Retro kitchen appliances

Ice-o-mat, Can-o-mat, Dia ice pailIce-O-Mat, ice-crusher
Can-O-Mat, can-opener
Dia, ice pail.

This collection is perfect for the retro kitchen. Look at all that gleaming chrome!- offset nicely by the clean, smooth white plastic and funky black graphics. It seems that in the 50s ‘O-Mat’ was a shortened form of ‘automatic’.

The Ice-O-Mat is wall-mounted, and one puts ice cubes into the top, turns the handle left or right to produce different sized ice, then squeezes the central knob to open and pour out the crushed ice. A terrific invention! No home should be without one!

The Can-O-Mat is likewise wall-mounted. It’s by Artisocrat, by Monier – so now you can have both ice-crushing and can-opening functions on your kitchen wall. Space-saving and functional…welcome to the space-age!

The Dia ice pail rounds out the collection. It is stainless steel, insulated, and comes with its original ice tongs.

All three pieces are in top-top working order, ready to go to work [or just look fabulous] in your kitchen.    For sale: $AUD85

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Carnation champagne flutes

Retro champagne flutes
made in Australia, c.1950s

I’m rather fond of these kitsch decorated champagne flutes – the gilt rim and base helping somewhat to offset the rather garish carnations. The glasses were won in a golf tournament by my partner’s brother- and they had pride of place in the family’s display cabinet for many, many years. I don’t think they were ever used to imbibe champagne…they were considered far too precious. They were for display [and admiration] purposes only.

The set now needs a new home – I’m imagining a nice mid-century modern drinks cabinet…where they can be taken out from time to time to drink champagne. Or beer. Beer would also be good.

For sale: $AUD55

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50s Australiana kitsch

Gambit Ware 'Ceramique' Australiana leaf platesGambit 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. 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 another part of my collection- at last count I had 50 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!

This selection of Gambit Ware is for sale: $125 [13 pieces]

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Eon bakelite cake canisters

Eon bakelite cake canistersEon cake bakelite canisters
made in Australia c.1950s

Eon is a well known Australian bakelite manufacturer of the 40s and 50s- specialising in kitchenware and especially canisters.

These two cake canisters are from different sets, but they were both produced in the 40s and both feature the red and white colourway- so beloved by modernist kitchens of the 50s. Both lids still fit snuggly, thus keeping said cake fresh. And both are unblemished, the bakelite as shiny bright as the day it left the factory.

The red-lidded canister is not labelled, but it’s clearly for cake. The white canister has that typical 50s cursive bakelite label pinned into the side of the canister.

For cake bakers/lovers/consumers and for all your retro kitchen cake needs…these canisters are for sale: $AUD90

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Slidex slide library

Hanimex Slidex slide library, 1950sHanimex ‘Slidex’ slide library
made in Australia 1950s

I love and collect Hanimex – slide projectors, slide viewers and now- a slide library. Each of the three drawers has flip out slide-holders [yellow, red, green] and each can hold 120 x 35mm slides. The slide library is pristine – never been used. Opposite the drawers is an index – to note the title of each of the twelve slide holders in each drawer- and the drawers themselves have a space for a label integral with the drawer pull. All you need is a typewriter: the index is removable and so can be inserted into a typewriter to be completed; and the drawer labels could similarly be typed. Tres tres cool!

Hanimex is an Australian company that commenced importing cameras and lenses in 1947. Jack Hannes started the company and the name Hanimex is an abbreviation of his company name: Hannes Import Export. By the mid 50s Hanimex was making and selling smaller photographic equipment –like this slide library- in Australia. Cameras that were still imported were rebadged Hanimex Topcon, the second name indicating the original manufacturer.

The precision engineering that has gone into making this compact, portable slide library is fantastic.

The slide library is for sale: team it with one of more of the other fantastic Hanimex products on this site! $AUD75

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Bakelite napkin rings

Bakelite napkin ringsBakelite napkin rings
made in Sydney, Australia 1950s

This set of harlequin octagonal bakelite napkin rings was made by Marquis in the 50s. Harlequin refers to the different colours [indeed, one of the rings is ‘end-of-day’ bakelite.] End-of-day bakelite was the pattern formed when whatever bits of bakelite where left where thrown together into the mould.

