Xylonite collection #2

Australian xylonite
made in 1910-1920s

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.

This set is for sale: $AU275

Buy Now

Xylonite collection #1

Australian Xylonite 1910-1930sXylonite collection
made in Australia 1910-1920s

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

Buy Now

Xylonite collection

Australian Xylonite 1910-1930sXylonite collection
made in Australia 1910-1930

Following my last post, several readers asked me about Xylonite; so herewith, a sample of some of my xylonite collection.

Xylonite was first produced in 1875 – to imitate ivory. It was the first thermoplastic – 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 the faux ivory look- although, interestingly- this was an accident. The manufacturers were attempting to create a timber-look-a-like, 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.

Mixed bag : black & yellow

Black & yellow- 20s. 50s, 60sMixed bag: yellow and black

A lovely ensemble of retro things united by colour but not by age. The large glass plate- black with gilt roses is 50s, the kitschy banana vase [Grafton= a lovely country town well known for its Jacaranda trees rather than bananas] is 60s and the xylonite box [xylonite is an early plastic made to mimic ivory] is somewhat yellowed and hails from the 20s.

All made in Australia and all having different provenance; I collected the items one by one. All fine examples of their type: glass, ceramic [kitsch] and xylonite. The xylonite box is somewhat distressed, but has working hinges and the box lid still fits well- the celluloid flower on its lid is unusual and that will be attractive to xylonite collectors.

The mixed bag collection is for sale: $AUD85

Buy Now