Skyline kitchen utensils
made in England c.1930-1940s
These kitchen utensils are all timber handled [with the exception of the chip cutter in the middle.] Skyline utensils were imported to Australia post war, with the selling point that the handles were colour-coded to describe their function. From L to R : knife sharpener, potato mashed, crinkle-cut chip cutter, pizza cutter, egg whisk, pastry blender.
The utensils are still going strong, the stainless steel blades and whisks equal to modern utensils- and so could be used in today’s kitchens. They are also highly collectible.
Bessemer products – made from melamine – were made by the Nylex Melmac Corporation which started production in the mid 60s. These beautiful pieces were designed by Lionel Suttie-an industrial designer-and were produced in Melbourne until the mid 70s.
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 sugar bowl could make a design statement. And this set of three- two lidded condiment containers and a jug- is rare in that it is white and has never been used.
This set can be used as intended- melamine is a strong plastic resistant to scratching and the set is ‘as new’ – or they can form part of a funky 70s display. I have teamed them with a hand-woven white and green raffia oil bottle- also c. 1970s- as a visual contrast.
Think the Beatles White Album [1968.] Think the white Bessemer series; for sale: $AUD55
Diana casserole dish, made in Sydney 1950s Fowler Ware mixing bowl, made in Sydney 1950s Alfred Meakin serving bowls, made in England 1950s
A collection today united by colour and age- rather than by maker. The 50s colourings of baby blue, pastel pink and pastel yellow are exemplified by this grouping. Mix the ingredients in the mixing bowl, cook in the casserole dish and then serve on the serving bowls- tuna casserole anyone?
My own kitchen is a mixture of contemporary cooking appliances and retro kitchen pieces- but I choose retro which is still functional. And that’s the case with this collection- looks good, works just as well as it did in the 50s. The only caveat is: no dishwasher for retro pieces- wash by hand.
Sticking with the photography theme of posts past, but deviating somewhat from my retro mania- how cool is this Diana+ lomography camera?
Made by lomography, an American company, this is a recreation of the 60s cult classic Diana camera, which was designed to compete with Kodak Instantmatics. The whole camera was plastic, including the lens, which meant it didn’t compete so well. The plastic camera also let in light, which at the time was a nuisance –now however lomographists the world over embrace the ‘dreamlike characteristics light spill’ lends to a photo.
This vignette is completed with a classic 50s photographic image tray [those roses- much retouched!] and a wire covered bottle. A mixed metaphor, to be sure…but I think the colour combinations work well together.
I appreciate that the Diana+ camera is the standout of the group [cost wise] so please let me know if you would like to buy it separately. This set is for sale: $AUD75
Fitz & Floyd ‘Dutch girl’ salt & pepper shakers
made in Japan, c.1960s.
Fitz and Floyd, based in America, has been producing quirky/novelty ceramics for the last fifty years…and now their 60s items have become ‘retro’ and are collectible. I can’t say that I care for a vast majority of it – but – how can you not have some affection for shakers that dispense salt and pepper OUT THEIR EYES? Retro novelty item just moved right on over to: _kitsch!
Yes, these restrained Dutch girls, with their stylised dress and facial details POUR CONDIMENTS out their EYES. Whoever designed these little beauties was into some illicit substances. Heavy illicit substances.
For your retro dinner table / you’ll never look the same way at Dutch girls again.
Persinware #710 domestic scales
made in Australia, c.1960s
This pair of metal scales come with their original plastic measuring bowls- an elongated oval in dark green, and an apple-green rounded bowl with pouring lip. The white enamel is a little scuffed in places, evidencing their role in the kitchens of Australia for the last fifty-or so- years. Both scales are still accurate [I have tested them against a digital 2013 scale] and weigh things up to ten pounds, by 1 oz increments. The scales have an adjusting knob on the back, to allow for the weight of the bowl itself.
The elongated oval bowl on the left is now very collectible- as they are becoming increasingly rare.
Lemons and limes look particularly good in the green bowls. The scales make fantastic fruit bowls! If green isn’t your colour, I do have a couple of other Persinware scales with red, orange and yellow bowls… For sale: $AUD90
The ubiquitous daisy- symbol of the 60s- is stylised and showcased on these Terra Ceramics pieces. Terra Ceramics was proudly Australian, and they have imbued their daisies with the colours of the bush- olive greens, tans and browns. This set comprises a pair of stoppered oil/vinegar jars and a matching bowl. The bowl is asymmetrical- a stylised gum leaf shape.
The pieces are stamped “Terra Ceramics Australia, Terama hand painted”. It’s now unusual to find hand painted ceramics- and if you look at the three individual pieces you can see subtle differences in the hand-painters work.
I recently found a matching Daisy ramekin- but since there is but one, I didn’t include it in this photo. However, if you’d like this set I will throw in the ramekin [let me know]….for sale $AUD60.
Fowler Ware pudding bowls
made in Australia, c.1940s
Fowler Ware created industrial pottery in Glebe, Sydney commencing in the 1840s. After WWII, Fowler Ware moved to producing pottery for the domestic market : their pudding bowls were so popular that they opened a second pottery to cope with the demand.
This image shows the range of colours and sizes the pudding bowls were made in [although I haven’t included the largest size, or the off-white coloured bowls, the subject of the next post.] The bowls and are still fit for purpose : I received a lovely christmas pudding made in one of these bowls- and after eating the pudding – I got to keep the bowl!
Six assorted sized bowls: green, yellow, grey, crimson, blue. For sale : $AUD120
Diana Flannel flower pottery
made in Marrickville, Sydney c.1954
Some more of my Diana collection. I have mentioned before that the Flannel Flower is the floral emblem of NSW [and has been associated with this State since Federation in 1901.] Diana pottery in the 50s produced a number of Sydney specific floral emblems on vases, pots and kitchen cookware– and some – like these Flannel flowers- were all hand painted.
This set comprises: a lidded casserole dish [hand painted with ‘28’ on the base] a stovetop pan [‘9’ on base] and a large baking dish [‘6’ on base] –these all have the ‘scroll handle’ that Diana used on many of its kitchenware. These pieces are all ovenproof, although I don’t think any of these has seen the inside of an oven. The pie dish [has ‘1’ on base] and the large serving platter [“4”] found out the set.
All pieces are in perfect condition with the exception of the large platter which has a small nick in its rim. For Diana collectors, or Flannel flower devotees, this set is for sale: $AUD250