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Art Deco

Sengbusch bakelite double inkwell

This is an absolutely amazing Sengbusch double inkwell desk set made entirely of bakelite except for the glass ink bottles. The bakelite colors are black and deep maroon, both flecked with green. Unit measures 12" long x 5-3/4" deep x 3-3/4" high, and is composed of a black base with center grooved maroon insert and two black domed caps with coordinating front grooves that fit atop two 2-1/8" diameter glass ink bottles with black screw-on lids. The lids are marked “Sengbusch, U.S. Pat. 2,390,667, Made in U.S.A.” and are quite ingenious. Each has a spout. After filling a bottle with ink, you screw on its lid and quickly (and carefully) turn the whole thing over, fitting the spout into an actual little “well” located in the interior bottom front of the bottle holder that’s right below where the pen would rest in the bottle holder’s exterior. Voila! Your pen nib is always resting in a small reservoir of ink! No wonder this mechanism was patented! And by the way, that patent was issued on December 11, 1945. The back of each bottle holder has the remnants of its original black sticker with “Sengbush” in gold script. Gustav J. Sengbusch founded the Sengbusch Self-Closing Inkstand Company in
Milwaukee, WI in 1903. The story goes that he had been a bookkeeper in a Milwaukee wholesale house where one day he upset an inkstand on his ledger sheet, ruining hours of work. Yikes! Something had to be done to improve inkwells, and Mr. Sengbusch set about doing exactly that, changing careers in the process. He obviously loved the Art Deco style, and this gorgeous double inkwell desk set is an outstanding example of his work, both as a designer and an inventor. All pieces are in excellent vintage condition with no dings to the bakelite and no nicks, chips, or cracks to the glass ink bottles. There are a few scratches so common to these vintage bakelite pieces, but nothing that detracts from the overall beauty of this unique and substantial desk set that would be equally at home in either a man’s or woman’s executive office. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $450.00 + s/h and insurance


   only 1 available


Glo-Hill chrome tray with golden browm bakelite handles

Here is a truly lovely Art Deco chrome tray with two-tone brown bakelite feet and handles. The shiny mirror-finish tray measures 10-1/4" x 5-5/8" and features a large shallow center well, but it’s the gorgeous bakelite end pieces that make this tray a work of art. No way can photos do justice to the deep golden brown color. Two joined geometric carvings on each handle reveal the lighter mottled golden hue of the bakelite’s interior. Original paper sticker on the tray’s bottom says this beauty is one of the Gourmates line styled by Glo-Hill of Canada. In 1946, Sol, Paul, and Leo Globus, together with their brother in-law Harry Hill, created the Glo-Hill Corporation in Montreal. The business originally manufactured beautiful carving sets and cutlery, but as it grew, Glo-Hill began diversifying their product line and offering chrome hollowware pieces used in home entertaining. They imported materials from factories located along the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S., such as bakelite and many glass components that were being manufactured by expert glass manufactures like McKee, Glasbake and Jeannette Glass. Paul Globus was considered the stylist for Glo-Hill and it was his ideas that became the exquisite designs and Art Deco styling for which Glo-Hill became famous. Their products were sold throughout Canada in high-end department stores. The company ceased doing business in the 1970s, and their pieces are eagerly sought after by collectors today. Our tray stands 1-3/4" tall with an overall length of 11". Original sticker on the underside that says “Gourmates styled by Glo-Hill Canada.” Excellent vintage condition, with no dings or dents to the chrome and only very light usage scratching. The bakelite is pristine. Be sure to see our other Glo-Hill trays listed on the Chrome page. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $65.00 + s/h

** SOLD **


Cambridge amber glass perfume bottle

This 5" tall Art Deco perfume bottle is made of clear deep amber depression glass. It was produced by the Cambridge Glass Co. during the 1930's and was known as #198. Looking very much like a Greek urn, the bottle features a 1-3/8" diameter wide-lipped mouth, four incised bands around its 1-1/2" diameter shoulder, and seven incised bands around its bottom where it attaches to the 1-3/4" diameter fully banded pedestal base. The faceted stopper is 1-1/2" in diameter at its top and features a ground bottom where it fits into the bottle. We have two of these lovely old perfume bottles and price is for each. Both are in great condition with no nicks, chips, or cracks, although the dauber has broken off of both stoppers. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $100.00 each + s/h and insurance


   only 2 available


Farberware electric coffee pot

Is this a gorgeous coffee pot or what? Produced by Farberware in the mid to late 1930s, this Art Deco electric coffee pot has a shiny chromium finish decorated with an elaborate but tasteful lacy laurel garland etched around the top of its midsection. Double bands encircle the mouth and both the top and bottom of the pedestal base. When lidded, the pot stands 11-1/4" tall from its 3 button feet to the top of its removable rounded octagonal glass knob. It measures 10" across from its gracefully curved spout to its equally graceful black plastic handle. The bottom carries an enormous amount of information, including  “Farberware, S.W. Farber, Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y.,” “Percolator No. 206," “120-volts,” “550 watts,” “”U.S. Pat. 1839329,” “Can. Pat. 325985,” “To avoid damage to heat unit do not set this article in water,” plus instructions on how to renew the fuse. Includes the original stem, coffee basket with lid, and cloth cord. Outstanding exterior condition. No dings or dents on either the pot or the lid, and only very slight surface scratching. The lid fits securely into the pot and the glass knob fits securely into the lid. The interior top of the knob has slight cloudiness, the interior surface of the pot shows coffee staining, and the basket has several small dimples at its bottom perimeter, none of which affects usage or display. No interior markings on either the pot or the basket to show how many cups of coffee this percolator makes, but I’d assume 8-10 based on its size. Whether you actually use this beautiful coffee pot or simply display it with pride, it adds more than merely a “touch” of class to any kitchen or dining room! (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $65.00 + s/h and insurance

