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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Retro Ice buckets

Ice bucket collection

I collected these ice buckets because I loved the idea of using them with the bakelite blender [the ‘Vitamizer’, posted below] at cocktail parties. I am very partial to a martini, which while not strictly needing a blender, does require the service of an ice bucket. The blender was good for making frozen daiquiris, which my guests favoured. Either way – an ice bucket was totally necessary, and who wants to use a modern one?

I have ended up with a few ice buckets…and in researching these, I found quite a few avid collectors out there. People collect ice buckets. And why not- they look fantastic displayed together [and they’re good for storing ice…amongst other things…]

The bucket to the left in the image is made from Scandinavian teak, and has matching tongs.  The red plastic bucket has a brass handle, and has matching tongs. The only ice bucket with any branding – the Dia Ice Pail, made by Dia Vacuum bottle Industries Co. Ltd, is anodised aluminium and steel [with a ‘vacuum’ white plastic interior] and it comes with…you guessed it…matching tongs. Matching tongs are so important at a cocktail party.

For sale: $AUD75

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Studio glass paperweights

60s studio glass paperweightsStudio glass paperweights
made in Australia, c. 1960s

These two paperweights show the 60s fascination with the ‘controlled bubbles’ glass technique. Controlled bubbles turned up in objects as diverse as vases, ashtrays and objects de art.  And paperweights.

Paperweights seem slightly redundant in these days of the ‘paperless’ office. But how lovely do these studio glass pieces look backlit on the windowsill? The pig paperweight has a deep blue interior and graduated bubbles and the round paperweight has a deep red interior and random bubbles. Click on the image for a larger view and admire the colours and bubbles!

Both pieces are unsigned, which is not unusual in art pieces of the 60s, but I have it on good authority that the pieces are Australian. Murano glass in Italy, and art glass makers in France, Britain and America were all producing controlled bubbled pieces in the 60s.

There are many paperweight collectors out there [check out www.paperweight.org] and museums dedicated to collecting and exhibiting paperweights. From the Paperweight Collectors Association I learnt that there are three periods of paperweight collecting:

The Classic Period [1840-1880] – mostly French made
The Folk Art Period [1880-1940] and
The Contemporary Period [1940 to present]

A very venerable history! These two very collectible paperweights are for sale: $AUD105

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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!

Soda syphons

Soda syphons
made in West Germany, and England c.1970s

Following on from the cocktail themes of recent posts, these soda syphons are a must have for the retro bar. The red syphon is unbranded, but marked ‘West Germany’ on the base, and the yellow syphon – although similarly unbranded, was made by Sparklets in England. Both syphons have a 1 litre capacity, have their original cartridge holders, and come with a box of Sparklets cartridges. I love the 70s image of mother and children contemplating the delights of making soda water on the Sparklets box!

The syphons are anodised aluminium and in good condition and working order. I can’t give any guarantees that the Sparklets cartridges still work…they are over thirty years old, but luckily soda cartridges are still available to buy as the design hasn’t changed.

Elsewhere on this blog I have showcased old glass soda syphons, made in Australia. If you are interested in syphons, and their history- read on!

These syphons are for sale: $AUD75

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Red bakelite s&p

Bakelite salt and pepper shakers
made by Marquis, Nally, Eon in Australia, c.1940s

I have previously posted bakelite salt and pepper shakers – twice- first in a grouping of green examples and then in a grouping of multi-coloured examples. Here we have a collection of red s&p. They were made to be included in the picnic basket- an everyday object made in a newly-developed plastic- that wouldn’t break in the great outdoors.

I am very fond of the ingenious design of the first two shakers – the top and bottom separate to reveal the two shakers; and you can see that the screw-on bases were often different coloured bakelite. These shakers were made by Marquis; and are impressed with ‘cat 729’.

The next pair of shakers were made by Nally: they are quite distinctive with black bakelite screw lids; and the last set of shakers- although not marked, are by Eon.

