Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Brillo Pillo

I was in my mid teens when I first really stumbled upon Andy Warhol. Although I knew the name and remember seeing his TV show on MTV as a kid, it wasn't until I saw a photo of him in a room surrounded by Brillo boxes that I really took notice. From that moment on my obsession with Warhol and Brillo took off. 

Warhol Brillo Boxes

To this day I have yet to ever use a Brillo pad, but I find the packaging amazing. It's total pop art without ever intending to be art at all. It's bold and flashy, yet so simple, and when marketed as an art piece it goes to a whole new level.

When the manufacturers of Brillo saw what Warhol was doing with their product, it's no surprise that they decided to hop on the pop art band wagon. I found these inflatable Brillo boxes about ten years ago on eBay.

Brillo Pillo's

They are a huge 24" x 24" air pillow that I've always assumed were supermarket display pieces, until I stumbled upon this ad in an old issue of Life Magazine from 1968..... complete with Peter Max style art work

1968 Brillo Pillo Ad

For just $1.00 and one specially marked Brillo Pillo end package you could own...... "The Latest In Groovy Pop Art". They are "A Great Conversation Piece For Your Living Room Or Den!". How cool of them to just embrace it and try to make money off of someone who was making money off of them. So now I'm on a quest to find a third. (Just because I like things in groups of three)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Merry Mouse

Salt and Pepper shakers and Cocktail Kibitzers from the Holt Howard "Merry Mouse" line. The salt and pepper shakers squeak when you shake them and the cocktail mice have replaceable toothpicks for tails used to hold olives and cherries while they hang on to the rim of your glass.

"For every house we've got a mouse! Don't be nervous, they're made for service"

Holt Howard Merry Mouse

Manufactured from 1958 until 1960. The cocktail mice came in a set of 6 and there were other pieces like a cheese crock, match holder, and desk set.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Candy, Candy, Candy

Hazel-Atlas candy jar to go along with the Salem's North Star pattern

Hazel-Atlas North Star Candy Jar

Mid-Century Music

The Zombies - She's Not There
Number 2 Hit From 1964

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Starburst Clock And Matching Sconces

My uncle cleans out houses for a living and sometimes finds some real treasures. So far he has brought me home some stained glass windows, an undertakers tool box from the 50s, cool old bottles, and a few other things. Imagine my surprise today when I stopped at my grandparents house today and was greeted with these.....

Welby Starburst Clock and Sconces

I have been trying to track down a set of those sconces at a cheap price forever, imagine my surprise to get them for free along with the original matching clock. They were sitting in someones attic for years. The brass is a bit rusty on the little balls but they cleaned up quite nice.

Welby Starburst Clock and Sconces

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Salem North Star Coffee Pot and the matching Sugar & Creamer

Salem North Star Coffee Set

North Star Coffee Mugs

Salem North Star Coffee Mugs

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Style With A Smile"

Pixieware Hors d' Oeuvres from the Holt Howard company. These things are God's gift to appetizers! You fill the bottom tray up with crackers, cheeses go on toothpicks in the little holes, and you stack pretzels on top of their heads. I still have not had the perfect small party to use these yet, but it is definitely overdue. They came out in 1958 and are two of the most sought after and expensive Holt Howard pieces (who wouldn't want them?!?), there's even a super rare Australian one that is orange in color.

Boy and Girl Pixieware Hors d' Oeuvres

Image from Holt Howard Collectibles by Walter Dworkin

Image from Holt Howard Collectibles by Walter Dworkin

For more info, Price Guide To Holt Howard Collectibles is a great book

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bacharach Break

Dusty Springfield's "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself"
Number 3 hit in the UK in 1964

I love the PVC pipe sculptures! Great idea for a room divider. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Andy Warhol's Silver Clouds

1966 exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery in NY
Silver helium filled mylar pillows floating freely 


They also inspired and were used as the background for RainForest by dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham  in 1968

If anyone goes to the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, they have a room to play with the clouds

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Color It Frigidaire

The Incredible futuristic imagery of Frigidaire's 1966 advertising campaign. It makes me want to buy one.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sherbet Bowls

Just in time for Summer! Go-along glass bowls for the dishes. Not sure of the manufacturer but sherbet never looked so stylish.

Salem North Star Sherbet Bowls

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Salem North Star Butter Dish and Butter Pats

This butter dish is pretty standard looking but the little mini plates which are believed to be butter pats are pretty cool. They were also used as advertising and promotional pieces, some coming with "9 cents" printed on the front, some with a salesmen's info printed on the back, and others with store info on the back. If they aren't intended for butter, they could serve that purpose quite well.

