60s Pyrex

Pyrex canistersPyrex ‘Stack & See’ canisters
made in USA, c.1968

I use these canisters- with their funky 60s colours – to store my retro sewing collection. Any sort of see-through canister is great for re-use – as is stackability – a great 60s invention. These Pyrex canisters came in 4 different sizes- the largest is shown here.

You can collect the canisters in the colour-ways; green, yellow, orange, red or blue. Check the Pyrex motif is on the base- there are a few fake imitations around. They don’t make them like they used to.

Of course, you can still use the canisters in the kitchen for their original purpose: just make sure the sealing ring is intact. I have only collected canisters with the original rings, even if they are only storing buttons. Email me if you’d like to buy!

60s kitschiness [is my kinda kitschiness]

60s kitschinessMelbourne tray, made in Hong Kong, 1960s
Hornsea sugar bowl, made in England, 1960s
Diana ramekins, made in Australia, 1960s.

An ode to 60s kitschiness – a bar tray featuring the beautiful city of Melbourne in the 60s- terrible image, much touched-up and with an explanatory label; a green ‘Heirloom’ sugar bowl, stoneware designed and produced by John Clappison in 1966 for Hornsea; and a pair of Diana ramekins, made in Marrickville, Sydney in the late 60s.

A range of 60s aesthetics: the tacky, the patterned and the late-modernist. All now very desirable and collectable. People collect bar-themed paraphenalia [‘barphenalia’] – Hornsea is oh-so collectable now, and Diana pottery [and ramekins especially] is becoming very desirable.

All these items are in good vintage condition, and are for sale: Melbourne bar tray: $AU20, Hornsea Heirloom sugar bowl: $AU25, and the Diana ramekins: $AU20.

Pates posey vase

Pates posey vasePates posey vase
made in Sydney, c 1940s

This posey vase was made by Pates Pottery, which operated out of Belmore, Sydney from 1946 -1990. The deco styling of the vase is deliberate, although it was made much after that period; it seems nostalgia for things past [and styles familiar and remembered] has always influenced pottery makers.

The drip glazes used by Pates were applied by hand, and the vases came in mottled shades of pinks, yellows, and green & brown- indeed it is this mottled glaze that instantly identifies this vase as a Pates vase. The vase is also stamped on the base “Pates Potteries Sydney Australia.”

This lovely green and brown vase is perfect to display wattle – the joey figurine is just along for the ride.

Pates Pottery collectors rejoice: this posey vase is in perfect condition and is for sale: $AUD75

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An ode to 70s design

Fred Press cheeseboard & Bessemer piecesAn ode to 70s designers
Fred Press, American artist
Lionel Suttie, Australian industrial designer

Fred Press was an American artist, and from 1950 to the 1980s was the chief designer of Rubel & Co on NY’s Fifth Avenue. He set out to revolutionise giftware, bringing his artistic sensibilities to domestic ware. Here we see a cheese/fruit board, in the shape of an apple, with one of his iconic drawings reproduced on the ceramic tile. The tile itself was made in Japan and is set in American teak, and it is signed Fred Press.

Lionel Suttie was an Australian industrial designer, bought in to Bessemer to revolutionise the design of utility ware– butter dishes, sugar bowls and table ware. This was the first time mass produced melamine products were thought worthy of design – or that they could make could make a design statement. In this image- a russet brown lidded condiment bowl, an avocado cup and saucer and a yellow sugar bowl.

Altogether a fine homage to the 70s and 70s designers.

This set is for sale: $AUD105

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Bessemer jugs

Bessemer jugs
made in Melbourne, c. 1970s

Bessemer products – made from melamine – were made by the Nylex Melmac Corporation which started production in the mid 60s. These beautiful jugs [and the subject of future posts, I have collected a lot of Bessemer!] were designed by Lionel Suttie, an industrial designer.

It’s interesting that Mr Suttie is remembered as Bessemer’s lead designer: this was the first time that condiment or tableware made from plastic [melamine] was thought to be worthy of design – that the humble mass-produced plastic jug or butter dish could make a design statement. These jugs certainly do that- they pay homage to mid-century modernist design and in the colouring, homage to the 70s.

