Slide viewers

Marquis and Viscount slide viewersMarquis slide viewer, made in Sydney, Australia c.1950
Viscount slide viewer, made in England c.1960

How fantastic is this baby pink Marquis slide viewer? The pink section is plastic, whilst the black section is bakelite. This slide viewer comes in its original box and is in near mint condition.

The Viscount viewer is nearly a decade older, and it evidences the transition from the modernist forms of the 50s to the more funky shapes of the 60s. It too comes in its original box.

Both viewers are working well – and replacement bulbs for them are still available. Which means there is no excuse for having photographic slides around that are not being used. You can go automatic with a large format projection [see slide projector/s below]…or view your slides individually and more intimately with these hand held viewers.

I do have a few slide viewers in my collection…I love the way they work – large glass viewing lens, small bulb and battery. And they look great massed together as a group – they are both functional AND aesthetic.

The slide viewers are for sale: $AUD55 each.

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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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3 black cats

Black Cat condiment tray
made in Japan, 1950s

Three Black Cats walk into a bar…two are salt and pepper shakers, the third is for mustard. Or for toothpicks- who knows what those crazy 50s people were thinking?

I love this set: the black cats all look slightly crazed and ready for action, and yet they are on a lovely orange tray with handles: they are only condiments servers. On second thoughts, maybe they are black panthers…[my zoology knowledge is somewhat limited.]

For 50s collectors and cat collectors- the perfect combination: for sale- $AU45

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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!

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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Swinging 60s!

Carlton Ware Haig Scotch Whiskey water jug and London sourvenir plate, 1960sCarlton Ware whiskey jug, made in England 1962
London souvenir plate, made in England 1960s

This scotch whiskey water jug is both practical and collectible. It’s an ‘advertisement’ jug; mass produced and given away to pubs –not sold to the public- with the idea that the public would be so impressed by the glamour of having water added to their drink by a ‘branded jug’ that they would continue to order their brandy/whisky by name. Ah! the 60s, when advertising and impressing people was so easy!

The jug- being made by Carlton Ware- has a beautiful integral handle [not quite seen in image] and fantastic 60s square-shaped styling. It is very modern in form – and in fantastic condition. Whiskey jugs are uber collectible and they make a fantastic addition to a retro bar [and can double as a vase at short notice.]

The London dish- having been made as a souvenir piece in the 60-  is plastic, hand-painted, and features that seminal 60s landmark – the GPO tower. Dwarfing those has-been landmarks Trafalgar Square, Tower Bridge, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace- the GPO is shown out loud and proud! That’s how landmarks were designed in the 60s!

The whiskey jug & London dish are for sale: $AUD65

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Upcycled 50s garden table

Upcycled 50s garden tableUpcycled 50s garden table
made- and upcycled- in Sydney Australia; 1950s & 2015

Another fine example of Trish’s upcycled 50s garden tables. Don’t you just love the butterfly magazine rack and the new black glass top?

Trish stripped the rust/imperfections from the steel frame, painted it with anti-rust and then three coats of matt black enamel paint. The glass is made to measure- and who knew that black glass is three times the price of any other coloured glass? Still- it looks fantastic; it has beveled edges and it’s safety-glass. New rubber feet complete the table.

This table is not for sale: it’s a keeper. It’s just the size for an inner-city terrace- and as it’s weatherproofed it has the added advantage that it can be used indoors or outdoors. I’ve teamed the table with an old industrial flask and eucalyptus leaves and a 50s school map.

Upcycled 50s garden tables

Upcycled 50s garden tablesUpcycled 50s garden tables
originally made and then upcycled in Australia

This is Trish’s new interest- restoring 50s and 60s garden furniture. These steel-framed tables – built robustly to take outdoor weather conditions- are the perfect size for interior spaces in contemporary homes. This pair of would make fantastic side or coffee tables.

50s garden furniture typically combined the restrained modernism and perfunctory design of metal work- with a jaunty curlicue or two- to signify the outdoor environment. The lower grill is great for coffee books or magazines – I’m not sure what the original purpose would have been- garden hose storage?

The tables have had the original paint finish removed, anti-rust and two new coats of matt black enamel paint applied; and given a new glass top [safety glass with bevelled edges.] New rubber feet complete the transformation.

I think they are terrific- the dimensions are perfect for an apartment or inner-city house.

The pair of tables are for sale: $AUD225

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Mixed bag : black & yellow

Black & yellow- 20s. 50s, 60sMixed bag: yellow and black

A lovely ensemble of retro things united by colour but not by age. The large glass plate- black with gilt roses is 50s, the kitschy banana vase [Grafton= a lovely country town well known for its Jacaranda trees rather than bananas] is 60s and the xylonite box [xylonite is an early plastic made to mimic ivory] is somewhat yellowed and hails from the 20s.

All made in Australia and all having different provenance; I collected the items one by one. All fine examples of their type: glass, ceramic [kitsch] and xylonite. The xylonite box is somewhat distressed, but has working hinges and the box lid still fits well- the celluloid flower on its lid is unusual and that will be attractive to xylonite collectors.

The mixed bag collection is for sale: $AUD85

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60s office equipment

Dymo 1700 & Teledex [1960s]Dymo label maker, # 1700, made in USA c.1969
Teledex index, made in Melbourne, Australia c.1960s

I am somewhat partial to Dymo labelers – and Teledex phone indexes. Call me old-fashioned but I do like physical buttons and physical output- very novel in the digital world we now inhabit.

The Teledex is black bakelite, and comes complete with ‘unused’ pale blue file inserts [new in packet.] So 60s! No retro office is complete without one [just think Mad Men; Don Draper had one on his desk last season.] Sure, everyone keeps telephone numbers on their mobile phones nowadays…but how much fun is it to zip that little knob up and down and push the button to spring open the index? I could do it all day.

The Dymo 1700 is an earlier version of the Dymo 1780 [featured last post]- its tape comes in little cartridges which are pushed into the barrel of the thing. This one comes with several original tapes- and I am reliably informed that the cartridge tapes are still available to buy.

This collection is for sale: $AUD95

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