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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Kenner Can-Am SSP Plastic Car General Mills Fun Group Promotional 1970s Citgo Gas Station Lego Lovers


Image of my Kenner Citgo MIni SSP Can AM Orange  car in my Etsy shop.


Hello little toy plastic fantastic car, what are you? How did I not know you in my youth? 

Recently I was offing my extra stock of  Hot Wheels and Matchbox vintage cars in my Etsy shop, and came across this strange orange car I had gotten some time ago.  Although I refuse to admit being actually old, or archaic, it is true that I am a 1970s child. Even so, one who loved plastics growing up, whom does not remember this at all, and perhaps with good reason.  

I was s. Born in 1973, these cars were made as gas station premiums by Kenner for Citgo gas stations circa 1970-1971ish.  Still, if my older guy buddies that I hung with (I was their shadow), had one of these coveted somewhere in their collection, I am sure at age six or so I would have remembered such a glorious piece of plastic! But they didn't have one, and with good reason.  They were all older than me, and most likely outgrew it, broke or lost the zipper part, or gave it away.  Surely if they had sold it for ten cents at the neighborhood flea I would have remembered it.  By the way, I should thank the kids across the street for that cool 45RPM collection including Blondie's Heart of Glass for $1.00.   

Kenner Car
Does that look like a Lego to you? 

Good Design, wait, whut, is that a LEGO? 

What's even stranger is how the car is designed.  It surely at first glance reminds me of having a "LEGO" build onto it, when it's actually some part of the exhaust or something, I wonder if it's designer played with Legos when he was designing the super spiffy plastic engine? I don't know.  Just sayin'. 

Kenner Can Am Car
From my RetroChalet Etsy shop.

The car is a Can-Am, Mini SSP which is short for Super Sonic Power.! According to the instructions if you whip the little rip cord through, it will turn out 20,000 rpms. I'm not a math whiz by far, in fact I definitely suck at all things math, but I think that may be an overstatement.  Maybe in 1970's advertising terms, the 20,000 rpms is the equivalent of pretend warp speed. 

As for the Can-Am model,  Kenner also produced a green model of the same style, which they had in a Tournament of Thrills kid's playset in the 1970's.  The orange seemed to be a gas station premium, thus the boring cardboard display box I can just imagine these lining up a little plastic cabinet in the gas station and kids screaming at their parents to buy them one. I am NOT sure if this was a mail in car or on site premium.  I do know it originally came with: 

  • Rip Cord
  • Decal Sheet
  • Advertising Memorabilia
  • Car

 rmpsThis is just another fine example of Plastic Fantastic.  Also a great indicator of cool toys we used to get.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Boonton Boontonware Melmac Rare Orange Bowl

Boonton Melmac
Orange Melmac Bowl for sale @RetroChalet

Information Wanted. Have you seen this? 

Sometimes I see things and wonder how they are what they are, or why they are what they are.   Even I, after collecting so many years have no idea how this can be possible. 

It's no secret that this Boontonware melmac bowl's shape and thickness should actually date it to the 40's or 50's to the earlier lines of plain BOONTON (marked as such) used in restaurants and institutions, yet the design is slightly different. 

However, there is a hallmark was used for a short number of years "for industry standards" giving it an even smaller window of production.

The problem? The color.  This color technically should be later, perhaps even 60's.  There is evidence of this orange in some lines, mainly SOMERSET, but the items are not molded as thick, with as much melmac.  They are thin and not as bulky.

So it's a mystery, for sure.

boontonware melmac
Very odd coloring for such a thick Boontonware bowl.


So I ask you, why is the orange on this bowl?

It could be several reasons and perhaps we will never know why. 


  1. An employee could have made the bowl for himself or herself. 
  2. A customer wanted some bowls made and asked for test of the color. 
  3. Perhaps a line was made with this exact bowl, but if so where is it? 
  4. The factory was testing various colors to debut in a new "fall line". 
  5. It was something molded for samples to customers or employees. 
  6. It is a part of a short lived melmac set by Boonton we have not yet found.



What do you think? 

Stop by and let me know facebook.com/MelmacDinnerware


Sunday, January 27, 2019

Russian Plastics USSR Soviet Bakelite Melamine Melmac

Blue Soviet USSR Bakelite Box
Akbars10 from Estonia on Ebay is selling this Russian / Soviet Box. 

When collecting Melmac some collectors streamline into one "brand" or one type. For instance, perhaps you re hooked on Kaye Lamoyne's designs. You are trying to assemble a set of Color-Flyte by Branchell, and your collection may include other items in that line.  For me, over the years, it's been a pure love of all plastics, and wondering what the rest of the world was doing when America was making so many dishes.  Since the internet has become so widely available in other countries we are now able to answer the question, just what kind of plastics were to be had back then?

Backstamp of Russian Plastics
Backstamp of Russian Plastics from Akbars10 Store.


I recently came across some wonderful and stunning examples of Russian plastics. Now of course, I'm going to post and label them what the sellers have indicated, but in order to call them true Bakelite, melamine, etc, we would have to know the chemical composition and do adequate research on what era and what company.

For sake of accuracy, I'd like to say I am not a plastics expert in USSR Plastics as I do not speak Russian (yet.) I'm still trying to pin down my Italian.  However, I thought that it would behoove us to see how the other side of the world lived.

Gorgeous Russian Bakelite Box

Gorgeous Russian Bakelite? Plastic Box from PIXSTOCK on Etsy.

The Bakelite Boxes

The box up top is listed as Bakelite but it appears to be a type of hard plastic boudoir box, and I found other examples on Etsy that follow. Although the plastic looks to be thick, I am unsure if it is indeed the Bakelite we know having been produced and invented by Leo Baekeland .   I will state many old plastics encyclopedias I have read and Plastics Society books do have some of the founding members having been of international origin,  some with  Czech or German heritage (example: Hans Wanders.)  Therefore, this Russian blend of plastic may indeed be made with their version of Bakelite.


uk bakelite box with deer

You can see this pretty deer on this box from Etsy shop Bazoor.

I also find it curious that animals are subject matter of most of the pretty boxes I have found.  Deer, horses and animals adorn the boxes. I wonder if these were made for trinkets, jewelry, or originally held talcum powder or shaving soaps? I am lost in translation, but I can say that if you look closely you can see the discoloration in the photograph of the creamy plastic turning more yellow. This could mean that it is indeed Bakelite!

vintage plastics russia
Another box from Bazoor, circa 1960's. 

You may also like: 


bakelite checkers from Etsy, made in USSR


bakelite checkers from Etsy, made in USSR offered at Antique Soviet