I have a rather large collection of retro scales. So far I have posted Australian scales [Salter -50s and Persinware-60s] but the collection also includes these lovely metal German scales. Scales are both functional and beautiful – as long as the measuring bowl is intact [and one must make sure it’s the original bowl as well.]
These scales weigh items up to 25 lbs [approx. 11.5kg] in 2 ounce increments. The scales are completely made of metal- bowl included, and they are original – not reproduction- scales, in that the scale is imperial only. Kitchen scales that feature both imperial and metric scales were made post 1972 and are considered reproduction.
The scales show a little bit of wear and tear from a life of service in a kitchen, but there is no corrosion or deterioration of the material and the weight measure is accurate. As is typical, there is an adjustment knob at the rear to allow one to correct for the weight of the bowl itself.
Four lemons and a lime weight 1lb 7oz. The duck is just along for the ride. For sale: $AUD75
Following my last post where the origin of xylonite was [briefly] explained : here’s my second collection.
Here we see hinged boxes: the top, ‘piano’ box would have housed jewellery, as would the lower two boxes [the ring box still contains it’s beige velvet interior and closing mechanism.]
The brush and penknife have jumped in from the last post; but are now shown with a cut-throat razor and hand-held mirror.
As noted in the last post, xylonite deteriorates with time and exposure to direct sunlight. These pieces are in fantastic condition for their age [and careful storage away from the Australian sun.] The piano box is particularly pristine.
Xylonite was first produced in 1875 – to imitate ivory. It was the first thermoplastic made – as an ivory substitute it was first used for knife handles and jewellery, then all manner of domestic products. Xylonite has tiny parallel striations of yellow and bone- which gives it a faux ivory look- although, interestingly- this was an accident. The manufacturers were attempting to create a timber-look-alike, so named the new celluloid product xylonite – ‘xylon’ being Greek for wood.
Whatever, the production of xylonite saved much real ivory being used. I first became interested in xylonite when I was researching bakelite [after first becoming interested in resin.] So I now have an abiding interest/affection for all types of vintage plastics.
This set of xylonite illustrates how- over time [and exposure to direct sunlight] the normally off-white plastic colour starts to yellow. And this is in excellent condition!- it is of course a hundred years old. The set comprises four lidded ladies boudoir containers, a boudoir tray, hair brush and pen knife and a gentleman’s stud container sans lid.
For the Xylonite collectors, this set is for sale: $AU325
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. 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!
I recently found another retractable clothes line: this one is plastic, later in date, and made in England; coloured beige and green. The mechanism is exactly the same, but the handle has been modified- this is a 50s version. Surely there is a collector of indoor washing lines out there; Washingalia?
I have a ‘thing’ for Mulga wood- I’ve featured quite a bit of it on the blog. Mulga wood was used in 1940-50s for souvenir works as it is a hardwood –unusual in a native from the wattle family – and was considered ‘export quality’. The timber is cut and arranged to show off its famous bi-colouring, as seen in these ‘beehive’ bookends.
These are ‘beehive’ bookends in the classic shape: it was a popular form in the 50s and seen in everything from knitting guages to car manufactures logos- to –of course- hairstyles.
The hardwood was first turned on a lathe, then cut in half to form bookends with a straight edge; then polished to a gloss. Often example of the bark was retained- as seen in these bookends- to contrast with the high glass finish. And the weight of the hardwood makes for excellent book ends; nothing is going to push these babies over.
Humphrey B. Bear porridge bowl,
made in Australia 1983
This is a porridge bowl: featuring Humphrey B. Bear; star of the Here’s Humphrey! television show since 1965.
Humphrey is a partially clothed bear [famously- he wears a hat, waistcoat, collar and tie, but no pants] – who cannot speak. So- each show in the Magic Forest is narrated. Humphrey just has to gesticulate and wildly nod his head to enact his part. But- again- famously- the costume is so heavy that the actor playing Humphrey is actually a trained dancer.
Humphrey is now ‘heritage listed’ and a ‘national icon’. He has won a couple of Logies.
All without speaking a word. Maybe- just maybe- that is the secret to his success. There are many Humphrey B Bear collectors out there.
This porridge bowl, by Thomas Trent [backstamp c.1983] is in great vintage condition, and is for sale: $AU15
A lovely pair of silver plated toast racks- great for toast [obviously] but they also make terrific letter/card holders. Some people still get snail-mail, right? Even bills look great in these beauties!
The rack on the left is in fine fettle- silver plate intact; the second is down to the base metal. Both exhibit fine 20s shapes and handles, and have their silver plate hallmarks. The repetition of the racks is beautiful, and the two of the racks together makes a lovely ensemble.
Currently these do service for my partner and I – hers is of course the full plate rack; it houses mail, protest march pamphlets and tradesman business cards, whilst mine [the humbler of the two] houses bills, trades magazines and council newsletters. And the odd vintage book or picture to keep things interesting.
I once saw a BBC ‘Antiques Roadshow’ program which featured a toast rack collector. She said they were cheap, small, easy to display and came in infinite varieties. Here’s to you – toast rack collector!
The two racks are for sale: $AU45 / $AU20 [or $AU55 for the two- I don’t think I can bear for them to be parted.]
Toothpick holder, and Tasmanian pins
made in Australia, 1960s
Don’t you love a good toothpick holder? Obviously no one uses toothpicks any more- but they make such a good vintage receptacle for pins, hatpins, badges- anything on a stick!
This is a stylised bird toothpick holder that I found in Tasmania. Elsewhere on that same trip I found these fantastic Tasmanian pins- and so put two and two together.
I would love to see this birdy put to use displaying hat pins- so collectable right now. The holder is in terrific vintage condition, never having actually held anything before today- so would make a great receptacle for your pin collection. And- if you are into vintage/Tasmanian pins- so much the better!
This guy holds twelve pins: and is for sale: $AU25 [including pins]
Cluedo – the game- was first released in 1949 and some eight editions later, the last game edition was released in 1992. The 1949 ‘first edition’ games are now highly sought after.
This is a second edition game- made in 1965. It has the ‘magic’ re-useable detective notes; where players can make notations during a game, and then erase afterwards by pulling up the plastic sheet. Thereafter, detective notes came in the form of printed pads- not nearly as fun and much more prosaic!
Not much else changed – the English country house “Tudor Mansion” remained the same in all editions- it is based on a house in Hampshire built in 1926. Although the secret passageway between each rooms is probably a fabrication. And the murderer is always Colonel Mustard, with the candlestick, in the conservatory.
This 1965 edition is entire, in excellent vintage condition, with some minor damage to the box cover – and ready to play. For sale: $AU45
This is an- as new- never been used- breakfast set; two eggcups and salt and pepper shakers. They are made in state-of-the-art plastics; you’ll note the ‘plastic’ chrome feet which were revolutionary in the 60s!
Plastics used for everyday kitchenware was also revolutionary- the space race bought more than just lustreware to the ceramic industry. This set of four was sold to the restaurant industry; the black and white colourings evoked the checkerboard tiles of every diner and milk bar in the western world.
The pieces haven’t been used, and so are in pristine condition- just ready for your use in the 21st Century. They are for sale: $AU25