For bakelite collectors, and salt and pepper shaker collectors- you know who you are!

For sale: $AUD115

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Christmas kitchen canisters

Kitchen canisters, 1960sKitchen canisters
made in Australia 1960s

I’ve posted an image of our kitchen previously: I have been collecting these glass canisters FOREVER. I like them because you can see what food stuff is contained within: and because they were made in the 50s the glass is thick and the seal is strong. These canisters can be repurposed to contain anything that needs an air-tight seal.

I also like the canisters because my partner’s family actually bought them – every Christmas- filled with sugared almonds or salted nuts. So she has an association with them too. Now our kitchen is replete with them.

The lids were made in bakelite up until the 50s – then – every colour of plastic lid was used. This is especially helpful now in the kitchen: as I associate flour with red, baking soda with yellow, sugar with green…

I have several here in Christmas colours. The glamour! The five canisters are for sale: $AU100

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70s water jugs

70s whiskey water jugsWhiskey water jugs,
made in Australia, England and France, 1970s

These are whiskey water jugs – and they are both practical and highly collectable. They are ‘advertisement’ jugs 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! the70s, when advertising and impressing people was so easy!

The White Horse Scotch Whiskey jug was made by Wade; the Haig Scotch Whiskey jug was made by Carlton Ware- and has a beautiful integral handle and fantastic 70s square-shaped styling. The last jug is now quite rare: a Marie Brizard Liquers de France, made by Digoin – with a fabulous pouring spout.

All jugs are in fantastic vintage condition- with the slight exception of the Marie Brizard, which has some wear to the print on the reverse of the jug.

I also have some 60s whiskey jugs: a Rene Briand Brandy jug marked ‘Ceramica E. Piloa, Carpignano S.’ and a McCallum’s jug with the usual Wade branding. You really can’t have too many whiskey jugs!

These jugs are for sale: $AUD45 each.

Bakelite picnic & measuring cups

Selex and Helix bakelite picnic and measuring cupsBakelite picnic and measuring cups
made by Sellex and Helix, in Australia c. 1940-1950

These bakelite pieces have retained their wonderful colour, and work beautifully as a set. The set of 5 nested picnic cups in green and the large red measuring cup have an ‘inverted beehive’ shape, and both were made by Sellex. The red measuring cup measures 1 cup on its upper rim, then ½, 1/3, and ¼ cups on the graduated rings of the ‘beehive’.

The set of blue measuring cups are by Helix, and measure ½, 1/3 and ¼ cups. I thought perhaps the larger 1 cup was missing from the set, but apparently Helix only ever made a set of three measuring cups, in this style. It was the 40s and bakelite was costly to produce- it was considered an extravagance to make a 1 cup measure when you had a perfectly good ½ cup measure that could be used twice!

I recently found another set of Helix graduated measuring cups in red- they fit right in with this colourful kitchenalia set of bakelite pieces.

This collection is for sale: $AU95 [and another set of red Helix measuring cups available upon request.]

retrohome : 70s accessories

Caroma 'Bath Mates' towel ring, 1970sCaroma towel ring
made in South Australia, 1970s

Keeping in the 70s- what a delightful era for OTT design- here are towel rings : pillar box red and deep apple green in original boxes. A perfect square houses a perfect circle- the paired back geometry then made in an outrageous colour – this is the epitome of 70s design [and now available for your bathroom!]

Made by Caroma, these ‘Bath Mates’ come with all the hardware to install: think of the contemporary bathroom all subdued white surfaces and then one crazy statement piece- the towel ring! Or- add to your retro 70s bathroom with an authentic piece or two. As it says on the box: this is ‘The Crowning Touch’!

This collection came from a closing-down hardware store; there are 2 pillar box red, 2 deep apple green and two royal blue towel rings- so pairs of the rings are a possibility. Originally they also came in mission brown and bright orange [so very 70s.]

The towel rings are for sale: $AUD10 each or $AUD18 for a pair + postage.