I have a ‘thing’ for Mulga wood- I’ve featured quite a bit of it on the blog. Mulga wood was used in 1940-50s for souvenir works as it is a hardwood –unusual in a native from the wattle family – and was considered ‘export quality’. The timber is cut and arranged to show off its famous bi-colouring, as seen in these ‘beehive’ bookends.
These are ‘beehive’ bookends in the classic shape: it was a popular form in the 50s and seen in everything from knitting guages to car manufactures logos- to –of course- hairstyles.
The hardwood was first turned on a lathe, then cut in half to form bookends with a straight edge; then polished to a gloss. Often example of the bark was retained- as seen in these bookends- to contrast with the high glass finish. And the weight of the hardwood makes for excellent book ends; nothing is going to push these babies over.
This is a fabulous wall barometer- and temperature gauge- made from blackwood timber, in the shape of Tasmania.
The barometer was a wedding gift to a couple in the 60s – and has faithfully recorded the air pressure [barometer] and air temperature [thermometer] since then. I particularly like the fonts used for the barometer – it is very old school, where each condition has its own curlicue lettering: ‘stormy, rain, change, fair, very dry.’ That last one is -of course- referring to wit.
In excellent working order, and ready to hang, the barometer is for sale: $AU45
Clock and barometer souvenir
made in Australia 1940s
I’ve featured quite a bit of Mulga wood on this blog: . and a fair bit of kitsch. Often Mulga wood and kitsch go hand-in–hand, as is the case here. Mulga wood was used in 1940s souvenir works as it is a hardwood –unusual in a native from the wattle family – and was considered ‘export quality’. The timber is cut and arranged to show off its famous bi-colouring, as is the Australia-shaped base of this 40s souvenir.
The clock- with alarm and glow-in-the-dark numbers and hands, is paired with a barometer [working; naturally it’s in Fahrenheit] and a gilt koala. The wind-up clock is functional- but I can’t attest to its accuracy. But a barometer and a clock and a gilt koala all on an Australia-shaped Mulga wood base? Doesn’t get much better!
I’ve teamed the souvenir with a Bushell’s tea jar from the same era. The rusted lid adds another brown tone, and the glass picks up the glass on the clock and barometer.
This fabulous Shadow Box was a staple in the interior furnishings of the 40s and 50s: it hangs on a wall to showcase knick-knacks and small ornaments. The timber has a great bevelled edge, and the two ‘boxes’ come apart to nest inside each other for transport/storage. The original flat pack!
Shadow Boxes were made in both square and circular shapes; and the square-shaped boxes were either two or three boxes, and the clever design means you can arrange the boxes so they are ascending or descending. And the depth of the boxes means that the tops can be used to display objects; so objects need not just be ‘framed’ within the boxes.
I’ve styled the Shadow Box with some dog figurines; but of course it would suit any small vintage collection.
The Shadow Box would make an excellent Christmas gift for a vintage collector, and it’s for sale: $AU40
These 40s bookends are made from Mulga wood- which has been cut to show off its famous bi-colouring, and still has the bark of the tree intact. Mulga wood was used in 1940s souvenir works like these as it is a hardwood –unusual in a native from the wattle family – and was considered ‘export quality’. The wood is heavy and dense and so- makes for fantastic book ends.
With the bookends are part of our Observer book collection. These little ‘field’ books run from 1 through 100; 1 is British Birds and 100 is Wayside and Woodland. Some collectors collect only 1-79 [the purists] ; or collect every edition of one of the series. I like the idea of 100 coloured spines lined up- and we have around 30 or so still to collect. One can buy them from specialist booksellers, natch- but I like to discover them in second hand bookshops across the world [we found one in Berlin whilst there.]
So – the bookends are in perfect condition. For collectors of Australiana, Australian timber, or those who just need a decent pair of 40s bookends- here they are. I also have a marvellous pair of bookends with Mulga wood & pewter kangaroos [see previous post.]