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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Texas Ware Employee Story by Derrel Lyon

Texas Ware History from Someone who worked there
Texas Ware bowl by That Retro Chick on Etsy.
This story was left to me on one of my articles. I share it with you now and have made only minor typographical changes. It's stories like these that give good happy vibes on Texasware history.  Thank you to Derrel Lyon for sharing!

"My Story by Derrel Lyon"
I worked in the molding department at Plastics Mfg. Company (makers of TexasWare) from 1972-1980. My dad Bill Lyon worked there starting in 1946 at the Trunk Avenue  plant and ended up working there as a quality control supervisor until 1980 at the Westmoreland Rd. location. 
It was sometime in the late 1950s when the new plant was built on S. Westmoreland in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas, Texas. The compound finishing (melamine raw material) building was added in the 1960s. 
As a quality control supervisor, my dad was the one who looked over the rejected, pre-molded, melamine pills to be ground together to be used for the speckle ware mixing bowls. (like the one above) , 
Some were solid color, but most were whatever he selected of several colors of rejected melamine material put into a grinder and reprocessed into pills to be molded. As a molder, I occasionally was assigned to work the steam heated, compression hydraulic press that molded the mixing bowls. Since the melamine pills for the mixing bowls were made from rejected materials, about a fifth of the bowls that were molded had big bubbled places where the plastic "popcorned" .These bowls were totally rejected on the spot, by knocking out the bottom of the bowl on the corner of the metal work table, and then thrown into a bin.
Editor Note: OMG. Imagine all these imperfect lost melmac bowls !
Dallas Ware was the heavier, more commercial use products ( mixing bowls, lunch trays etc.), while Texas Ware was the lighter weight home dishware.   
Dallas Ware Lunch Trays
Dallas Ware made a whole slew of industrial products for schools and cafeterias. These trays are from MizRed Etsy shop.

The dinner plates with the varied designs were made in two steps. Eight (hockey puck shaped) melamine pills were heated in a (very early version) microwave oven, then each pill was placed in the center of double stacked molds. The press closed with a huge, powerful, hydraulic scissor jack. 
After closed the dishes cured in the mold for about a minute. When it opened, silk screened overlays (with the designs printed on them) were placed on top of each dish plate, and the mold closed again for about 30 seconds.

The dishes were then removed from the mold using compressed air. The excess plastic (flashing) around the edges was knocked off, and at the end of the shift the stacked dishes were carted to the finishing room to grind and buff the edges. My brother worked in that department! 
I know some machines and molds were already being shipped to Mexico by the early 1980s which was the beginning of the end for Plastic Mfg Company.

Thank you so much Derrel Lyon!

You can find TexasWare on Etsy, see some sellers below who sell TexasWare, search their shop or click on the photo to go to Etsy to find some texasware!
Texas Ware for Sale on Etsy

    Monday, November 28, 2016

    EMSA Emsa German Plastic HomeStyleCollect

    Emsa German Plastic Coasters found on Etsy
    German Emsa Coaster set from Home Style Collect here.

    EMSA Everywhere!

    Just look at these fine gems I found at retro shop Home Style Collect on Etsy. This shop is run by Mark van der Werf from Rotterdam, The Netherlands. In it you will find mid century modern items of all kinds and plastic just waiting to be had.  Today I found a stash of Emsa German products are hidden in this shop, and wanted to expose it and tell you more about this plastic ware!

    Emsa Vintage Party Bowl German Plastic by homestylecollect
    Only $13.69 German Emsa Bowl for Candy @homestylecollect

    Emsa German plastic has been quite hard for me to find, possibly because most of these wares were used overseas. The company was founded in 1949 by Franz Wulf. According to Wikipedia, the Company went by Franz Wulf & Company Plasticwarenfabrik and was located in Greven, Germany. They are still operational today!
    Emsa Egg Cups, these found on Etsy at HomeStyleCollect
    These egg cups part of a set (below) at HomeStyleCollect note the adorable feet 

    Egg cups were quite popular throughout Europe and vintage examples can still be found today.  Some of Emsa's egg cups were stout, adorable and footed making them more on the fancy side.  Due to their functionality and lightweight it is totally conceivable that that some of these ended up shipped to the States as holiday gifts as the cost was low for such light plastic items.  Perhaps this is why these, as well as spoon rests or drip catchers are easily found here (more so than other items).

    Emsa Kitchen Set
    Emsa Kitchen Set $35.59 at Home Style Collect

    It is said that Plasticwarenfabrik's first item was a butterfly drip catcher. I am quite sure this can still be found but mistaken as a spoon rest.  If I happen across one, I'll be sure to post it.  In the 1970's patents were applied by Franz Breitenbach for a Cat, Great Horned Owl and Monkey Figurine.     Although not melmac or melamine, this was certainly a great plastic manufacturer that should be noted.

    Emsa Landhaus Flower Box Courtesy of Emsa.com
    Emsa.com  "Landhaus" Flowerbox Picket Fence

    Today Emsa makes everything from kitchenwares to flower boxes. My favorite is this called Landhaus, which is a picket fence style available in hot pink, blue or green. They also made bird feeders to match. The whole Landhaus line is for the home and is quite stunning and chic.

    As for Home Style Collect, they have much vintage plastic in stock, not just Emsa. You'll find a big allotment from 1940s to 1970s here, and decorations for your entire home.  Here are a few of my favorite items!

    Braun Vintage Hairdryer
    1972 Vintage Braun hairdryer $29.02!

    HomeStyleCollect tells us the hairdryer above was fashioned by Reinhold Weiss, for Braun. A similar style was made in the USA but I am not certain if it was the same designer or a copy, I actually use one!  Below, a date changer made in the UK fashioned of plastic for the Dutch is a registered design and in modern colors!

    Plastic Date Changer is $12.59 on etsy


    Melamine Attack!  Who did this great atomic design (below) in red? Surely some famous designer!  The peanut bowl is covered as so no dust or dirt goes in it, and the members of the card game or guests at your cookout function will each have their own individual bowl.  A stunning piece of history!

    Atomic Red Bowl Set Vintage by HomeStyleCollect
    Mystery Atomic Bowl Melamine Melmac by Home Style Collect $25.74 here.


    Vintage Plastic thermos
    Vintage Plastic Thermos at Home Style Collect $19.17

    The Safari 600 above thermos was made in Italy ! Simply stunning retro design and not to mention still fully functional!

    HomeStyleCollect has a brick and mortar store in the Netherlands and ships worldwide.  Check them out at:

    HomeStyleCollect.etsy.com