** SOLD **


Wilson Specialties aluminum tray

This is a very attractive 12" diameter x 1" deep serving tray by Wilson Specialties Co. that has a definite Art Deco look to its design. The elaborate triangular center pattern is composed of three heart shapes as the sides and three pointed arch shapes as the corners. A 2" border of similar overlapping arches wraps around the perimeter and continues half way up the sides. Very esthetically pleasing. Bottom is marked “Hand Wrought Aluminum” surrounded by a circular “Wilson Specialties Co. Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y.” Shows normal wear consistent with its age, but no actual damage. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $28.00 + s/h


   only 1 available


Sunbeam chrome & bakelite pitcher

What a gorgeous Art Deco pitcher! Its shiny chrome finished exterior is encircled by 4 inlaid bands of black bakelite and it also has a black bakelite handle and lid knob. Pitcher stands 7-1/2" tall at its graceful spout lip with diameters of 3-1/4" at its mouth and 3-3/8" at its base. It measures 6" across from its spout to its 4-3/4" long black bakelite handle that’s vertically ribbed for easy gripping and lifting – a very good idea since this heavy pitcher weighs 28-1/2 oz empty! Flip-open hinged lid is marked “Sunbeam” and the pitcher bottom says “Chicago Flexible Shaft Company, Chicago, U.S.A., Design Patent No. D-92668” with another 6 underneath. Chicago Flexible Shaft Company, founded in the early 1890s, became Sunbeam in 1946. The pitcher design was patented in 1934 by Michael W. McArdle. Perfect size for a bar pitcher, this Art Deco beauty is in great vintage condition with no dings or dents. A few little rough places on the spout and around the rim where the lid has come in constant contact with it. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $80.00 + s/h


   only 1 available


Silver plated pickle forks - Oneida Ltd.

This is a pair of 6" silver plated pickle forks (or long handled cocktail forks) by Oneida Ltd. I have been unable to identify the pattern, but it has a definite Art Deco look to it. Backs of both handles are stamped “Oneida Ltd.” Both forks are in amazingly good condition with very few signs of usage. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $25.00 + s/h and insurance


   only 1 pair available


West Bend Penguin hot/cold server

This West Bend “Penguin” hot/cold server makes the perfect ice bucket, but could just as easily be used as a bun warmer or for any number of other purposes. It has a distinctly Art Deco look with its round shape, large brown bakelite lid knob, and curved brown bakelite handles. Made of chrome plated aluminum, the 5-1/2" tall bucket’s mirror finish exterior features a row of four raised penguins marching around each side, identifying it as one of West Bend’s Penguin line of products first introduced in 1941. Bucket is 4-1/2" deep with diameters of 7" at its mouth and 5" at its base that has three little knob feet. Interior is brushed aluminum. Bottom is marked with the West Bend Penguin logo and also shows the patent number. 2-piece unit measures 9-3/4" across from handle to handle and stands just shy of 9" tall when lidded. The West Bend Aluminum Co. was incorporated in 1911 by five West Bend, WI businessmen led by Bernhardt C. Ziegler and two skilled tool-and-die makers. Each of the 7 men put up $1,000 to start the company. Within weeks they had rented an old button factory on the banks of the Milwaukee River for $8.50 a month and had acquired a lathe, shaper, and drill press, quickly followed by a draw press able to turn out 15 kinds of utensils. After ordering 3,000 pounds of aluminum from Pennsylvania, they hired several employees and went into business, first exhibiting West Bend products at a 1913 hardware association meeting in Milwaukee. Their first big customer was Sears, Roebuck and Co. which purchased 40-50% of West Bend’s products up through 1919. A privately held company until 1968, West Bend is still in business today in West Bend, WI as a wholly owned subsidiary of Premark International, Inc. Our vintage Penguin server is in outstanding condition with no dings, dents, or interior discoloration, and looks virtually unused. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $50.00 + s/h


   only 1 available


Trio of Art Deco dresser bottles

This is a matched trio of beautiful Art Deco dresser bottles with gold tone screw-on lids with black interiors. The faceted corners of the clear glass bottles are long tapering pyramids that end in a point at the shoulder, and the two sides have slightly shorter sculpted concave arch pyramids. The gold tone lids have downward pyramids at their corners and sculpted concave arched pyramids on all four sides. Their tops are also concave. Standing 6-1/4" tall when lidded, the clear glass bottles measure 2-1/4" x 1-1/2" at their bases and are 1-1/2" square at their shoulders. All three bottles are full (I’m unfamiliar with the very pleasant fragrance), unmarked, and in perfect condition with no nicks, chips, or cracks. Two of the lids are also in perfect condition and the third has slight scuffing on one side. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $60.00 + s/h and insurance


