Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rosenthal-Netter Italian Ceramic Bowl

What an awesome find!!

We just ran across this amazing, mid-centrury, Italian ceramic bowl, and it turns out it is a Rosenthal-Netter commissioned bowl from the early '60's. Not sure if it was made for Rosenthal-Netter by Bitossi or a different Italian ceramics firm from that time period.

On the bottom, the bowl is marked, "Italy" with a stylized "T" that crosses over most of the word. There is also a marking of "49/6B". The bowl does not have the original Rosenthal-Netter sticker on it, but we have seen the same style bowl, with the same stylized "Italy" and "49/6B", and a vase of the same pattern, both with the "Created in Italy for Rosenthal-Netter, Inc." tag. Based on what we have seen, we are confident that this is indeed a Rosenthal-Netter piece.

Italian ceramics from the '50's and '60's are, at times, difficult, if not impossible, to identify correctly without the labels. Even with the labels, the maker or designer of a piece may not be stated.

There does seem to be some confusion, though, about Rosenthal-Netter, another company called Raymor, and Italian pottery from the '50's and '60's. Many people think that Rosenthal-Netter and Raymor created ceramic pieces. They did not. They were US importers of Italian ceramic items.

Both Rosenthal-Netter and Raymor imported pieces from Bitossi and other Italian ceramics makers. In addition to commissioning some special pieces, they also bid for stock pieces. Because of this, some pieces imported by Rosenthal-Netter can look very similar to pieces imported by Raymor.

Another area of confusion is with the Italian makers themselves, notably, Bitossi.

Often times people refer to Bitossi as a designer, but Bitossi was a manufacturer of ceramics. The head designer at Bitossi during the '50's and '60's was Aldo Londi. Of course, not all Bitossi pieces were designed by Aldo Londi so a Bitossi piece may not be an Aldo Londi piece.

Confusing? You bet.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Stunning, 1940's, Art Deco Styled, Manning-Bowman Chrome Coffee Set

Amazing, art deco style, chrome coffee serving set, ca. 1940's, from Manning-Bowman. Percolator coffee server holds 12 cups and has beautiful curved-top wooden handles, curved wood feet and four sets of ribbed rings. The pour spout handle has the same curved wood shape as the side handles. The cream and sugar feature half-circle wood handles and matching ribbed rings at the base. Long chrome tray has sleek curved wood handles for carrying and wood, bun feet.

This is a standout set that would look wonderful in any art deco collection.

This coffee set is manufactured by Manning-Bowman. Manning-Bowman made many different styles of coffee makers and other home appliances. The '30's, '40's and '50's were pretty much their heyday. We've seen many of their ads in old Life magazines.

The percolator has a new cord, and it works. We tried it out with just water, no coffee, and it started to "perc" in less than a minute.

This set is in wonderful vintage condition. There is some pitting on the outside of the percolator, but hardly noticeable. There are some light scratches on the tray where the pieces rest, but nothing deep. Cream and sugar look almost brand new. There are no cracks in any of the wood.

Available on our Etsy site:

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Poppytrail by Metlox "California Apple" Pitcher & Bowl


Found this wonderful ceramic pitcher and serving bowl in the "California Apple" pattern from Poppytrail by Metlox. Each piece features a motif with two apples hanging from a branch. The handle of the pitcher is cleverly shaped like the branch of the tree.

The "California Apple" pattern is from 1949.

Available on our Etsy shop:
Serving Bowl

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More about Metlox Pottery is available on our "More About ..." page.

More About ... Metlox Pottery

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Vintage Hanging Ashtray in Mod Red Swirl Glaze

Very cool, very mod, vintage hanging ashtray with a wonderful red, orange, yellow and black swirled glaze.

You could use this as a hanging planter or turn it into a hanging lamp. The hook at the top has basic lamp hardware so it would be simple to thread an electric cord into it.

We found this hanging ashtray at a local consignment shop. We were surprised that it had been there for several months before we picked it up. We go into that shop a couple times a month and we had never seen it before.

Where was it hiding? We don't know.

Why hadn't anyone else picked up the awesome piece? Some questions just can't be answered.

Anyway ... Here it is.

The piece isn't marked, so we have no idea who made it.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ernest Sohn "Guitar and Drum" Enameled Metal and Walnut Ashtray and Coaster Set

This Ernest Sohn designed set features a stylized orange guitar and white drum design. The set consists of one large ashtray and four coasters. The ashtray is genuine walnut with an enameled metal insert and marked, "Genuine walnut designed by Ernest Sohn" on the bottom. The four coasters are enameled metal, with the same guitar and drum motif as the ashtray.

