Australian bakelite bits ‘n’ pieces

Australian bakelite: Nally, 40s Nally bakelite pieces c.1940s

These are the odds and ends of my Nally bakelite collection. Nally first started bakelite production in 1923 and was one of the first in Australia to do so. The factory was in Glebe, in inner-city Sydney – where I once lived as a student, when it was grittier with light industry, warehouses and terraced housing.

I became interested in bakelite when I started making my own resin jewellery. Bakelite was the first stable plastic compound ‘discovered’ by one Dr. Baekeland in the 1907. It was – like many discoveries – a complete accident- he was trying to find a synthetic alternative to shellac. A million and one things went on to be produced in bakelite…see quite a bit of evidence in previous posts on this blog… … …

Anyhoo- in researching resin I looked at early polymer precedents and then became fixated on bakelite. Australia was just coming of age in the 20s and bakelite was taken up with great fervor- it was the modern, new era- cheaply produced alternative to timber, iron, steel and ceramic- you name it.

This set comprises:    4 end-of-day egg cups
blue nested salt and pepper shaker, with cream screw ends
green lidded ‘cloves’ canister.

I’ve teamed the Nally bits ‘n’ pieces with an old battered red aluminium canister lid, much splattered with paint. It’s had a hard life and has lost its companion piece and now must do duty as a background element. Still- that’s upcycling at its best!

This set is for sale: $AUD45

Buy Now

Nally bakelite nested canisters

Nally nested bakelite canistersNally nested bakelite canisters
made in Australia c. 1940s

I have posted nested bakelite canisters before…and everytime I do I am reminded of the weird world of the 40s, when coffee was in smallest canister and flour the largest! Oh, how times change! It would be great to swap the names on the canisters to reflect a more contemporary use of flour and coffee…but that would mean pulling out that lovely cursive script, which is fixed to the canisters by little bakelite pegs in holes drilled though the canister. And – each script has been laminated to fit the circumference of the canister. One just has to deal with it!

The canisters are a lovely off-white colour, and the lids and script are green. The lids to this Nally set are unusual in that they give a slid nod to the art deco era- being articulated with graduated rings. Most nested canister sets of the period have simple smooth lids, with a central cast-in knob. [See previous posts for myriad examples!]

For sale; $AUD95

Buy Now