Bakelite domestica

Nally blue bakelite tray, made in Sydney, Australia  c.1940s
Dalson Products bakelite retractable washing lines, made in Melbourne, Australia c.1940s

And now for some more bakelite domestica!

This lovely speckled blue and white bakelite tray has distinctive art deco styling, with its embossed sunburst pattern. The speckled form of bakelite was often used with blue pieces- it has been noted previously [see ‘blue bakelite post, below] that blue bakelite is prone to break down to a murky brown colour. One solution was to mix the blue bakelite with another colour- usually a neutral colour- to help disguise any such deterioration.

The tray has performed well at many cocktail soirees, and I can attest to the understated glamour it brings to any occasion.

The three retractable washing lines are also very cute. They were made for the interior hanging of clothes. When I first spotted one, I assumed it was a plumb bob- albeit a retractable one. Being retractable meant that one could wash and hang clothes on a rainy day, or it was used when travelling. The winding mechanism is working well on all three – and I like that the manufacturer’s name is cast into the contrasting bakelite winding handle. One could certainly use them today – for retro travel in style!          For sale: $AUD85

Buy Now

Nally picnic cups [sold]

Nally picnic cupsNally bakelite picnic cups
made in Sydney, Australia, c.1940s

I love bakelite and have collected Australian bakelite domestic and photographic ware for some time. Nally first started bakelite production in 1923 and was one of the first in Australia to do so. The factory was in Glebe, Sydney.

These picnic cups are unusual in that the cup sits in a doughnut-shaped, curved saucer, and the two pieces were priced and sold separately. Nally’s advertising blurbs of the time made much of the fact that replacement pieces could always be bought, and as the cups and saucers were ‘harlequin’ [ie: different colours] they could be mixed and matched. And it’s true- the cup and saucer sets don’t look half as attractive when they are mono-toned.

The cups -and saucers- ‘nest’ for ease of transport, and what about those funky handles! Very modernist for the 40s! And the colours seem more 50s to me: pink, powder blue, cream, yellow and vibrant red.

For sale: $AUD75