10” slide rules Hemmi, made in Japan, c.1954
Aristo, made in Japan, c. 1960
Royal, made in Japan, c.1960
The first slide rulers were developed in the C17th, for mathematical calculations. They were used consistently from this date until 1974, when they were replaced by the scientific calculator. The middle section moves between scales on top and bottom of the scales, and then an independent clear plastic slider is moved to allow the calculation to be read.
These 10” slide rulers [250mm] were made for the office; they are larger and allow more complex calculations that the smaller 5” portable scale rules […yes..they will appear in a previous post…I can’t help it…I love them!]
The Hemmi slide [topmost in the image] has a bamboo structure, with a plastic laminate covering; whilst the later slide rules are all solid plastic. All slide rules come in their own boxes [some with original operating instructions] and some have their original owners names incised on the box.
Lyndale Moss pottery
made in Melbourne, Australia 1950s
It’s Australia Day! Not celebrated or acknowledged by all Australians- but – who could resist this Australiana?
These are Lyndale Moss gum-leaf vases, and a eucalypt vase. It’s the 50s, and nationalism is starting to become a cultural force. Art potteries everywhere are forgoing the English rose for Australian-themed flora. And producing vases in all manner of colours [to suit the 50s décor]: pink, blue, yellow, black, spotted and drip-glazed: but for my money, the lovely matt-white is the best.
Lyndale didn’t sign the pottery- they relied on semi-permanent stickers [in gilt writing, no less] to note the maker. It’s rare that these stickers survived from the 50s, so if you find one with the sticker in-tact- you are sitting on a gold mine.
Happy Australia Day! Wherever and however you celebrate; these vases are for sale: $AU45
Gizmodo calls this the “greatest clock ever made” [http://www.gizmodo.com] and I totally agree. It is both minimalist and futuristic; with Helvetica font for the numbers to boot.
Designed by Gino Valle for Solari di Undine in 1965, the clock has been sold at MOMA, and is featured in the Science Museum in London. In 1970 the clock was priced at US$32 – which is about US$200 nowadays! It was an expensive clock to buy in its day. It was made in white, red and green – and being the 60s that meant pillar box red and emerald – I like the minimalism of the white clock with black & white flip numbers.
I found the clock at the bottom of a box of computer spare parts at a second hand shop. I had no idea if it would work – but figured I could just gaze at its loveliness even if it didn’t. The battery case was clean [no leaky battery to suggest that’s why it was tossed into the box] and the perspex front was unscratched so I took a punt and bought it.
Well- the clock works a treat- and keeps good time…but at midnight turning from 23:59 to 0:00 the hour flip doesn’t flip [the minute flipping continues on.] When I come into the office at 8ish or 9ish each morning I have to reset the hour flip. It’s become a daily ritual- which I quite like. It’s fifty years old so a bit of a pick me up in the morning is quite justified.
Nell McCredie was an architect before she opened her pottery studio in Epping, Sydney in 1932 to make fine art pottery by hand. McCredie continued to produce pottery right up to her death in 1968, and she was interested in art and design in all her work – as she said:
“Pottery-making is definitely an art inasmuch as the design is a purely individual thing. The technique of moulding is mechanical but the conception and execution of a design is an art -a fascinating art.” [Where Pottery is made by Hand, SMH, Oct 20 1936.]
McCredie made vases and domestic ware – often with this distinctive white matt outer glaze and a contrasting coloured shiny interior glaze. The forms were simple and strong, quite different to a lot of 30s and 40s pottery- and often with the ‘ribs’ seen on these vases.
I’ve styled the vases with Waratah and Gerbras- the single colour flower looks fantastic with the monochrome vase. As with all her pottery, the vases are hand-signed on the base: ‘McCredie N.S.W.’
made in Sydney, Australia 1930-1940
Following from my last post, here are some more archetypal works from the Architect-turned-potter Nell McCredie.
Five pieces that evidence McCredie’s idiosyncratic matt white outer-glaze, with a cool green shiny inner glaze. The pieces are: [from back to front] – a gondola vase [with attached frog, as you’d expect]; a posey floating vase; two smaller ‘tulip’ vases and a pin dish [read ‘ashtray’ by a more acceptable name.]
