Sunday, January 13, 2019

Brookpark Melmac Fantasy Line Joan Luntz Five Facts You Should Know

brookpark melmac
Old Brookpark Melmac Ad.

Today I was fully prepared to write a post on Russian melmac when I became sidetracked by a listing for Fantasy Brookpark by Joan Luntz.

Let me explain to you that when I write this post I write with full respect and awe, that Joan Luntz accomplished so much in her day and have written much on her before.

She was a working mother of six (yes six) children, and married to George Goulder,  (so she really was Joan Luntz Goulder).  After WW2 George purchased a plastics company, being President of the International Molding Company he would partner with Joan who designed Brookpark melmac dinnerware.

I cannot say enough about what a contribution Joan made to design, or the melamine history!  I think she was amazing in that she did so much as a woman in her day.  If you recollect the era, circa 1950's  women were still fighting to find adequate places in a predominantly male workforce.  And doing that while raising six children?  A huge accomplishment.

Lastly, but more importantly as it relates to this blog, her contribution to melmac dinnerware and her deigns were timeless, chic, and pretty. She won  many awards, received much publicity,  and many museums inducted her creations such as the Modern Museum of Art.

Joan Luntz Obituary
Photo of Fantasy Melmac Line is actually shown in her Obituary ! 
Refer to article / Obituary on Joan here in the Cleveland Jewish News. 

I recently came across her obituary, which I encourage you to click on the photo or link above to be taken to the Cleveland Jewish News and read.  I am a little bit sad to know she passed on Christmas day.  I for one learned some interesting things reading it.

Fantasy Pattern : Five Facts You Should Know

So with this post I write respectfully about Brookpark and in particular the line called Fantasy.

1. It's Rare.

In my years of collecting Fantasy has been somewhat hard to find and I consider it rare.  I can only tell you from being a plastics collector and researcher since the 90's I have been unable to ever see or find a complete set.  There may be several reasons for this, but if you collect it, covet it! I am not for sure if this is because it was a low production run or the fact that the plates seem to be white with design (and perhaps over time this white became stained and ended up not surviving.)

2. It's hard to identify as the Backstamps Are Most Likely Washed Away. 

Another plausible possibility is maybe no one knows what to call it if they do find it, since it's usually unmarked (and unless they really do their research. )The plates themselves were white with outlines designs reminiscent of leaves, herbs, apothecary.  The accompanying pieces were blue, solid turquoise. Most of these pieces maybe have been umarked or ink-stamped.

fantasy brookpark ink stamps
This picture proves my theory as shown in Thifty Doodads Etsy Shop.

(* Brookpark was known to ink stamp in black ink some of their pieces, which made it difficult when trying to identify lines thirty to sixty years later.  I actually washed a set of Pink Hyacinth by Brookpark (from the same timeframe) and washed the backstamps clean off!)   I confirmed this by actually finding a lot of Fantasy, and checking out the backstamps above.  They were definitely inked!

fantasy saucers by brookpark
The leafy saucers of Fantasy by Brookpark Pic/Buy them at ThriftyDoodads

3. It's Quite Possibly A Very Small Production Run.

I found it in May 1956 Magazine, up until 1959.  I have not been able to find out the exact dates of production, but this gives a three year run.  That's not a whole heck of a lot of pieces.   Additionally, it was up against other lines being introduced around the same time. For instance,  Pink Hycianth, which was in my opinion more popular and more desirable (it was pink and white and if you look in the ad on top this post you'll see how pretty, oh so pretty....)   I have found much of this pink and white in my travels and it is still easy to put together a complete set to this day.

melamine brookpark fantasy

Top Right: Bloodgood Japenese Maple leaf vs "Pot" leaf below right. Note that the leaves on the Fantasy line are freeform ferny style plant leaves.

4.  Some collectors mistook the leaves for pot leaves. ( ouch!) 

I hope if the family of Joan reads this they won't think I mean anything disrespectful to her, but I have gotten a lot of inquiries over the years "Hey, what's the pot leaf design on melmac name?" and wondered just what the reader was talking about. Now I see that that leaf structure on the plates does resemble a bit of Cannabis Sativa leaf.

If you note that the pattern of the largest leaf has a five top leaf spread and then two tiny bottom leaf patterns. This is exactly that of some photographs of hemp/Marijuana leaves.   Although I am unsure just what the leave was, I myself thought that it represented a tree that I grew up with, a cousin of the Japanese Maple---more in referred to as BLOODGOOD JAPANESE MAPLE.    I am unsure and if anyone from Joan's family reads this blog, maybe they can shed light on the leaf itself.  However, all look ferny and fantasy like with the mod dots behind them.

