I love bakelite and have collected Australian bakelite for some time. Although I don’t usually go for ashtrays these pieces show no sign of ever having been used and are in the form of Australia [‘Greetings from Brisbane’] and Tasmania. Who could resist?
Also, ashtrays [that haven’t been used and so have no physical scars] make great pin dishes – excellent for jewellery collections. And Australian bakelite collectors love bakelite in the shape of Australia.
These two pieces of 50s Australiana are for sale: $AU55 Buy Now
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.
Nally blue bakelite tray, made in Sydney, Australia c.1940s Dalson Products bakelite retractable washing lines, made in Melbourne, Australia c.1940s
And now for some more bakelite domestica!
This lovely speckled blue and white bakelite tray has distinctive art deco styling, with its embossed sunburst pattern. The speckled form of bakelite was often used with blue pieces- it has been noted previously [see ‘blue bakelite post, below] that blue bakelite is prone to break down to a murky brown colour. One solution was to mix the blue bakelite with another colour- usually a neutral colour- to help disguise any such deterioration.
The tray has performed well at many cocktail soirees, and I can attest to the understated glamour it brings to any occasion.
The three retractable washing lines are also very cute. They were made for the interior hanging of clothes. Being retractable meant that one could wash and hang clothes on a rainy day, or it was used when travelling. The winding mechanism is working well on all three – and I like that the manufacturer’s name is cast into the contrasting bakelite winding handle. One could certainly use them today – for retro travel in style!
I recently found another retractable clothes line: this one is plastic, later in date, and made in England; coloured beige and green. The mechanism is exactly the same, but the handle has been modified- this is a 50s version. Surely there is a collector of indoor washing lines out there; Washingalia?
This bakelite canister came with a set of transfers [Flour, Rice, Sugar, Sago, Coffee, Tea] in the 60s- so the homeowner could affix the labels as they saw fit- although the graduated size of the transfers meant most people stuck with the nominal order of the day. It makes me laugh that Flour was the largest canister – and coffee one of the smallest- nowadays it would be the other way around!
The transfer is in pretty good order for a canister that’s been in use since the 60s- normally these are quite perished when I find them. The red bakelite lid is also still tight-fitting, so you can store all the flour you wish!
Bakelite salt and pepper shakers
made by Marquis, Nally, Eon in Australia, c.1940s
I have previously posted bakelite salt and pepper shakers – twice- first in a grouping of green examples and then in a grouping of multi-coloured examples. Here we have a collection of red s&p. They were made to be included in the picnic basket- an everyday object made in a newly-developed plastic- that wouldn’t break in the great outdoors.
I am very fond of the ingenious design of the first two shakers – the top and bottom separate to reveal the two shakers; and you can see that the screw-on bases were often different coloured bakelite. These shakers were made by Marquis; and are impressed with ‘cat 729’.
The next pair of shakers were made by Nally: they are quite distinctive with black bakelite screw lids; and the last set of shakers- although not marked, are by Eon.
For bakelite collectors, and salt and pepper shaker collectors- you know who you are!
Fowler Ware jug, made in Australia 1940s Ibis ‘lotus’ condiment set, made in Australia 1940s
Fowler Ware created industrial pottery in Glebe, Sydney commencing in the 1840s. After WWII, Fowler Ware moved to producing pottery for the domestic market : their pudding bowls and jugs were so popular that they opened a second pottery to cope with the demand. I have posted quite a few Fowler Ware jugs – this one is had that quintessential 40s rounded body shape, and is in a drip glazed green- rather than the more usual solid glaze colour.
Ibis bakelite is hard to come by: not a lot of it was made as the small factory in Melbourne only operated for a short period between the wars.
This is a condiment set, with stand; the salt and pepper shakers have been fashioned as stylised lotuses. The openings for the salt and pepper is a recessed screwed section hidden under the stand. [This set has now sold.]
Blue bakelite Sellex plates
Red bakelite Helix measuring cups, made in Australia, 1940s
Here are the recently found red Helix graduated measuring cups : I noted a few posts ago that I also have a blue set.
When I first found the blue set of three measuring cups – ½, 1/3 and ¼ cups – I assumed that the 1 cup measure was missing from the set. But I assumed incorrectly- it was the 40s and bakelite was costly to produce- so it was considered an extravagance to make a 1 cup measure when you had a perfectly good ½ cup measure that could be used twice!
The blue bakelite plates are by Sellex. I’ve noted before that Australian bakelite manufacturers embraced the ‘x’ in their brand names – others of this period are Iplex and Nylex. The ‘x’ suffix was considered very modern.
Both the blue plates and red measuring cups are in good vintage condition – no scratches, chips or marks. And they are for sale: $AU80 [4 plates & 3 measuring cups.]
Green bakelite kitchenalia
made in Australia 1940s
Here we have green & cream bakelite kitchenalia from the 40s – the bread board [with incised ‘BREAD’ script] was made by British Plastics, in Melbourne; the salt canister was made by Industrial Plastics in Adelaide, and the canisters are by Nally, in Sydney.
The large Flour canister houses nested canisters inside – each with that fantastic cursive script; they are ‘Sugar’ and ‘Coffee’. I have waxed lyrical about the olden days when coffee canisters were the smallest – and how nowadays they would be the largest. So, ok, won’t belabour the point.
The salt canister has overt deco styling, despite being made in the 40s – and it is in good vintage condition and ready to hang. The bread board has never been used, and so has no cuts or abrasions – and the Nally canisters- an incomplete set of five – are also in excellent vintage condition.
Unusually I am offering the three for sale separately: although of course if you’d like to purchase the lot we can negotiate a fair price>
The bread board is $AU30, the salt canister is $AU30 and the Nally canisters  are for sale: $AU95
Bakelite picnic and measuring cups
made by Sellex and Helix, in Australia c. 1940-1950
These bakelite pieces have retained their wonderful colour, and work beautifully as a set. The set of 5 nested picnic cups in green and the large red measuring cup have an ‘inverted beehive’ shape, and both were made by Sellex. The red measuring cup measures 1 cup on its upper rim, then ½, 1/3, and ¼ cups on the graduated rings of the ‘beehive’.
The set of blue measuring cups are by Helix, and measure ½, 1/3 and ¼ cups. I thought perhaps the larger 1 cup was missing from the set, but apparently Helix only ever made a set of three measuring cups, in this style. It was the 40s and bakelite was costly to produce- it was considered an extravagance to make a 1 cup measure when you had a perfectly good ½ cup measure that could be used twice!
I recently found another set of Helix graduated measuring cups in red- they fit right in with this colourful kitchenalia set of bakelite pieces.
Eon spice canister, made in Australia 1940s Shoe Shoe egg cups, made in Hong Kong 1970s
I collect – and love- Carlton Ware, as you know from all your avid reading of my posts to date. Carlton Ware produced ‘Walkingware’ teapots, cups, salt & pepper shakers – you name it – in 1973. Very beautifully crafted crockery items on two legs, often with jaunty socks or stocking or with great shoes. Some static, some running.
So – when I came across these plastic ‘Shoe Shoe’ [fabulous name, no?] egg cups from Hong Kong – I had to collect them. I now have a selection of the four colours they come in- red, blue, black and yellow- with one in its original box. It is my love of kitsch, and my appreciation for a good knock-off when I see one that led to this collection.
The Eon canister is all on its own- it’s the first of the series of spice containers made by Eon in the 40s that I have been able to find. Now very collectible [as are all bakelite kitchen canisters]; this set is joined by a Mouseketeer as her dotty dress works so well with the dotty egg cups.
This set is for sale: $AUD75 [more Shoe Shoe egg cups available!]