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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Raffiaware Thermo Temp Mallory Randall Melmac History

raffiaware thermotemp
Ice Cream Bowl by ThermoTemp available at CheMichele

Themo-Temp , Raffiaware and Mallory Randall Corporation

I first wrote this post in 2011 when I ran into Etsy shop Modern Plastics owner Kailani Burke Nakanaela who helped me fill in some blanks and use her photos. At the time she was listing and cleaning out a huge collection of Thermo Temp / Raffiaware by the Mallory Randall Corporation.  This same corporation made Melmac in Classic, Malloware and Mallo-Belle lines.  However, widely popular was this super duper insulated plastic ware set featuring burlap and straw in their lines.   

Note:  Not to be confused with THERMO-SERV,  find the post here. 

First of all for those of you who maybe haven't seen all the wonderful items in the Themoware collection, I will break it down into several popular styles for you. Perhaps you have seen them unmarked, or didn't even know what they were. 

I like to break them down into five distinct easy to spot groupings, although more I'm sure exist.   First know they made tall tumblers, coffee sized mugs, tall mugs, ice buckets, pitchers, snack sets, salad sets, ice cream bowls, salad serving tongs, and more. 

Group #1 The ribbed Thermo Temp cream ribbing and pastel insides
colorful raffiaware thermo temp mugs
Shown here at CalliCatVintage

Group #2 The ribbed Thermo Temp whitish ribbing and green insides
thermo temp drinking tumblers
Find them and more at CheMichele

Group #3 The smooth looking embedded burlap sets 
Raffiaware Thermo Temp
Thermo Temp Salad Set serves six!  Sold at Modern Plastics, $45.99

Group # 4:  Straw outside of gorgeous pastels 

pic: Modern Plastics note the rare serving tray and different style ice cream cups.

Group # 5:  White inside of colorful burlap

thermo temp cups
These available at 7Trafalgar on Etsy.

So, when I picked the brain of Modern Plastics shop owner from Kailua, O'Ahu, Hawaii I had to find out what her story was, back then unleashing hundreds of hard to find Mallory items. 

Mallory melmac
Hard to find Mallory, in a breakfast sold quick at only $10 at Modern Plastics.
Shop owner Kailani Burke Nakanaela explained, "The story begins when my Husband and I decided to renovate his Parent's beach house. We have over fifty years of memories there, we actually met on the beach in Kailua as kids. We've been married 30+ years and now that the house has been passed on to us, we need more space for our children and grandchildren when they come to visit. I have been removing Melmac from the attic space for a couple of weeks now, the boxes are all deteriorated from the humidity and sea air, so bringing them down a rickety ladder has proven tricky. As I peel away the layers of cardboard I am just amazed at how wonderful everything looks. Yesterday my Husband tried to convince me that we could put these in the dishwasher .... I just smiled and banished him from the kitchen. This is probably the first time I have actually enjoyed washing dishes."
mallo-ware mallory melmac
This is what she found....I'm rare is this to find in the original box?
Kailani explains "I will be listing more items soon, there are over 200 Mallo-Ware plates and cups and saucers that I have not gotten to yet. This picture is one of ten Mallory mailorder boxes. Each box has service for four and the 1960 First Class Postage to Hawaii was a whopping $2.11."   So just what is Kailani doing with all that melmac and thermal plastic ware?   She says, "I am keeping a few pieces for myself, and for my children and grandchildren since they never really knew my Husband's Mom. I think I will be busy for the rest of the Winter cleaning and cataloging Melmac."

Let's talk Thermo Temp and Raffiaware. 

She had explaiend to me that she had original ephemera in some of the boxes, showing evidence up through 1966 (Spring.) She said that the term "Raffiaware" was no where to be seen in the promo pamphlet, which was odd, as some cups are marked Thermo-Temp and others Raffiaware.  Why?  NOt only did she take note that some items were exclusively offered via a dairy service as a way of promoting dairy products, but that Sears had the exclusive right to market "THERMO WARE" tumblers (which by 1963 they were sold in 8 colorful tumblers.)

After talking with her I did some more research and surmised that means Mallory gave certain rights to certain retailers, and no doubt by Sears selling the colorful ribbed cups that's why there are so many that exist today.  I researched and found an ad dating back to 1959 mentioning the Thermo Temp double walled insulated tumblers.

Thermo Temp Ad
Circa 7/59 Billboard Magazine.

Mallory's History has been sketchy..but I pieced this together.

Not much in my travels has been found on the web or in print about the late and great Mallory-Randall company.  I often thought they were somehow connected to P.R. Mallory, the battery company but I have no proof of that. Back in 2011 there was a Mallory USA still in existence, but as of 2018 I lost them. They had been in business circa 1900 proves that either all minds have the last name Mallory  (and mold plastics) or something is missing to the history.  I suppose I don't have enough facts, so I will write what I have found.

mallory melamine

Here is an ad from a 1956 Life Magazine (above) showing Mallow-ware (left, coming in ten colors at that time) and Classic (right.)  We know the company was producing melamine.

