60s browny goodness

Graham Kerr lazy susan, Vogue plate, Mikasa jugGraham Kerr lazy susan, made in New Zealand, c.1960s
Vogue patterned melamine plate, made in Australia c.1960s
Mikasa jug, made in Japan, c.1960s

And now for something a little different- a collection of items connected by colour, and age.

You may remember the Galloping Gourmet, Graham Kerr? The original TV Masterchef. It not, then perhaps this quote from the introduction to one of his cookbooks from 1971 might jog your memory:

“To millions he was TV’s clumsily ingratiating Galloping Gourmet, a master of sauces and saucy innuendo…”

He seems to have also produced a line in timber veneer lazy susans, to which he added his name in fancy gold script. This lazy susan still works a treat- they made sturdy ball bearings in the 60s. It would be great to have it in the centre of one’s dining table, holding saucy-sauces for your dining companions’ pleasure!

The Vogue plate is a ‘squircle’- a round-edged square shape and it features a lovely abstract composition of cooking paraphernalia. And the lovely caramel/two-toned jug by Mikasa [“oven to table to dishwasher”, #c4800] completes the collection.

A lovely trio of browny-60s goodness. This set is for sale: $AUD65

Buy Now


Bessemer platter, made in Australia 1970s
Vogue jugs, made in Australia 1970s

I have posted 70s melamine ware previously- I am drawn to the colours and forms of these beautifully designed pieces.  I collect two Australian manufacturers- Bessemer and Vogue.

Bessemer products – made from melamine – were made by the Nylex Melmac Corporation which started production in the mid 60s. This beautiful platter [and the subject of previous posts, I have collected a lot of Bessemer!] was designed by Lionel Suttie, an industrial designer.

It’s interesting that Mr Suttie is remembered as Bessemer’s lead designer: this was the first time that tableware made from plastic [melamine] was thought to be worthy of design – with an illustrative art statement. The platter certainly pays homage to late mid-century modernist design in its colours and abstract forms.

Bessemer is now quite collectable: I have seen some incredible prices on items in ‘antique’ shops. I’m not sure I can come at the idea of retro collectables being antiques, but clearly others can. Bessemer rates a mention in Adrian Franklin’s Retro: A Guide to the mid-20th Century Design Revival [2011, NewSouth Publishing.]

While Bessemer led the way, employing an industrial designer to design tableware, Vogue followed suit. ‘Vogue Australia’ is imprinted on the bottom of these jugs; since the manufacturer name Vogue was also used in North America, at about the same time.

The platter and jugs can be used as intended- melamine is a strong plastic resistant to scratching and these pieces are ‘as new’ – or they can form part of a funky 70s display. 70s melamine is totally collectable.

The platter and jugs are for sale: $AU45
Buy Now

Vogue tea for one!

Vogue tea cup & saucerVogue cup and saucer, made in England 1950s
ESPN tea strainer, made in Australia 1940s

This lovely pink bone china cup and saucer, made by Vogue in the 50s, was also made in powder blue and pastel yellow [who woulda thought?- it being the 50s!?!] In a nod to classic convention, the subtly scalloped edge to the cup rim and handle, and the saucer is gilt. Definitely NOT one for the dishwasher.

The cup and saucer is teamed with a silver-plated tea strainer which has ‘cosmetic wear’ [a recently learnt term- I take it to mean that the item has lived a full life.] The strainer has a rather endearing enamelled badge featuring Goulburn Courthouse [Goulburn being a regional town, south of Sydney- with the courthouse designed by the renowned Government Architect James Barnet in 1881.]

The strainer shows art deco affectations to its handles- a sign of nostalgia for the 20s when tea was drunk across the British Empire- without the reality of war. The enamelled badge marks it as souvenirware- the sort of thing to buy for Auntie Madge when making the big trip down to Goulburn.

The Vogue cup & saucer is in excellent condition, while the tea strainer has ‘cosmetic wear’. This set is for sale: $AUD65

Buy Now