This is a set of six pairs of earrings- all screw-on or clip-ons. I started collecting 50s jewellery in the 80s- I would wear them with my op-shop bought clothes to university. The 80s was a time that fashion forgot – and although I was wearing ‘old’ stuff- at least it was well designed and didn’t sport leopard print or that horrible olive/gold colour scheme.
Now 50s clothes and jewellery is very collectible. These earrings are beautifully designed and made and stand up well against modern costume jewellery. There’s a colour / diamante to suit every outfit!
Viewmaster Junior Projector
made in Portland, Oregon 1957
The first Viewmaster was made in the 1930s by William Gruber, who was fascinated with Nineteenth Century stereoscopes. He partnered with Sawyers Co. to produce viewers which debuted at the 1939 World’s Fair.
This ‘Junior’ projector was made in 1957 – at the same time all the classic bakelite hand-held Viewmasters were made. These were called the Model C Viewer and were made from 1946-1955. But while the hand-helds view reels in stereoscope, this projector- using the same reels- projects in monoscope. The projector is cast metal and bakelite, and has a similar level mechanism to advance the reels as the hand-helds, and all reels made are compatible. The projector comes in its original box, which is in good vintage condition.
Along with this fantastic junior ‘toy’ [every child in the 50s wanted one!] come a great range of original 50s reels. The range from Australia themes [“5010 The Great Barrier Reef”, “5121 Adelaide & Vicinity”] to American themes [“291 California Wild Flowers”, “157 New York City”] and for some odd reason, a single Movie Star themed: “Gene Autry and his wonder horse Champion”. That’s a real corker!
The Junior Projector is for sale: $AU120. For a full list of the reels, please email : reretroblog.gmail.com
Gambit 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. Each leaf shape has its name on the underside, should you fail to recognise these iconic shapes. 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 about half of my collection- at last count I had 20 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.
MCP boomerang dish
made in Sydney, Australia 1950s
MCP [Modern Ceramic Products] started production in the 1940s, in Redfern, Sydney. The simple geometric forms of their vases have a very modernist styling and each has a highly textured exterior finish which contrasts with the smooth internal glaze. The two-toned aesthetic meant each vase could be made in a wide range of iterations- albeit along the 50s spectrum of baby blue, pale pink, pale yellow and pastel green.
This is a boomerang dish, with the usual MCP textured green exterior and smooth pink interior. Like most 50s pottery, the fine edge between the two glazes is described in white. So elegant. The boomerang shape was a 50s staple: not only was it ‘Australian’ but it had the added benefit of being ‘unusual’; not a pure geometric shape like most round or square dishes.
The dish was used to serve sweets; but here I have loaded it with bakelite teaspoons from the same era. I like the colours; the spoons are Tilley bakelite, also made in Sydney. Tilley specialised in cutlery, especially picnicware [and I have collected quite a bit.]
The MCP boomerang dish is in excellent vintage condition, and is for sale: $AU45
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.
This fantastic vinyl case holds an Italian language course – with 50 ‘Lezione’ on 45 RPM records, and various student books – such as “Vocabularies and Text of Sound Record” and the like. The books are published by Linguaphone Institute Ltd, in London by The Woodbridge Press.
There’s a “Reading Book” in Italian, “Students Instructions”, and “Explanatory Notes”- all supporting the lessons on the records. The illustrations in the books are pure 50s- as are the pictures on the records [I confess that I bought this set on the drawings alone. And the vinyl case is totally funky.]
The case has never been opened [until now!]- the records are unused and the books unread. A 50s course in Italiano awaits you! Classic Italian sentences that will assist your next trip to Italy such as : “Do you have a light”? and “Have you seen Sophia Loren in ‘It Started in Naples’?”
The Linguaphone- unused, is in excellent vintage condition, and is for sale: $AU55
Swinnertons Chelsea Blue
made in Staffordshire, England c.1950s
This set comprises 4 dinner plates, 4 side plates and 4 cake plates. The colour is described as ‘duck egg blue’.
I had been hunting for the matching Chelsea Blue coffee and tea sets, but upon reflecting how lovely the harlequin crockery sets are [see for example Swinnertons Nestor Vellum ‘Moonglo’ sets, below] I can’t actually imagine having a set all one colour.
Also, for some unexplained reason, the Chelsea Blue jug looks so wrong with the rest of the set- it is overblown, and has some quasi-20s affectations…what were they thinking? This is the 50s, people! I couldn’t bring myself to buy it – and left it on the shelf- which was probably a first for me.
This would be a good starter set for a harlequin table setting for 8 – just collect similar 50s colours in the same simple, rounded forms. Or just use as is – how good would cake look on those duck egg blue plates!
Super 8 film is having a resurgence, and super 8 cameras and editors are being dusted off and put back into use. You only have to look at YouTube to see how many videos are being made using this fantastic 50s technology.
This Editor is fully working, and comes in its original box with splicer, spare bulb, reels of film and even splicing cement [not sure how good it will be after sixty-odd years but the box packing is fabulous.] It’s been tested by an electrician and deemed good to go.
Even if you don’t use the editor to – you know- edit, it is a beautiful piece of engineering that will lend industrial cred to any space.
The Editor [and assorted accoutrements] is for sale: $AU150
Bakelite amp meter,
Lamb sugar-figurine, made in Australia 1950s
I love bakelite, as you know, and I love scientific/measuring instruments. So this gauge [which measures amps, and still works] is totally up my alley. I am so pleased that the buyer is giving it to a artist who makes toys out of found objects. Imagine this as part of a toy, where the amp needle moves as the toy moves~ magic!
I have resisted collecting figurines, but you know- this sugar lamb – was kinda irresistible. The ‘sugar’ refers to the rough clay texture which gives the figurine some semblance of realism, and unbeknownst to me, this is highly sought after. This lamb is going to a remote sheep station in Western Australia.
I shall endeavour to buy bakelite gauges and sugar figurines- it’s not just me but you!
Studio Anna wall plates & salt and pepper shakers
made in Australia 1950s
I am particularly drawn to kitsch pottery that has landscape or botanical images…so souvenir ware from the 50s is right up my street! I have posted Studio Anna pottery previously- you might remember that it was situated right near where I now live, in inner-Sydney.
This very kitschy souvenirware was very popular in the 50s – and then it went out of fashion [in a big way] in the 70s and 80s. Rightly so, the appropriation – and kitschisation- of indigenous motifs was debated and condemned. Now, in this post-modernist era, enough time has passed and enough discussion ensued that we can now look on these very dated images with fondness and nostalgia.
The wall plates have a hanging device on the back, so they can be – hung on a wall; here the cities of Adelaide and Albury are celebrated. The salt and pepper shakers celebrate Moree. A nice start to a Studio Anna collection.