Sellex bakelite picnic teacups
made in Australia, c.1940s
I have quite a collection of Australian bakelite – and a representative sample has appeared on this blog – pieces ranging from kitchen canisters to picnic ware. There were ten companies producing bakelite domestic ware in Australia in the post-war period, and I have examples of them all!
The ten companies are: Nally Eon, Helix Sellex, Iplex, Nylex [names ending with ‘ex’ presumed particularly modern!] Bristilite and Tilly. Here we have a delightful pair of Sellex picnic cups.
The picnic set from which these teacups came was a ‘harlequin’ set- a range of four colours which could be mixed and matched. These cups and saucers show the four colours- and since they are in excellent condition- they should how vibrant the harlequin set was.
Bakelite salt and pepper shakers
made by Sellex and Marquis, in Australia, c.1940s
I have previously posted bakelite salt and pepper shakers – in a grouping of green bakelite picnic ware. I am very fond of these salt and pepper shakers, with their ingenious design – the top and bottom separate to reveal the two shakers; and you can see that the screw-on bases were often different coloured bakelite. This set of six shakers showcases bakelite colours in all its glory…the middle blue and white set colour is called ‘end of day’ – this refers to a mixing of colours that were left – you guessed it- at the end of the working day.
The salt and pepper shakers were made for the picnic basket- the two shakers designed to fit into one piece presumably took up less room in the hamper. The ends screw off to allow the addition of either salt or pepper – which is designated by the number of holes in the pouring end.
For bakelite collectors, and salt and pepper shaker collectors- you know who you are!
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!
The strong colours of these bakelite pieces are quite mesmerising. I don’t think the plates and bowls have ever been used, as they are pristine, with no scratches and no diminishing of those superb colours. I have mentioned before that yellow bakelite is particularly prone to deterioration and ‘mudding’ of its colour, so this set is in particularly good condition. Ironically for picnic ware- I would suggest it’s never seen the light of day!
We can date the plates and bowls to Australia in the 40s due to the ‘rounded-square’ shape, and the edge fluting. And the plates’ markings, which have ‘Sellex Reg.’ in cast lettering on the underside. In a previous post I have discussed Sellex kitchen canisters – they are beautiful also.
This would make a great starter set for the bakelite collector or enthusiast. For sale: $AUD80