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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1940s doctors bag

1940s cow hide case,
made in Australia

This is a fabulous ‘barrel-shaped’ case, possibly a doctor’s bag or briefcase, from the 40s. It is made of ‘genuine cow hide’ – as it attests on the interior label, although the leather has been tricked-up to resemble crocodile skin.

The case is in fantastic shape for its age- lock and key still work, hinges in-tact, handles and bottom studs all in-tact. The interior is also in remarkable shape- it’s red tartan-lined with two interior pockets. It would make [and indeed has made me] a wonderful overnight bag.

Suitcases and doctor’s bags from the 30s and 40s are now super collectable; and clean, pristine vintage cases are so much nicer to travel with than modern cases.

The doctors bag is for sale: $AU125

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Apple Blossom

Carlton Ware ‘Apple Blossom’
made in England 1937-1950s

I may have mentioned before that I am drawn to botanical themes- and that I may have amassed a fair bit of botanical related items due to being a landscape architect. Well- here’s more proof.  An ‘Apple Blossom’ plate in one two colours in which it was produced- yellow and green.

The floral embossed motif ‘Apple Blossom’ was part of Carlton Ware’s Salad Ware Range, produced from 1937 to the 1950s. Apple Blossom was the most popular of the floral ware produced and over sixty different items were made : seen here is a medium-sized plate – I also have a large, medium and small plate, a footed bow and a sugar bowl.

Carlton Ware is very collectible – you may have seen my previous post of the Wild Rose jug [also part of the Salad Ware range]- but like all collectibles its popularity waxes and wanes. Us purists, of course, collect what we like and are unswayed by popularity. And I like botanical themes on my pottery!

The plate is in excellent condition for pottery that is over seventy years old. For Carlton Ware collectors and mad keen botanists alike–this plate is for sale: $AU25

[PS: As for the swallow- I am waiting for the other two of the original trio to turn up. In the meantime, s/he is doing double duty as a styling piece.]

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Fat Lava

Scheurich pottery,
made in West Germany 1960-70s

I have come to embrace the ‘fat lava’ craze for West Germany pottery only recently. One thing that helped was seeing the pottery in its homeland when I visited Berlin- and another thing that has helped has been time; I grew up with this stuff and hated it as a youngster!

‘Fat lava’ refers to the glaze type which is typically chunky and classically 70s in form and colour. The pieces shown here are from our personal collection – we decided to collect in orange and red. There are a million varieties of these shapes in every conceivable colour variation…but due to popularity and [crazy collectors] they are becoming harder to find.

One of my favourite collectors is someone who has collected the one Scheurich shape and form – [it happens to be the middle of the red pieces shown here] and has over 70 varieties of it. They look fantastic displayed together – this is a case where more- IS more!

Lotte

Figgjo ‘Lotte’ plate
made in Norway, 1960s

This design, part of Figgjo’s Turi-Design Lotte line, depicts the eponymous Lotte in garden settings. The design also comes in shades of green, and the whole dinner set including butter dish and salt and pepper shakers was made. The line was discontinued in the 80s and is now very collectable. Etsy and EBay have entire sections devoted to Lotte!

This dinner plate has some crazing to the outer glaze, but I think that just makes it more charming. Crazing doesn’t affect its use, and adds cred. It would be a nice idea to collect bits and pieces from both the blue and green collection and mix and match; like many things- the entire setting is quite overwhelming and less is definitely more!

The plate is for sale: $25

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Collectable pincushion

Drummer Man pincushion
made in Occupied Japan, 1940s

This is a pin cushion [sadly missing the actual pin cushion] from Occupied Japan. Occupied Japan items are now highly collectable – it’s the term used for the period from 1945-1952 (after World War II) when the Allies “occupied” Japan. This short period – seven years – and the fact that ceramics produced during the time were all copies of renowned European potteries, and particularly Victorian-era figurines, have made the items quite rare.

The Drummer Man would have originally had a stuffed velvet cushion in the hollow of his drum; most pin cushions collected today have lost this piece and most collectors decide not to restore it. The [original] Drummer Man himself is a turn of the century relic- a stylised cartoon version of the little drummer boy. It is hand-painted, and in excellent vintage condition.

The Drummer Man will appeal to pin cushion collectors; and also to Occupied Japan ceramics collectors. It is for sale: $AU35

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40s porcelain figurine

Porcelain figurine, Japan, 1940sPorcelain figure,
made in Japan 1940s

This is quite a large figurine of a little girl and her duck; its 110mm high and unusually detailed for porcelain made in the 40s. It would have been made as part of the huge export market that sprang up in Japan imitating much older [and venerable] porcelain manufacturers in England.