Salem North Star Butter Dish & Butter Pats

Bacharach Break

Herb Alpert's "This Guy's In Love With You"
Number 1 Hit From 1968

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Expo 67 Postcards

One of mans greatest design achievements were the pavilions at the 1967 Montreal Worlds Fair. Looking back on what was supposed to be the life of the future, I can't help but wonder what went wrong? The space age buildings that we envisioned somewhere got lost in the bland box buildings that we see today. I'm sure it has everything to do with money and a culture that doesn't embrace change but it's nice to look back and see what could have been. All of the pavilions are now gone except a shell of the Biosphere that lost all of it's skin in a fire. The island that was supposed to be Earths future has reverted to Earths past and is now pretty just a forest and park.

Here is a pretty awesome postcard souvenir set I picked up a few years ago at an antique mall....

Expo 67 Postcard Canada Pavilion

Expo 67 Postcard Canada Pavilion

Expo 67 Postcard USA Pavilion (Biosphere)

Expo 67 Postcard USA Pavilion (Biosphere)

Expo 67 Postcard Kaleidoscope Pavilion 

Expo 67 Postcard Kaleidoscope Pavilion 

Expo 67 Postcard India Pavilion

Expo 67 Postcard India Pavilion

Expo 67 Postcard Montreal Skyline

Expo 67 Postcard Montreal Skyline 

The Biosphere Today

Destroyed By Fire

Monday, June 13, 2011

Design For Dreaming

Probably the most famous Populuxe film of the 50s. This was shot at the 1956 GM Motorama show as a means to show off their new futuristic cars and Frigidaire's "Kitchen Of Tomorrow" for those who couldn't make it to the actual event. In the past 55 years it has become sort of a mini cult classic.

Salem North Star Lamp

This just arrived a few days ago and is my newest pride and joy. I already have one rare lamp in North Star but this is even crazier looking. Plus it has another pattern on the front called Estrellita by the Canonsburg company (just a part of the pattern actually). I'm thinking this had to be some sort of promotional piece for a store, I don't see how two patterns from two different companies can end up on one lamp. I love the two tiered shade and crazy shape! Anyone with any info or suggestions, please let me know. I'm kinda baffled as to the origins.

Salem North Star Lamp

Salem North Star Lamp 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Holt Howard Pixieware

Holt Howard created some of the most amazing and kitschiest housewares in the 50s and 60s. One of their most famous and collectible lines was Pixieware. They started with condiment jars and branched off into bowls, liquor decanters, towel hooks, and many other things. The lids to the jars were the pixies head which were attached to spoons to scoop out the contents. They tend to be pretty hard to track down these days and online fetch anywhere from $60 into the thousands depending on how rare. Here are Onions, Mayonnaise, and Olives. (Olives had a fork instead of a spoon)

Holt Howard Pixieware Onions, Mayo, & Olives

Holt Howard Pixieware Onions, Mayo, & Olives

Bacharach Break

Dionne Warwick's "Walk On By"
Top 10 Single from 1964

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ice Bucket

Most of the glassware is hard to come by despite being produced by three different manufacturers. This ice bucket was made by Federal Glass as a go along to the North Star line. This is 5 inches tall and 6 inches wide at the rim.

Salem / Federal North Star Ice Bucket

Salem North Star Ashtrays

I don't smoke (6 collapsed lungs in my late teens early 20s), nor do I allow it in the house, but these are some of my favorite things that I own and the first post of something really rare. I have only seen these for sale two other times besides the ones I bought. The larger one is 7 1/4" x 7 1/4" and is marked "Ovenproof". The smaller 3 are 5 1/4" x 5 1/4" and marked "ovenproof 62". They could have been a cooler shape compared to all the other great ashtrays of the 50's and 60's but they are still some of my favorite pieces.

Salem North Star Ashtrays

Salem North Star Salt & Pepper Shakers

The Salt & Pepper Shakers came in two types, a taller solid teal set and the shorter set with the pattern on them. I prefer the shorter ones with the pattern, although I find myself using the taller ones more for some reason.

Salem North Star Salt And Pepper

North Star Plates

Salem North Star plates. I'll be posting a lot more of this collection so I figured we would get the simplest and easy to come by thing out of the way.

Salem North Star Plates

Dinner Plate, Salad Plate, and Bread & Butter Plate

The Beginning....

I started this blog as a way to share all my favorite retro and mid-century things and collectibles. From North Star China, to Pixieware, to vintage graphics, and music..... Enjoy


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Philadelphia, PA, United States