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

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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

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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

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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]

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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

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Bonzo!

Bonzo napkin ring, 1920sAlbert Namatjira Mt. Giles print, Miniature Framing Company, 1950s, made in Australia
Bonzo napkin ring, 1920s, made in Japan

An unusual pairing- I know. But these two pieces are quite iconoclastic in their own way.

Bonzo the dog was the first cartoon character created in England, by George Studdy in 1922. Bonzo has been reproduced in a myriad ways since- and this early napkin ring is now highly sought after

Albert Namatjira [1902-1959] was born near Alice Springs, and died aged only 57, at Alice Springs. Namatjira was a pioneer of contemporary Indigenous Australian art;  his watercolours of outback desert landscapes departed from the highly symbolic style of traditional Aboriginal art incorporating incredibly vivid colours in an overtly ‘Western’ style.

Both Bonzo and Namatjira have been in and out of fashion and are both back IN again in a huge way. So much so that my landscape drawing studio is full of framed Namatjira prints and I am always on the hunt for any more Bonzo pieces.

The napkin ring is for sale: POA

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Cast-iron shoe last

Cast iron shoe last [1920s]Cast-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.

Pictured here with a pineapple- the shoe last lends gravitas to anything!

The cobblers last is for sale: $AUD45

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Bonzo- part ii

Bonzo tin, 1930sBonzo tin
made in England, 1930s

Bonzo the dog was the first cartoon character created in England, by George Studdy in 1922. Bonzo has been reproduced in a myriad ways since those early comic books- from figurines to kitchenalia and of course, in tin. You might be familiar with the very popular salt and pepper shakers, which have “I’m Salt” and “I’m Pepper’ emblazoned on two upright Bonzos. Bonzo paraphernalia has been in and out of fashion since the 20s – and I’m pleased to say he is coming back in again.

I have researched this Bonzo tin – it is unmarked- but have been unsuccessful in ascertaining the maker. I do know from other collectors that this is a Bonzo trinket tin [rather than, say, a sweets tin] made in the 30s. It has a little wear to the hand-painted finish and some rust but is still air-tight for the keeping of trinkets.

I also have a Bonzo napkin ring [see post below.] So now I have two Bonzo pieces a fledgling Bonzo collection has started. Not that I need another collection – it’s just those kitschy large eyes on the very 20s-looking dog that gets me in.

Back to [old] skool

Retro briefcase & vintage calculatorsBriefcase made in Sydney, Australia 1950s
Magic Brain Computer, pocket calculator made in Japan 1950s
Addiator, pocket calculator made in Germany 1920s

OK folks, it’s back to school – retro-style. Here is a vintage Australian briefcase and two vintage pocket calculators. The briefcase was made by Consolidated Plastics Industries; it has three internal concertina partitions, and steel locks, rivets and corner bracings. All in good order; the locks work—there are a series of three slots so as the briefcase became fuller, a new lock might be used.

The first calculator is the MBC- Magic Brain Computer [an oxymoron if ever there was one.] It has been sold – so it exists here now only as an image. The second- the Addiator- is German, made in the 20s and calculates sterling currency.

The front of the Addiator is for addition, the back for subtraction. The Addiator comes in its original leather case, has its stylus intact [for pulling all those little boxes around] – and glory be! still has its instructions. Which are kinda necessary in this day of digital fru-fru; who around would know how to use this wacky machine?

www.vintage.calculators.com is a fantastic reference: people collect vintage calculators. I’m drawn to them because they are beautiful AND functional.

The briefcase and the Addiator are for sale separately: the briefcase is $AUD75 and the Addiator is $AUD125; or – go old skool and buy them together for: $AUD175

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