The jugs can be used as intended- melamine is a strong plastic resistant to scratching and these jugs are ‘as new’ – or they can form part of a funky 70s display.

For sale: $AUD60

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Bonzo trinket tin

Bonzo trinket tin, 1930sBonzo tin
made in England, 1930s

Bonzo the dog was the first cartoon character created in England, by George Studdy in 1922. Bonzo has been reproduced in a myriad ways since those early comic books- from figurines to kitchenalia and of course, in tin. You might be familiar with the very popular salt and pepper shakers, which have “I’m Salt” and “I’m Pepper’ emblazoned on two upright Bonzos. Bonzo paraphernalia has been in and out of fashion since the 20s – and I’m pleased to say he is coming back in again.

I have researched this Bonzo tin – it is unmarked- but have been unsuccessful in ascertaining the maker. I do know from other collectors that this is a Bonzo trinket tin [rather than, say, a sweets tin] made in the 30s.  It has a little wear to the hand-painted finish and some rust but is still air-tight for the keeping of trinkets.

I also have a Bonzo napkin ring [see post below.] So now I have two Bonzo pieces a fledgling Bonzo collection has started. Not that I need another collection – it’s just those kitschy large eyes on the very 20s-looking dog that gets me in.

The Bonzo tin 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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Smiths Ringers

Smiths RingersRetro kitchen timers
Smiths Ringers, made in England, 1940s,1950s, 1960s

Perhaps I should have styled these three ‘ringers’ chronologically- as it is, the green ringer is bakelite and steel, with a glass cover- circa 1940, the middle ringer is the youngest- a mere slip of a thing from the 60s – brown coated metal, and the last, red ringer is all plastic- from the 1950s.

Each ringer is somewhat redolent of its age. I do like the fact that the 60s ringer is called ‘Ringer Girl’- if only the other two had similarly inspired names. All the ringers have different bell sounds- naturally- and due to their age and hard working life, are more suited as objects of beauty, rather than function. The green bakelite is a little faded, the brown metal is a little rusted in parts- as you’d expect from vintage items.

The ‘lemon’ tray lends a stylistic note to the image- but if you’d like to have it along with the ringers- let me know. This set is for sale: $AUD95

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50s Diana

Diana coffee pot & vaseDiana coffee pot & vase
made in Sydney, Australia c.1950s

I have posted Diana pottery before…I am very partial to Diana as it was made in a pottery that operated in Marrickville, Sydney from 1940 to 1975- very close to where I now live. These two pieces are quintessentially 50s pieces – the vase has a lovely mottled grey outer colour and a beautiful yellow inner. The yellow is repeated in the coffee pot’s lid, the two-toned theme being popular in the 50s.

The shapes of the pieces are also very 50s- the funky asymmetric form of the vase and the tilted line of the coffee pot. You’ll notice that the vase still has its original Diana sticker – stickers tend to make a piece more valuable, and it’s in perfect condition. Likewise the coffee pot, which has never been used.

Regulars to my blog will know that I collect Diana- from the 40s in the colour marking of green and brown [this evidencing my nationalistic streak] and while I love these pieces, they are not part of my permanent collection.

For sale: $AUD125

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Shoe fetish

Pates clogs
made in Sydney, Australia 1950s

Yet more of drip-glazed Pates Pottery. This incantation is the clog- that beloved symbol of the 50s when cultural differences were represented by national costume. [Mexicans wear sombreros! Japanese wear kimonos! Those crazy Dutch wear clogs!] The clog also represented the allure of international travel- which from Australia in the 50s was no mean feat- it meant six weeks on a boat to anywhere. No respectable knick-knack shelf of the modernist house would be without one!

Like the Pates pieces posted below, the colour tones here are pinks and greens, with crimson. Each one hand glazed- each one different. Other tones I have come across are yellow/brown, and brown/green [these came later in the 60s.] The production of the iconic clog went on until the early 70s.

This set of six clogs is for sale: $AUD115

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