This piece is unsigned so manufacturer is unknown, but the figurine has been made to replicate those of the well-known figurine maker, Beswick. So, it’s a repro piece from the 40s!

I’m not in the habit of collecting figurines; I occasionally do if I need a kitschy figurine for styling purposes. But I absolutely love this little girl and her duck, and her quintessentially 40s features. And I was rather taken with the detailing and the size of the piece- so unusual.

For porcelain collectors / figurine collectors; the figurine is for sale: $AU45

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Hanstan mugs

Hanstan mugs, Australia, 1970sHanstan mugs
made in Australia, 1970s

Hanstan pottery was a collaboration between Hans Wright and Stan Burrage – hence Hanstan– that started in Victoria in 1962. The pottery continued to make domestic ware pottery well into the 1980s. All Hanstan pottery was hand-signed [in quite florrid, 70s style] on the base- as are these mugs.

Hanstan also made stoneware spice containers- with cork lids- I have featured some previously in the white/brown colourway.  These mugs are quite unusual since not many were made in the orange/brown glaze. [My gen y friend said they look like avocados…and- you know- he’s right!]

These [rare] mugs are in excellent vintage condition, and are for sale: $AU45

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60s goodness

Pyrex 'Sunburst' flask, Bessemer printed plate, 60sBessemer plate, made in Australia 1965-70
Pyrex ‘Sunburst’ flask jug, made in USA 1960s

This is Pyrex at its best- a jug modelled on a laboratory flask with an ‘atomic’ sunburst pattern in gold. The stopper is graduated plastic, in good old yellow plastic. The jug has a pouring lip, two litre capacity and being Pyrex, is good for hot and cold liquids. Pyrex is very collectible – and the jug is in excellent condition. And –it makes a terrific vase when it’s not serving hot and cold liquids.

The Bessemer plate is likewise very collectable. It is one of a series of six, designed by A. Wiederkehr – and is culturalyl important enough to be in the Powerhouse Museum collection. I would have loved to have collected all six- but alas- after so long hunting I have only found this one ‘in the wild’ [as collectors say.] I have found plenty of plates, of all the patterns – but they are invariably so scratched from use that I rejected purchasing.

If you are a Pyrex collector [and there are quite a few!] or a Bessemer collector, please check out the other items on my blog. I am a big fan of early 60s industrial designers – and Pyrex and Bessemer tick all the boxes!

The flask and plate are in excellent vintage condition, and are for sale: $AU45

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Knitting paraphernalia

Knitting gauges, counters, needles 40s-50sKnitting Paraphernalia
made in England, 1940-1950s

I am a knitter – and a collector – so naturally I have started to collect knitting paraphernalia. It’s sort of an amalgamation of my interests in the domestic arts- knitting- and technology. So here is a small selection: knitting gauges, knitting counters, and knitting needles.

The knitting gauges are all made from aluminium: the first is an impressed aluminium circle gauge, with sizes 5 to 16. It has no makers mark, and after countless hours [minutes] of research- I can’t find anyone who has ascertained the maker.

The second is a bell gauge made by Emu, in England in the 1940s. It’s a lovely anodised aluminium green: the Emu logo is a ball of wool with knitting needles for legs. It’s unusual in that it sizes needle gauges internally- rather than externally, which was the practice up to the 40s. It’s also unusual that an English firm would use an emu as its logo; at first I assumed this must be an Australian manufacturer.

The third gauge is a ’D-shaped’ gauge by Stratnoid Aluminium – this being the brand name of Stratton & Co, Birmingham. The gauge is unusual in that it indicates imperial and metric sizes.

I have just discovered that collecting needle gauges is a thing: it’s not just me!

The knitting counters sit on the end of the needle, and the end ring is rotated to move the counter to record the number of rows. These are 50s ‘rotary barrel’ counters, and are made of bakelite and plastic, by IX Products, and Millward. Millward termed these counters “Ro-Tally”.

Finally, the tortoise shell knitting needles – of which I have posted previously. Now much prized by knitters who suffer from arthritis, these needles are super-flexible, being made from an organic compound. Artists love them for the same reason.

The gauges are for sale: $AU60, the counters are for sale: $AU45, and the tortoise shell knitting needles are $200 for 20 pairs [assorted sizes.]

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