Butterscotch bakelite

Alton butterscotch bakelite utensilsAlton utensils
made in Bankstown, Sydney Australia 1940s

This collection features butterscotch bakelite- very collectable; with silver plate [EPSP A1] – which is inscribed on each piece. EPSP stands for ‘electro-plated silver plate’, and the A1 indicates that this is the best silver plate. Enough said!

Alton made cutlery from its factory in Bankstown from the late 1890s until the 1950s. With the demise of large cutlery settings [consisting of forty or fifty pieces] which were purchased as wedding gifts in the 50s for more practical utensils – like Splayds, also a Sydney invention, the factory closed.

From left to right we have: a pair of salad servers, a fish knife and a teaspoon. All relics from one of those large cutlery sets – but all in pristine vintage condition; silver plate is intact and the butterscotch bakelite handles are entire, with no chips or fading.

The utensils are shown on a blue bakelite Sellex plate, also made in Sydney in the 40s. It showcases the butterscotch handles beautifully.

This collection is for sale: $AU75

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Blue and red bakelite

Blue bakelite Sellex plates & red bakelite Helix measuring cupsBlue 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.]

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Bakelite picnic & measuring cups [sold]

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.

This collection is for sale: $AU95

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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Red & white bakelite

Australian bakelite spice canistersBakelite spice canisters,
made in Australia 1940s

Here is a collection of red and red & white bakelite spice canisters, all Australian made, in the 1940s.

The front six canisters- two with sprinkle tops, are by Sellex; Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger, Cinnamon, and one [indecipherable] other. The two canisters at the upper left are by Marquis, and the pair of canisters adjacent are by Nally.

All good Australian bakelite canister manufacturers. All the canisters have screw lids – which are all in good order. The labels to the Sellex canisters show vintage wear- after all, they are over 75 years old.

I have a set of matching kitchen canisters by Eon – also red and white- this colour combination is a winner- see posts, below.

The set of ten spice canisters is for sale: $AUD135

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Cocktails – retro style

Semak VitamizerSemak ‘Vitamizer’ electric blender
made in Melbourne, c.1953

This beautiful bakelite blender is fully functioning – it has starred at many cocktail parties at my house as it’s fantastic for crushing ice and blending drinks. [Haven’t tested its ‘Vitamizer’ qualities, being too far gone on cocktails….]

Later versions of the Vitamizer have a bakelite body and clear glass top, and Semak still makes Vitamizers today, having started the company in 1948. As far as I can ascertain, the fully-bakelite models like this one were only ever made in black and white. Even the electric plug is bakelite.

The Vitamizer works on 240 V /120 W, and has serial number SN 6-510 stamped on the metal base. Perfect for the retro kitchen! For sale: $AUD125

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Bakelite canisters [sold]

Australian bakelite canistersBakelite kitchen canisters
made in Australia 1940s

Following from my last post- here is a selection of bakelite canisters made in the 40s by four different manufacturers: from the top left:

Flour canister, red lid – Eon
Flour canister, green lid- Sellex
Square blue lid canister – Marquis
Tea canister, round blue- Nally.

I do have whole canister sets- and have posted them previously, but it’s also good to mix and match canisters. The canisters do double duty providing storage as well as adding much needed colour. The red lid canister holds takeaway pamphlets whilst the tea canister holds – tea. Colour coding at it’s best!

This set of four canisters is for sale: $AUD85

Retro picnic teacups

Selex picnic teacupsSellex bakelite picnic teacups
made in Australia, c.1940s

I have quite a collection of Australian bakelite – and a representative sample has appeared on this blog – pieces ranging from kitchen canisters to picnic ware. There were ten companies producing bakelite domestic ware in Australia in the post-war period, and I have examples of them all!

The ten companies are: Nally Eon, Helix Sellex, Iplex, Nylex [names ending with ‘ex’ presumed particularly modern!] Bristilite and Tilly. Here we have a delightful pair of Sellex picnic cups.

The picnic set from which these teacups came was a ‘harlequin’ set- a range of four colours which could be mixed and matched. These cups and saucers show the four colours- and since they are in excellent condition- they should how vibrant the harlequin set was.

These teacups are for sale: $AUD50

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Bakelite picnic plates

Bartone bakelite picnic platesBartone bakelite picnic plates
made in Australia, c.1940s

This picnic set is a delightful mottled green colour- you might remember me posting another Bartone set that is mottled orangey-brown. Bartone specialised in producing picnic ware, often with this mottley shading, and the pieces all have catalogued numbers and a map of Australia cast on the underside. The large plates are Cat No B164, the small plates B165.

This set of plates is in remarkable condition for its vintage, and would make for a great retro picnic. Team them with the anodised beakers below!

For sale: $AUD75

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Bartone picnic plates

Bartone bakelite picnic platesBartone bakelite picnic plates
made in Australia, c.1940s

This picnic set is a delightful mottled green colour- you might remember me posting another Bartone set that is mottled orangey-brown. Bartone specialised in producing picnic ware, often with this mottley shading, and the pieces all have catalogued numbers and a map of Australia cast on the underside. The large plates are Cat No B164, the small plates B165.

This set of plates is in remarkable condition for its vintage, and would make for a great retro picnic!

For sale: $AUD75

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