Viewmaster Junior Projector

Viewmaster Junior Projector, 50s, USAViewmaster 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

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Nally mixing bowls

Nally mixing bowls,
made in Australia, 1940s

I love bakelite and have collected Australian bakelite domestic ware for some time. Nally first started bakelite production in 1923 and was one of the first in Australia to do so. The factory was in Glebe, Sydney.

These two mixing bowls – although nested [that is fitting exactly within one another]- and were priced and sold separately. Nally’s advertising blurbs of the time made much of the fact that replacement pieces could always be bought, and as the mixing bowls were ‘harlequin’ [ie: different colours] they could be mixed and matched.

As it happens, these two bowls have never been used- testament to this fact is the original sticker in the base of the bowl. The sticker indicates these are ‘Genuine’ Nally bowls [in case you know, you thought they were fajes!]

The mixing bowls have a pouring lip, and came in the usual 40s pastel colours of blue, green, pink, cream and white. These bowls are yellow; and I’ve teamed them with a kewpie doll from the same era.

The bowls are for sale: $AU75

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Bakelite perfume-holder

Bourjois bakelite owl perfume-holder
made in England, 1930s

I am very interested in bakelite, as you know: and blue bakelite is the rarest. I came across this owl-shaped perfume holder, and though it is a little time-worn, I had to have him.

The owl was made to open at the back to take a bottle of ‘Evening in Paris’ perfume. He would have been in every elegant ladies bag in the 30s. It’s made of ‘marbleised’ bakelite : and when you open it you can see the colour of the original [now eighty-year old] bakelite. But his eyes, hinges and feathery detail are all still intact.

The inscription on the back reads: ‘Bourjois, London-Paris, Reg No 825,003, Made in England’. I love the idea of a perfume-holder; no-one uses them these days. You are considered sophisticated if you walk around with perfume in your backpack. This owl harks back to the 30s- and days of glamour!

I’ve teamed the bakelite owl with a plastic telephone toy from the 50s. I kinda like the disparaging look on the owl’s face…

The bakelite perfume-holder is for sale: $AU40

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Bakelite inkstand

Velos Classic Inkstand,
made in England, 1930s

Here we have a bakelite inkstand: the two quill-holders swivel to accept a pen from multiple directions, and the stand has numerous cavities for ink bottles, pens and the like.

On the base, the relief bakelite stamp assures us that this is a ‘Classic’ inkstand, model no: 1270, made in England. Just in case you thought it might be of the un-classic variety.

I have of course stuffed flowers into the quill holders- for artistic purposes, you understand; but the whole thing is in excellent condition. I did give it a bit of a buff with Greys Paste No. 9- and the top bakelite surface came up a treat [and matched the underside, which has never seen the light of day.]

For bakelite, and inkstand collectors, this is a lovely piece of history. It is for sale: $AU75

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30s sugar canister

30s sugar canisterSugar canister
made in Australia, 1930s

A wonderful example of a depression era canister – this aluminium sugar canister evidences all the hallmarks of the 30s- drilled, green bakelite handles, mismatched green tones, applied ‘Sugar’ label, and graduated rings to the cream base.

Anodised aluminium was in its infancy- and achieving colour matching next to impossible. So each green lid was slightly different across the whole set of five canisters [and added to this of course, is colour fading over time.] Meanwhile bakelite technology was forty years old- you could get any colour you wanted there.

The size of this canister tells you something about the storage of sugar in the 40s. This canister was second in size only to the Flour canister. Everything else in the series was smaller: Suet, Rice, Tea and coming up last, Coffee. My how things have changed in the modern world! [Coffee should always be the largest!- and what the hell is suet?]

The canister has a few dings due to age, but the anodised aluminium base and lid are in good condition. The canister is for sale: $AUD45

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Bakelite amp meter [sold]

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!

Red bakelite s&p

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!

For sale: $AUD115

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Viewmaster Junior Projector

Viewmaster Junior Projector, 50s, USAViewmaster 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

Buy Now

Glass kitchen canisters

Glass kitchen canisters 1950sGlass kitchen canisters
made in Australia 1950s

Here is a selection of some of the glass kitchen canisters that I have collected for use in my kitchen: these are the ‘spares’. The thick, square glass canisters were originally filled with nuts or sugared almonds, and sold at Christmas time in the 50s and 60s. The plastic lids come in all manner of colours, and are still good and air-tight. So beautiful and functional!

I like that you can see how much sugar/flour/tea is left in the glass canisters, and now I associate red with ‘lentils’, blue with ‘couscous’, and green with ‘green tea’. This colour coding is a great idea!

I also have a selection of glass canisters with black bakelite lids- these only seemed to come in black- and they date earlier, probably the 40s.

The canisters are for sale: $AU20 [coloured plastic lids] and $AU30 [black bakelite lids.]

Happy New Year!

30s bakelite telephoneHappy New Year!

As we say goodbye to 2016 and welcome in 2017, a sneak peek into my personal collection. Or- the bit of my personal collection I am keeping.

I became interested in resin, and experimented with making jewellery and door pulls. This in turn led me to research and learn about plastics- and during this research I became interested in bakelite. You know the rest of the story: I now collect bakelite.

This is an old bakelite phone from the 30s- made in Australia- bought recently. It needs restoration, and I have Greygate No.5 Polishing Paste on hand to do it. This polishing paste was developed to restore bakelite on phones for the GPO in the 50s – and it’s still made today. Bakelite itself is still in production- in the manufacture of light switches and electrical components, so the restoring paste is also still made.

The phone can also be restored electronically – if one wished to use it as a landline. And- it has a little drawer for phone numbers in the front – a wonderful design, if somewhat whimsical.

Happy New Year to all re:retro readers & followers! And here’s to much retro in the future!