Some of the pieces evidence internal crazing due to age…these pieces were all hand-made eighty years ago. As with all her work, McCredie’s pottery is hand signed on the base: ‘McCredie N.S.W.‘
These five pieces of Australian history are for sale: $AUD245
Peony Ware double handled dish
made in Japan c.1950s
Avid readers of this blog will know that due to my [real] life as a landscape architect, I am a sucker for all things botanical. Especially 50s kitschy botanical. This Peony Ware plate- featuring- Peonies….ticks all the boxes.
Peony Ware started manufacturing slip-cast raised ‘peony’ jugs, plates, tea cups and vases in the 50s as a response to the popularity of Carlton Ware. The quality of the peonies isn’t that of Carlton Ware- although it is hand-painted and the peonies are raised -it was sold as a sort of cheaper version; and only featured peonies. Carlton Ware in the 50s was producing Fox Glove, Wild Rose, Buttercup, Apple Blossom….while Peony Ware pumped out the peonies in every conceivable colour.
This is a double-sided, handled dish- with the peony in a modest cream colour- in excellent condition. It is stamped ‘Peony Ware, made in Japan’ on the underside. I’ve teamed it with a 50s figurine of a dog in a jumpsuit- the colourings and the size of the figurine seem to work well.
I love this group of icons. The colours, the forms, the ensemble. The first, Jesus with a timber fan – cum halo, stands on a polished timber plinth giving the peace sign. The middle icon- hand painted perhaps by someone in a hurry- has Mary with a somewhat shifty look, and Joseph looking like a harried hippy [could that haircut be any more unfortunate?] As for baby Jesus- is it just me, or is he a ventriloquist doll?
The final icon features Mary arms outstretched, standing on an orb that while representing the earth, is the colour of her dress and head scarf, and which itself is on a bakelite plinth. Mary’s face is featureless- it’s all about the clothes- she is just a cipher.
The trio form an interesting group representing religious iconography of the 50s. In Australia. In the 50s.
Jean doll living room furniture
made in West Germany 1960s
After Moishe- from ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ featured in the last post, he requested to appear in this vignette- an arrangement of living room furniture in lovely red and white.
Moishe could have been putting a record on, or lighting the romantic [if oversized] candle- but instead has opted to work the drinks trolley. I have to say he is looking a little peeved here- perhaps the colour palette doesn’t suit him as much? I should have liked to see him wearing a little red and white apron- then he would have fitted right in.
Pyrex coffee serving flask, made in Britain c. 1960s Smiths Ringer kitchen timber, made in Britain c.1960s
Pyrex made coffee percolators- and as see here- coffee serving flasks in Britain, America and Australia in the 60s. Every household had a percolator- which were quite functional in form and styling- and it was only the fancy-pants households that had the more decorative serving flask.
This serving flask is such a product of the 60s- the handle and knob and bakelite, the large chrome band is off-set by the fake timber laminate on the lid. The glass is decorated with a subtle white abstract design: this is a flask that is straddling early and later mid-century modern design ideals.
The kitchen timer [a Smiths Ringer, British made 1960s] is also made of bakelite. This ringer is all precise functionality- two toned- and the bell still works a treat [have not tested it for timing accuracy- may be slightly less than accurate since it’s over fifty years old.] I have featured Smiths Ringers on the blog before- I am somewhat partial to them.
For the retro kitchen- the Pyrex serving flask and kitchen timer are for sale: $AUD75
Semak ‘Vitamizer’ electric blender
made in Melbourne, c.1953
This beautiful bakelite blender is fully functioning – it has starred at many cocktail parties at my house as it’s fantastic for crushing ice and blending drinks. [Haven’t tested its ‘Vitamizer’ qualities, being too far gone on cocktails….]
Later versions of the Vitamizer have a bakelite body and clear glass top, and Semak still makes Vitamizers today, having started the company in 1948. As far as I can ascertain, the fully-bakelite models like this one were only ever made in black and white. Even the electric plug is bakelite.
The Vitamizer works on 240 V /120 W, and has serial number SN 6-510 stamped on the metal base. Perfect for the retro kitchen! For sale: $AUD125