Electronic calculator

Sharp electronic calculator,
made in Japan 1977

An electronic calculator, I hear you say! Ten digit with VFD? Yes- VFD [vacuum fluorescent display.] [Ok, I had to look it up.] But ten digits! In bright green fluro display.

This is the Compet, CS-1109A electronic calculator, made in 1977. With absolutely fantastic 70s styling – including the key fonts and colours. I love everything about this calculator!

Check out www.vintagecalculators.com and read about their take on the ol’ CS-1109A. And also Ebay has a vintage calculator category. Vintage calculators!

The vintage electronic calculator is in great condition, and could be yours for $AU85

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Arabia ‘Kosmos’

Arabia ‘Kosmos’ espresso cups
made in Finland, 1962-1976

Arabia is so collectable at the moment! These are ‘Kosmos’ espresso cups & saucers, designed by Gunvor Olin Gronqvist [or GOG as noted on the backstamp!] in the early 60s.

Kosmos came in brown, blue, and olive [as with this set.] The cups are marked ‘66’ and the saucers ‘69’, which are the catologue numbers rather than the date. It’s interesting to note that Kosmos was the first ceramic set to introduce espresso cups – previously only coffee and tea cups were produced. Perhaps there was something in 1962 that influenced Finnish people to embrace the espresso?

The espresso cups and saucers and in great vintage condition, and ready for use. They are for sale: $AU55/pair.

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Penny Inkwells

Penny inkwells,
made in Victoria, Australia 1880-1910

This is a collection of ‘penny’ inkwells; there are ceramic and so-called because they were cheaply made bottles that cost a penny to buy. They were crudely made and one of the first ‘disposables’- they were simply thrown out when they were empty. So this little collection is quite rare: most penny inkwells that survived the nineteenth century are chipped or broken.

The ceramic is stoneware with a salt glaze. Each inkwell is a different colour, depending on the mix of the original clay colour and the finished glaze: they range from a light tan to a deep russet brown. No two the same!

Most penny inkwells were used by school children; but would occasionally also be bought to be used in homes. There are many websites devoted to the collection of inkwells, and Ebay has a section for ‘collectable inkwells and ink pots’. Single penny inkwells in good condition are selling for around $45.

The collection of 8 penny inkwells is in excellent vintage condition, and is for sale: POA

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#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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!!Cuban Fantasy!!

Midwinter Modern ‘Cuban Fantasy’ plate
made in England 1957

Cuban Fantasy! the name given to this fantastic 50s ‘atomic’ design plate says it all.

The plate was designed by Midwinter’s in-house designer, Jessie Tait [b. 1928]- who also designed ‘Cannes’, ‘Bali Hai’, ‘Tonga’ and ‘Patio Hollywood’. Clearly she had a taste for the exotic!

The divided plate has a “permanent underglaze colour, acid resistant, hand engraving” as it attests on the backstamp.  The Cuban Fantasy pattern also came in a vase, cup & saucer set, condiment jar, and a cake plate.

Midwinter pottery is having a renaissance at the moment – collectors are going mad for it. I’ve seen this plate on Ebay for $75. For you, dear reader, the plate [which is in excellent vintage condition] is :$AU55

I’ve teamed the Cuban Fantasy with a Debonair camera from the same period- as are the Observer books. The camera and books are available for sale also on the blog.

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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Bakewells jugs

Bakewells graduated jugs
made in Australia 1930s

Bakewells started production in 1884 and like so many potteries, moved away from making industrial ceramic products -like bricks and pipes- to domestic wares in the early part of the twentieth century. By the early 30s Bakewells was making pudding bowls and graduated jugs in multi colours-  all to meet the insatiable demand of the new middle class. Bakewells is now very well known and very collectible.

This is an image from my own kitchen [and kitchenalia collection]- but I draw your attention to the Bakewells graduated jugs in green on the top shelf. I have just recently added to this collection – and find I have no more room to display it: so for sale are three green graduated jugs: similar to the first three of the four jug set seen here. You only need find the fourth- smallest- to create a set.

The jugs, being made in the 30s, have art deco flourishes: the shape, handle and applied decoration are all deco inspired. And the jugs are functional, as well as beautiful: we use ours to serve sauces and gravies [especially if we make art deco gravies. Only kidding- that sounds horrible!]

The three green graduated jugs are in excellent vintage condition, and are for sale: $AU95

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70s goblets

Diana ‘Safari’ goblets
made in Australia 1970s

My regular readers know how much I love Diana pottery- made in a pottery near where I now live, in Marrickville, Sydney from 1940 to 1975. I especially love the 40s and 50s pottery…and until recently have not so much enjoyed the 70s [having actually lived through it in Australia– it was rough.]

BUT now I have a photographer son- who takes all my images- and he totally embraces the 70s. Where I see brutalist brutalism, he sees a weird, fresh take on colour and form.

I have not- I note- seen him embrace my love of the 40s and 50s. I have tried. Lord knows. Parental responsibility is taken seriously. But- no dice. Clearly, we can only embrace that which we have not personally lived through. Until… we see it through fresh eyes.

For Diana ‘Safari’ aficionados- I have other pieces available on the blog. And- the goblets are for sale: $AU25.  They are in great vintage condition.
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Hanstan coffee pot

Hanstan coffee pot & mugs
made in Australia, 1970s

Hanstan pottery was a collaboration between Hans Wright and Stan Burrage – hence Hanstan- that started in Victoria in 1962. The pottery continued to make domestic ware pottery well into the 1980s. Hanstan collectors will know that the pottery is always two-tone: either matt white and mission brown, or 70s orange and misson brown. The brown part of the pottery is rough glazed to contrast with the smooth slip glaze of the other colour.

The coffee pot, collectors will also know – is now quite rare and hard to find. I have had the mugs and the matching sugar bowl for some time, and the coffee pot, completing the set, has only just been found. All pieces are in excellent vintage condition; the coffee pot is completely unstained and looks like it’s never been used.

I also have examples of Hanstan white/brown pottery- spice jars and a salt pig – elsewhere on this blog.

The Hanstan coffee set is for sale: $AU125

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#30s style

Woods Ivory Ware cup & saucer set
made in England, 1930s

This delightful cup, saucer and cake plate set is Woods Ivory Ware; distinguished by the black and white ‘checkered’ rim. The checked rim, and the abstract flower motif on the pieces are all hand-painted, which means each piece is slightly different.

Woods Ivory Ware [the ‘Ivory’ referring to the pure white of the fine bone china] was made in Burslem in England- where many potteries hail from. The pieces are hand-signed ‘36’ on the back; presumably this was the painter’s number; and the plate is impressed W83 and the cup 126. All pieces are stamped Woods Ivory Ware, England.

The set is in fine vintage condition; ready for tea and cake! It is for sale: $AU55

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