Girl’- if only the other two had similarly inspired names. All the ringers have different bell sounds- naturally- and due to their age and hard working life, are more suited as objects of beauty, rather than function. The green bakelite is a little faded, the brown metal is a little rusted in parts- as you’d expect from vintage items.

The ‘lemon’ tray lends a stylistic note to the image- but if you’d like to have it along with the ringers- let me know. This set is for sale: $AUD95

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