   only 1 set available


Kensington Dover aluminum bread tray

This vintage Kensington bread tray is Lurelle Guild’s Dover design #7155 and dates to ca. 1935. Charles Martin Hall, a chemist, and Alfred Hunt, a metallurgist, founded the Pittsburgh Reduction Company in 1888, changing its name to the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) in 1907. Alcoa introduced their Kensington Ware line at the Chicago Gift Show in July, 1934. Designed by famed modernist designer Lurelle Guild (1898-1986) in the Art Deco style, Kensington giftware was made of an aluminum alloy that was whiter in color than pure aluminum. Guild also designed a new showroom in New York’s RCA Building where the Kensington line was introduced to New Yorkers in August of 1934. He continued as Alcoa’s chief designer throughout the '30s and '40s. Kensington giftware, manufactured in New Kensington, PA, was discontinued after WWII, although other sources say it was produced until 1970. Guild’s work, including his classic '50s streamlined Electrolux vacuum cleaner – my folks had one of the first ones! – can be found today in the Brooklyn Museum’s Luce Center for American Art. Our lovely bread tray measures 13-1/2" across at its pineapple motif handles x 6" x 1-1/4" high. Bottom is marked with the Kensington script and stag head logo. Still very shiny, and only light scratching appropriate to its age. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $65.00 + s/h and insurance


   only 1 available


Set of 6 Art Deco steak knives

This is a set of 6 Tablemates steak knives with beautiful Art Deco handles in a butterscotch and black marble pattern. Knives are 8-3/4" long with stainless steel blades marked “De-Luxe Tablemates, Made by Craftsmen, Stainless Steel.” Perfect condition and look like they’ve never been used. Blades are sharp with no broken points and handles have no splits or nicks. Come in their original “gold” box with “gold” vein white lid that is split at two corners. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $50.00 + s/h and insurance


  only 1 set available


Irice Art Deco black onyx perfume bottle

This beautiful Irice Art Deco perfume bottle is 2-1/2" x 1-3/4" and stands 4-1/2" tall to the top of its chevron-style stopper. Bottle has four wraparound stepped flares on each side of a faceted center panel. Both the bottle and stopper are in Irice’s famous matte finished black onyx. Unmarked 1-7/8" x 1-1/2" diamond-shaped base. Perfect condition with no nicks, chips, cracks, or scratches. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $45.00 + s/h and insurance


   only 1 available


Art Deco

Art Deco was a popular international design movement from 1910 until 1940, affecting the decorative arts such as architecture, interior design, and industrial design, as well as the visual arts such as fashion, painting, the graphic arts, and film. Its popularity peaked in Europe during the Roaring Twenties and continued strongly in the United States through the 1930s and into the 1940s. At the time, this style was seen as elegant, functional, and modern.

Art Deco structure is based on mathematical geometric shapes. Unlike the sinuous natural curves of the Art Nouveau period which preceded it, Art Deco features sweeping curves, stepped forms, chevron patterns, and sunburst motifs. It was widely considered to be an eclectic form of elegant and stylish modernism, influenced by a variety of sources, including the so-called “primitive” arts of Africa, Ancient Egypt, and Aztec Mexico, as well as machine-age or streamline technology such as modern aviation, electric lighting, the radio, the ocean liner and the skyscraper. These design influences were expressed in fractionated, crystalline, faceted forms, as well as trapezoidal, zigzagged, geometric, and jumbled shapes. Art Deco is characterized by the use of materials such as aluminium, stainless steel, chrome, lacquer, inlaid wood, and bakelite.

Speaking of bakelite, did you know that Leo Hendrik Baekeland, a Belgian chemist, invented bakelite? (He also invented Velox photographic paper in 1893, ultimately selling his Velox patent to George Eastman, president of Kodak, for $1 million.) Emigrating to America in 1889, Baekeland applied for his bakelite patent on July 13, 1907, and it became patent number 942699 on December 7, 1909. Bakelite was the first true synthetic plastic, making it inexpensive, nonflammable, and very versatile. It immediately took America by storm because not only could it hold its shape after being heated, it also had great insulation and heat-resistant properties. Bakelite quickly became the darling of the Art Deco period and soon was being used to produce everything from radios to telephones to electrical insulators to household appliances to jewelry.

Art Deco was an opulent style, and its lavishness is attributed to reaction to the forced austerity imposed by World War I. Its rich, festive character fitted it for “modern” contexts, including the Golden Gate Bridge, interiors of cinema theaters, and ocean liners. Art Deco was employed extensively throughout America’s train stations in the 1930s, designed to reflect the modernity and efficiency of the train.

Eventually, the Art Deco style was cut short by the austerities of World War II, but in colonial countries such as India and the Philippines, it became a gateway for Modernism and continued to be used well into the 1960s.

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