#70sstyle

Bessemer platter, made in Australia 1970s
Vogue jugs, made in Australia 1970s

I have posted 70s melamine ware previously- I am drawn to the colours and forms of these beautifully designed pieces.  I collect two Australian manufacturers- Bessemer and Vogue.

Bessemer products – made from melamine – were made by the Nylex Melmac Corporation which started production in the mid 60s. This beautiful platter [and the subject of previous posts, I have collected a lot of Bessemer!] was 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 tableware made from plastic [melamine] was thought to be worthy of design – with an illustrative art statement. The platter certainly pays homage to late mid-century modernist design in its colours and abstract forms.

Bessemer is now quite collectable: I have seen some incredible prices on items in ‘antique’ shops. I’m not sure I can come at the idea of retro collectables being antiques, but clearly others can. Bessemer rates a mention in Adrian Franklin’s Retro: A Guide to the mid-20th Century Design Revival [2011, NewSouth Publishing.]

While Bessemer led the way, employing an industrial designer to design tableware, Vogue followed suit. ‘Vogue Australia’ is imprinted on the bottom of these jugs; since the manufacturer name Vogue was also used in North America, at about the same time.

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

The platter and jugs are for sale: $AU45
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Bakelite perfume-holder

Bourjois bakelite owl perfume-holder
made in England, 1930s

I am very interested in bakelite, as you know: and blue bakelite is the rarest. I came across this owl-shaped perfume holder, and though it is a little time-worn, I had to have him.

The owl was made to open at the back to take a bottle of ‘Evening in Paris’ perfume. He would have been in every elegant ladies bag in the 30s. It’s made of ‘marbleised’ bakelite : and when you open it you can see the colour of the original [now eighty-year old] bakelite. But his eyes, hinges and feathery detail are all still intact.

The inscription on the back reads: ‘Bourjois, London-Paris, Reg No 825,003, Made in England’. I love the idea of a perfume-holder; no-one uses them these days. You are considered sophisticated if you walk around with perfume in your backpack. This owl harks back to the 30s- and days of glamour!

I’ve teamed the bakelite owl with a plastic telephone toy from the 50s. I kinda like the disparaging look on the owl’s face…

The bakelite perfume-holder is for sale: $AU40

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Bakelite inkstand

Velos Classic Inkstand,
made in England, 1930s

Here we have a bakelite inkstand: the two quill-holders swivel to accept a pen from multiple directions, and the stand has numerous cavities for ink bottles, pens and the like.

On the base, the relief bakelite stamp assures us that this is a ‘Classic’ inkstand, model no: 1270, made in England. Just in case you thought it might be of the un-classic variety.

I have of course stuffed flowers into the quill holders- for artistic purposes, you understand; but the whole thing is in excellent condition. I did give it a bit of a buff with Greys Paste No. 9- and the top bakelite surface came up a treat [and matched the underside, which has never seen the light of day.]

For bakelite, and inkstand collectors, this is a lovely piece of history. It is for sale: $AU75

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create-a-kit

Torro create-a-kit,
made in New Zealand 1960s

Here’s New Zealand’s answer to lego : create-a-kit. It’s new in box, never opened, with instructions for making houses, and robots, windmills and the like. It was made by Torro [Toys of Tomorrow!]

I like the images and font on the box, as much as the idea of making a primary coloured house of the 60s [the instruction images are hilarious – so retro!] I had a quick check to see all the pieces are still inside – and some of the bricks are still connected to the manufacturers frame.

The create-a-kit is for sale: $AU65

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70s Australiana

Crystal Craft trivet, made in Australia 1970s
Wiltshire ‘Vogue’ cutlery, made in Australia 1970s

Crystal Craft has become uber trendy for collectors: it is a resin-covered fabric that originated in Queensland in the 70s. This is a super 70s trivet- just look at the forms and colours! And it is great that the piece has it’s original sticker on the base.

The ‘Vogue’ cutlery was designed for Wiltshire by Stuart Devlin- famous for his other work designing the images on Australian coins [all native fauna & flora.] This was his day job – but once those coins were minted I think he gave up his day job! The cutlery are ‘new in box’ never opened or used, and in great condition.

I styled these two items together – I love the 70s colours! – but am happy to sell them separately: $AU35 each.

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60s moneyboxes

60s moneyboxes
made in Australia

A collection of unused – as new – money boxes from the 60s; from banks now long gone.

The elephant money box is Bank Commonwealth [now, after many reiterations- the Commonwealth Bank] – it had the motto ‘get with the strength” [and hence, the elephant.]

Donald Duck is from The Wales Bank of NSW Savings Bank Ltd- and after that crazy, convoluted name, it’s no wonder they choose a Disney icon for their money box.

Wonderfully, both money boxes instruct the saver to take the box “when full to have money credited to their account – and – receive a new moneybox”.

I guess with digital banking nowadays nobody uses cash- let along saves it in a moneybox. Except for moneybox collectors – they will love these! [I have others on my site…search blog posts below.]

The 6 [new] moneyboxes are for sale: $AU60

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Retro Ice buckets

Ice bucket collection

I collected these ice buckets because I loved the idea of using them with the bakelite blender [the ‘Vitamizer’, posted below] at cocktail parties. I am very partial to a martini, which while not strictly needing a blender, does require the service of an ice bucket. The blender was good for making frozen daiquiris, which my guests favoured. Either way – an ice bucket was totally necessary, and who wants to use a modern one?

I have ended up with a few ice buckets…and in researching these, I found quite a few avid collectors out there. People collect ice buckets. And why not- they look fantastic displayed together [and they’re good for storing ice…amongst other things…]

The bucket to the left in the image is made from Scandinavian teak, and has matching tongs.  The red plastic bucket has a brass handle, and has matching tongs. The only ice bucket with any branding – the Dia Ice Pail, made by Dia Vacuum bottle Industries Co. Ltd, is anodised aluminium and steel [with a ‘vacuum’ white plastic interior] and it comes with…you guessed it…matching tongs. Matching tongs are so important at a cocktail party.

For sale: $AUD75

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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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