Xylonite collection #2

Australian xylonite
made in 1910-1920s

Following my last post where the origin of xylonite was [briefly] explained : here’s my second collection.

Here we see hinged boxes: the top, ‘piano’ box would have housed jewellery, as would the lower two boxes [the ring box still contains it’s beige velvet interior and closing mechanism.]

The brush and penknife have jumped in from the last post; but are now shown with a cut-throat razor and hand-held mirror.

As noted in the last post, xylonite deteriorates with time and exposure to direct sunlight. These pieces are in fantastic condition for their age [and careful storage away from the Australian sun.] The piano box is particularly pristine.

This set is for sale: $AU275

Buy Now

Xylonite collection #1

Australian Xylonite 1910-1930sXylonite collection
made in Australia 1910-1920s

Xylonite was first produced in 1875 – to imitate ivory. It was the first thermoplastic made – as an ivory substitute it was first used for knife handles and jewellery, then all manner of domestic products. Xylonite has tiny parallel striations of yellow and bone- which gives it a faux ivory look- although, interestingly- this was an accident. The manufacturers were attempting to create a timber-look-alike, so named the new celluloid product xylonite – ‘xylon’ being Greek for wood.

Whatever, the production of xylonite saved much real ivory being used. I first became interested in xylonite when I was researching bakelite [after first becoming interested in resin.] So I now have an abiding interest/affection for all types of vintage plastics.

This set of xylonite illustrates how- over time [and exposure to direct sunlight] the normally off-white plastic colour starts to yellow. And this is in excellent condition!- it is of course a hundred years old. The set comprises four lidded ladies boudoir containers, a boudoir tray, hair brush and pen knife and a gentleman’s stud container sans lid.

For the Xylonite collectors, this set is for sale: $AU325

Buy Now

20s toast racks

20s silver plated toast racks
made in England

A lovely pair of silver plated toast racks- great for toast [obviously] but they also make terrific letter/card holders. Some people still get snail-mail, right? Even bills look great in these beauties!

The rack on the left is in fine fettle- silver plate intact; the second is down to the base metal. Both exhibit fine 20s shapes and handles, and have their silver plate hallmarks. The repetition of the racks is beautiful, and the two of the racks together makes a lovely ensemble.

Currently these do service for my partner and I – hers is of course the full plate rack; it houses mail, protest march pamphlets and tradesman business cards, whilst mine [the humbler of the two] houses bills, trades magazines and council newsletters. And the odd vintage book or picture to keep things interesting.

I once saw a BBC ‘Antiques Roadshow’ program which featured a toast rack collector. She said they were cheap, small, easy to display and came in infinite varieties. Here’s to you – toast rack collector!

The two racks are for sale: $AU45 / $AU20 [or $AU55 for the two- I don’t think I can bear for them to be parted.]

Buy Now

Art Deco candle holder

Art Deco candle holderArt Deco candle holder
made in Australia c.1920s

Here we have a delightful candle holder made in the 1920s. It came from an Estate sale where I met and got chatting to the grand-daughter of the original owner. She knew the candle holder was from the 20s because her grandmother had talked with much affection about its purchase- and long use since then.

The candle holder is unmarked- not uncommon for pottery pieces produced just after the war- but the green glaze and the stylistic influences are classic Art Deco. As is the integral handle- made from the upsweep of the base- all very modern in the 20s and anticipating the modernism of the 50s.

I have teamed the candle holder with a pair of 20s cast iron kookaburras from my partner’s collection [you will recall she is exceptionally fond of kookaburras.] Although they are of the same era, the kookaburras look crude next to the sleek modernism of the candle holder.

The candle holder has some crazing to the glaze at the top [click on the image for a zoomed view]- but that is to be expected from something nearly 100 years old. Other than that it’s in good nick and is for sale : $AUD75

Buy Now

20s toast rack

Manto Ware toast racksManto Ware toast racks
made in Japan 1920s

At the turn of the century, Manto Ware pottery started producing work that mimicked Royal Winton; here we have an example- very English looking toast racks, textured ceramic for a ‘naturalistic’ look and topped by an acorn. These were made for the export market- for Australia and New Zealand- markets that wanted Royal Winton but couldn’t afford the price- or the time- for the products to arrive. Manto Ware stepped in to fill the breach.

It’s rare to find a pair of anything vintage these days- and indeed- I collected these two toast racks separately. But they make a fine pair, and –as attested by Etsy and Pinterest- toast racks are very collectible and are eminently repurposeable. I use mine as a vintage letter/business card holder. [Or, you know, you can use them for toast.]