Furthermore, I found and sold an old open stock order form, according to the print code on the lower right, was printed in 1956.   The address for ordering was Mallo-Ware, 456 N. Parkside, Chicago, 44 Illinois although the dishes themselves often are backstamped Chicago, 41, Illinois.  This could mean the offices and factories were in two different places. 
Mallory Open Stock Order Form

To confirm this, an old Mallo-Ware brochure (in with warranty information, below) confirms the two different addresses, as shown below, lists the company Mallo-Ware at 3760 Milwaukee Avenue Chicago, 41 Illinois.  
Mallory Dinnerware
Milwaukee Avenue Address is printed on this ephemera.

Mallory Sites: Parkside & Milwaukee Avenue Debunked 

So thanks to old paperwork, we know there were two addresses.  I used my trust snooping skills to do a Google Earth flight from the comfort of my chair.  The 456 N. Parkside Address proves defunct, there is a large apartment type building there, which according to property records was a 5+ unit facility that sold in 2005 for $800,000.  Could this have once been office buildings and housed the corporate offices of Malllory?  Probably not considering the dwelling  doesn't look as old, and the same lot sold years early for 1/4 of that value.  Being there's a lot of new growth in the neighborhood, it is probably a more recent structure.

mallory randall
456 Parkside leaves us no clues.

So then I was off to the other location on Milwaukee Avenue. I used Google Maps and found an empty space at 3730 Milwaukee Avenue, and smaller empty space on 3760 Milwaukee Avenue with only the tiny brick faced Grayland Pub at 3734 Milwaukee Avenue still standing in between.  The area boasts residential housing across the street.  It appears the old buildings are long gone, but I find this hard to believe a factory was once here, hardly not enough room.

mallory randall building gone
Only the skinny pub remains circa 2011 at the Milwaukee street address...
So, this begs the question, will we ever know what happened to Mallory Randall? Perhaps they only were in fact a distributor of wares and had another molding company doing the dirty work.  The only thing we will know is when we find wonderful snippets of history as marked on the bottom of the boxes, "Raffiaware by Thermo-Temp, Mallory Randall Corp., Made in USA,"  Even then, when we think we may be close to the answers, specimens pop up that surely puzzle us. 

Here are some more clues from Modern Plastic's finds: 

thermo temp
Courtesy Modern Plastics

What I learned from this photo? It doesn't say America's FIRST insulated, it says America's finest. I'm thinking that Thermo-Serv came before, read my article here.
Thank you to Modern Plastics.

We may never know just what these are, indeed a form of Raffiaware as listed in Jherrmann's shop quite possibly a knockoff or a spectaculr unfound Mallory design......

If you have information on the company that produced these items, please drop me a line. 

Mallory - Randall

You can find me on Facebook, or in my Etsy shop.  I strive  to write accurate information but unfortunately more and more information is harder and harder to find.



  1. Thanks for visiting my blog. I love your glad to arrive here. I just added you to my blog roll.

    I am going to stay awhile,


  2. So cool! I don't collect actively anymore, but I used to have close to 1000 pieces of Melmac. I still have probably around half of it. Malloware was a fav, along with Russell Wright and of course the square Brookparks.

    1. wow I am actually debating whether to get rid of mine

  3. Love the site! I too collect Melmac and Thermo-temp Raffia ware and have been having trouble finding any info about the company. But a few months back I came across a Raffia-esque piece at a thrift store.It was a vacuum seal Coffee thermos. on the bottom it had Thermo-Temp by Aladdin. So maybe at some point Mallory merged or was bought by Aladdin but I'm not sure.I thought I would share and if I find more you will be the first to know!

    1. That is interesting information! Alladin may have made the actual caraffe that was inside the Thermo Temp especially if it was glass insert. Thermo-Serv also made some coffee things, for Proctor Silex, but was an altogether different company you can find my article on it here ThermoServ

  4. Hi, love the site! It helps me out from time to time 🙂. I took a picture of the Brochure from Mallory Randall Corp, I hope you don't mind. I have been trying to find pricing on my Thermo-Temp cups and bowls. I didn't really find the information I needed but I found other items and information that I can use in the future.
    Looking up prices right now is kind of crazy, no matter what site you go to all the pricing is so different. If anyone is out there that can help me out please contact me. Also, I wanted to know if there is any current content on your blog because I cannot find anything. Maybe I am looking in the wrong places. I hope you keep going with all of the information that you have been gathering throughout the years. Thanks again,

  5. Still have my mom's thermo wrap ice cream bowls! We use them often. Also have the thermorama cups in the carrier. I still remember using them when we lived in Levittown.

  6. The cream and green colored Thermo Temp coffee cups and mugs were given away free with a gasoline fillup at Exxon stations in Dallas, Texas in the late 60's or early 70's.


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