In the 50s everything was ‘harlequin’ – think sets of anodised aluminium beakers. This was actually a clever marking ploy- if you lost/broke one piece of a set, it was easily replaced – since nothing matched by colour, pattern or manufacturer.

Marquis was a huge bakelite manufacturer- they made everything that could be made from bakelite- from kitchen utensils, to light switches, to 35mm slide viewers. Indeed, I seem to have quite a few kitchen scoops, butter dishes, teaspoons, salt and pepper shakers and slide viewers made by Marquis in my collection.

I love the form of these napkin rings: octagonal shape on the outside – so the napkin ring sat easily on a table- but circular inside form – so the napkin could be smoothly set in place. Form and function, people! And just look at those beautiful bakelite colours.

Bakelite continues to be a sought after collectible: and this set of eight napkin rings is for sale: $AUD80

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Bakelite roulette wheel

Duperite bakelite roulette wheel, made in Australia c.1950s

How do you combine your love of bakelite with your penchant for gambling? With a bakelite roulette wheel. [Catalogue No. 1324/1, to be precise.] This beautiful roulette wheel hasn’t been out of its box- it is in pristine condition although its box has seen some wear and tear. It comes with a printed green felt baize [not pictured] and a little timber ball ~which was still taped to the wheel when I bought the set.

I have other bakelite items made by Duperite- see ‘Green bakelite pieces’ post below- an Australian bakelite company that made, as well as domesticware, lawn bowls and -apparently- roulette wheels. I must have been the only person who didn’t have one at home as a child…everyone I have shown this roulette wheel to has exclaimed that they remember having one! That might explain  why 1] I am so attracted to it [pure envy] and 2] why it elicits so many nostalgic sighs from my friends.

For sale: $AUD125

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Upcycled telephone table

Upcycled telephone tableUpcycled 50s telephone table

My partner and I had a dilemma faced by many inner-city dwellers: nice couches in the sitting room- BUT no nice side tables. Where to put the martini glass? On what to perch the canapé plate? Am I right? – everybody faces this dilemma.

Space is tight. The couches are expensive and there is NO way that guests are encouraged to rest their drink or antipasto plate on the arms. So- what to do?

Enter- the upcycled telephone table. Long in length and thin in width- the perfect dimensions. Having an upper and a lower level [once for the telephone and padded seat, respectively]- and with an added grill for the old telephone books – these tubular metal telephone tables are just the thing.

Trish stripped back the chrome plating, attended to the rust, and repainted in matt black. Recycled timber was sanded, oiled & finished and screwed to the upper and lower sections and voila- the perfect side table was born.

The table ticks all the boxes: upcycling, recycling and retro styling. Totally loving it!

Children’s figurine #50s style

Lustreware duck figurine, 1950sLustreware duck
made in Japan, 1950s

Following the fantastic lustreware duck jug recently posted; here is another lustreware duck. This is also from the 1950s- this being a dressed duck, with waistcoat and topcoat – but – strangely no wings [seem to be demurely tucked under those clothes.] The duck would have been bought for a children’s room; these anthropomorphic animals were very popular as gifts for children in the 50s and 60s.

The lustreware is seen on the topcoat, and as with the jug, all this was hand-painted. I’ve teamed the duck figurine- which is quite large- 170mm tall- with a little duck cup orphaned from a children’s tea set, also made in Japan at around the same time. Though just how he will pick up that cup is anyone’s guess!

The duck figurine is for sale: $AU35

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Elischer pottery

Elischer ramekins & vaseElischer ramekins & vase
made in Melbourne, Australia 1950s

Most of my collection comes from Sydney potteries – but Elischer is a Melbourne pottery which commenced in the late 30s and continued until the late 80s. Elischer was a Viennese sculptor who turned to pottery when he immigrated to Melbourne. These pieces; three ramekins and a small vase, are in the typical 50s colourway of black, tan and cream but employ atypical organic, asymmetrical forms.

I have one other Elischer pottery piece in the collection – very different to these pieces- a Four Seasons Whiskey jug. By the 60s Elischer was making commercial bar ware and had moved away from the more experimental pottery seen here.

None of these pieces is signed – I have deduced from research and the matching colourway/asymmetric forms that all these pieces are Elischer. They are for sale: $AUD80

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