Silver plate toast racks are good too- see my recent post of a 1920s EPSN toast rack.

The toast racks are for sale: $AUD45

Buy Now

20s Mickey Mouse [sold]

Mickey Mouse brush holder
made in Japan, 1920s

You can date Mickey Mouse by his eyes: here 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 lovely ceramic Mickey is from the 20s- he is pie-eyed, hand-coloured and has a little box on his back to take a brush. [I whacked a flower in there; I like the way it looks like he is looking at it.]

I didn’t set out to collect Mickey Mouse – he is uber collectable – but seem now to have pieces from across the decades: a squeaky toy [made in England, 1950s] – a hand puppet [made in Korea, 1960s] and a Disney clock [made in Germany, 1970s.]

This 20s Mickey is for sale: $AU45

Bakewells tea canister

Bakewells tea canister
made in Australia 1925-1935

This fabulous ceramic kitchen canister is called ‘Beulah Ware’- named for Bakewell’s wife, Beulah. The fantastic ‘tea’ font and decoration is all art deco.

Bakewells started production in 1884 and like so many potteries, moved from making bricks and pipes to domestic wares in the early part of the twentieth century. By the 1920s, they were manufacturing vases [‘exclusive ware’] and domestic ware [kitchenalia, including canisters.]

The earthernware canisters came in a set of five: Flour, Sugar, Rice, Tea and the smallest, Sago. A full set of canisters is next to impossible for find now – and originally, they came in this pastel green, a pastel yellow and a baby blue.

You may remember that I found the ‘Flour’ canister, sans lid- and now use it as a vase [see post, below.] And that just recently I posted a set of matching graduated jugs- same hand-coloured green glaze and with the same art deco styling.

The tea canister is in fantastic vintage condition, and is for sale: $AU65

Buy Now

1920s cobblers last

Cobblers lastCast-iron shoe last
made in Australia c.1920s

This is a ‘dual’ cast-iron cobblers shoe last- there are two different shapes on which to stretch and shape leather to make shoes. Cast-iron was used as it maintains its shape when in contact with wet leather and the mechanical stresses of stretching and shaping shoes.

Nowadays these heavy items are used as book ends, door stops or simply as decorative industrial forms.

There is something very satisfying about repurposing an industrial antique- giving it a new purpose and lease of life- and the functional design of the last means it is stable either end up.

The cobblers last is for sale: $AUD45

Buy Now

Art deco Pierrots

Art deco pierrots from the 20sSitzendorf Pierrot pipe rest dish, made in Germany 1910-1920
Klimax Pierrot ceramic citrus juicer, made in Japan, 1920s

Here we have two Pierrots- one from Germany, the other from Japan, but both hailing from the 20s. The Sitzendorf porcelain pipe-rest dish has Pierrot reading a newspaper, as you do. Sitzendorf began porcelain production in 1760 and continues today; this dish has the double-crossed ‘S’ crown logo on the base, and is impressed with the no: 25044. Sitzendorf [or to give it its full title: Sitzendorf Porzellankfabrik Gebruder, Voight, AG] is now highly collectible.

Next to the paper reading Pierrot is a citrus juicer- sadly missing its jug. Perhaps you have the jug? – It was made in a simple lemon or orange shape, with appropriate colouring. This Pierrot is handpainted, and is impressed with a ‘K’ on the base- encased in a circle of tiny dots. Klimax, a porcelain factory in Japan, is most well-known for its handpainted Samurai and Geisha tea sets, and lustreware. Despite missing its jug, the juicer is still quite functional and the two Pierrots together make for a nice art deco ensemble.

The Pierrots are for sale: $AU75 [Sitzendorf] and $AU55 [Klimax]

Buy Now

1925 children’s reader

Tommy's Ride on the Emu, 19251925 children’s reader
published in Melbourne, Australia

Tommy’s Ride on the Emu, written by J.A. Fletcher, is for children 8-9 years old. It’s number 311 in the Whitcombe’s Story Book series.

It is illustrated by ‘Prae’, which shorthand for Hans G. Praetorius. I haven’t read the story- I bought the book for that fantastic cover illustration. In the twenties, Australian’s were just starting to embrace nationalism – and this book cover exemplifies the new found confidence in our own flora and fauna – albeit with the startling idea that Tommy RODE an emu!

I have quite a collection of children’s readers- mostly due to pure nostalgia- these are the ones printed in the 50s through 70s that I read as a child. So when I came across this tome, written in 1925 – I had to collect it too. The book is in good vintage condition, and is still marked with the 1 shilling [1/-] price on the front!

It’s now for sale: $AU25

Buy Now