5. It comes in more than one color palette- look for brown hues and the blue hues. 

Although all my above talk above shows the blue on white design accompanied with solid blue pieces, I have posted an article before where the pieces were actually brown hues, with brown or tan solid pieces. Look for both in your travels.  To me, both are elusive.

See the brown pieces in my earlier post on Joan, Arrowhead, Brookpark and Fantasy here.

Have you found any Fantasy pattern? Shoot me a picture at ....

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Cadence by Prolon : From 1956 to Now

Cadence by Prolon:

Cadence by Prolon on Etsy RetroChalet
VINTAGE Cadence by Prolon on Etsy RetroChalet 19 Plates $34

Cadence (one of the lines, sounds similar to their other line Florence) was found early in Life Magazines, like this ad I found from 1956 ... says:  Cadence" and "Florence" by Prolon are products of: Proton Division Pro-phy-lac-tic Brush Company Florence, Mass."   Perhaps if interested, you will jump over to my history of the ProPhylactic Brush Company and find out how these wonderful dishes started.....................but now back to Cadence.

Many articles in my research indicate the release of Cadence for institutions, restaurants, hospitals, and schools. It was widely promoted in melmac advertisements as far back as 1956, perhaps earlier but none the less the 1956 ad looks like these dishes are on the thinner side.  The Cadence above in the photo has some meat to it.  Cadence of today is also thinner.

Cadence Ad 1956

Cadence in Melmac Ads like this one featured in LIFE 1956

So how is it that Cadence still survives and is being made today? Technically Prolon is still around, having been acquired by Thermo-Serv in August of 2017.  A statement via press release issued by the company explained,  "DALLAS – Sept. 1, 2017 – New ThermoServ Ltd., a leading provider of domestically manufactured, innovative drink and dinnerware, today announced that it completed the acquisition of all assets of United States Dinnerware Inc.’s Prolon® Dinnerware on Aug. 25. (2017). 

I don't care who owns who, I for one am technically thrilled that a company of today has acquired and / or kept the age long tradition of plastic melmac dinnerware being made in the good old USA.  (Some of their items most definitely are.)

This is but one of the few, if not sole melamine companies who have "survived" the times. Now visible under, the Cadence line is still being made today , in America!

By the way, when first marketed, Cadence was referred to as "graceful coupe shapes."

You may also like:

Prophylactic Brush Tour (History of Prolon!)

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Vintage Porcelain Glove Molds GET Melmac

Vintage Porcelain Glove Mold
Vintage Porcelain Glove Mold looks great with my G.E.T. Melmac plates.

G.E.T. Melamine or GET MELAMINE, what is it? 

I don't just love melmac, I love all things vintage.  I am unleashing a ton of vintage porcelain glove molds in my Etsy shop. I thought it would be fun to show you how this one holds Melmac dishes!  The dishes I have here are from G.E.T. Enterprises. They have been around since the 80's and primarily make restaurant quality melamine dishes that you see in restaurants and buffets.
GET Melmac
Glove mold $48, Plates, from GET Enterprises, an old pattern.
if you are interested in purchasing them contact me. 

Although I distinctly abhor things that are made in China, I have to say, these hold up pretty well and have a great mottled pattern. Perhaps since they are marked NSF food safe they may be better at resisting heavy scratches than the thinner melmac of the 60's and 70's.

get melmac
I really love how they did this spattered the colors together!

G.E.T. is a leader in restaurant and foodservice melmac. I even at one point thought they could have absorbed some of the old retro molds. I'm still trying to find out......

German Glove Molds
I also have German and other molds for sale in my shop.

I wrote a ton of articles and blurbs on the web about vintage porcelain glove molds. I think they are a fun and functional art sculpture for inside the home. Very mid century modern and retro, and a reminder of industrialism.  The ones made in the USA include leading manufacturer (now defunct) General Porcelain of Trenton, NJ.  Although production of molds also occurred in Germany, it seems a lot were actually produced here in the USA.  

General Porcelain Glove Mold from Trenton NJ
These glossy ones made by General Porcelain of Trenton, NJ.

Perhaps the rarest glove molds I stumbled across were those made by the Hall China Factory....back in the day...although to me Hall was primarily well loved for their teapots, I found it odd that these bisque molds were produced. I wonder how many survived? 

Hall Vintage Glove Mold
Only a few left to sell in my shop.

So maybe for those of you who don't want to "scratch up" your prized melmac collection, but you do want to make your kitchen look retro, you should check out where you can obtain some G.E.T. melmac. I know webstaurant store sells them online.  Good luck and happy collecting!

Special Item at RetroChalet on Etsy

Thanks for reading my blog!
Cindy Fahnestock Schafer