Don't smoke? Neither do we. The ashtray would also make a great cheese server especially for soft cheeses.

This set has a really cool 50's, beatnik vibe. Maynard G. Krebs would have, like, totally dug this, man.

The enamel shows some crazing from underneath, but overall the items are in really wonderful condition. The orange on the guitar is quite vibrant.

Ashtray: 8.5"D X 1"H
Coasters: 4"D

Available on our Etsy shop.

About Ernest Sohn

Sohn was a prolific giftware designer throughout the 50's and 60's. Some of his early work can be seen in the "Circus" and "Menagerie" lines from Glidden.

"Circus", designed by Ernest Sohn, from Glidden
"Menagerie", designed by Ernest Sohn, from Glidden

From about 1945 to 1951, Sohn worked for Rubel & Co. In 1951, Ernest Sohn Associates was formed where he manufactured and displayed his own designs. Sohn's designs used mixed media of wood, ceramic and metal.

Around the mid-fifties, Ernest Sohn Creations was formed. Many of the pieces you find today are marked with the Ernest Sohn Creations tag.

Throughout the 1950's, Sohn's work was given "Good Design" awards by MOMA.

Ernest Sohn Creations pieces were sold into the 1970's and could be found at many local department stores. This is why you can often find Sohn pieces at local thrift and consignment stores, even in smaller rural towns.

Sohn's creations were innovative, creative, graceful and brought beauty and style into the everyday home.

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Old Fitzgerald "Candlelight" Decanters - 1950's

We recently came across three, very unique, Old Fitzgerald Bourbon decanters. We looked at them for some time, thinking, "These decanters look strange. There appears to be a shot glass on top, but the rims make them look like candle holders. These are very odd."

These decanters were so strange that we just had to get them and learn more about their unique design.

About The "Candlelight" Decanter

Designed in 1955 & 1956 by Walter Landor & Associates for Stitzel-Weller Distillery, these decanters were meant to be functional even after the bourbon was gone.

The tops of the bottles served as a jigger for pouring, but could also hold candles.

That is why these were known as the "Candlelight" decanters.

From the article, "Walter Landor: Portrait of a Pioneer" by Bernie Gallagher, July 2009:
In 1955, the owners of Stitzel-Weller Distillery wanted to market a Christmas decanter for their Old Fitzgerald bourbon. Walter required his team of designers to go beyond the basics and take the decanter concept in new directions. The final design, called Candlelight, was selected from among 50 possibilities.

The Candlelight decanter achieved popularity not only because of its contemporary look but also for its innovative utility. The packaging allowed the gift decanter to function as a candleholder—one of its many “after-uses” in the home.[24] In Minneapolis, it was reported that women bought additional decanters to make candleholder sets, thus augmenting Old Fitzgerald’s sales.[25]

[24] “New Decanter Shown For Old Fitzgerald,” Advertising Requirements (December 1955), reprint from the Landor Archive Project, Landor Design Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
[25] “Dealers on Decanters,” Tide (28 January 1955), reprint from the Landor Archive Project, Landor Design Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.

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1955 Holiday Ad
1956 Holiday Ad
The design group, Walter Landor & Associates, was headed by Walter Landor. You may not know his name, but if you have ever been involved in any kind of consumer research testing, Mr. Landor was the pioneer of that.

About Walter Landor

From -
Walter Landor (9 July 1913 – 9 June 1995), born Walter Landauer in 1913 in Munich, Germany, was a brand design legend and the founder of Landor Associates. He was an acclaimed designer and a pioneer of branding and consumer research techniques widely used to this day. Landor Associates, the company he founded in 1941, has offices around the world and enjoys a significant reputation for rigorous strategic thinking coupled with groundbreaking creativity.

"Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind," Walter Landor memorably stated. He had a particular gift for creating designs with broad popular appeal, such as the Coca-Cola script. Brands as diverse as General Electric, Japan Airlines, Levi Strauss, and Shell Oil all benefited from his vision and commitment.

In 1994 the Smithsonian Institution honored Walter Landor by establishing a permanent collection of his designs and packaging.

From -
In 1994, a year before his death, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History assembled The Walter Landor Collections of Design Records and Packaging to document and permanently house the legacy of Landor's contributions to American design history in the 20th century.