Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Melmac Morphed: The Divided Grill Plate

Courtesy: OldBoldReadytobeSold on Etsy
Ah, yessssss.........the melmac grill plate. Perhaps one of the dinosaurs in melmac history.  When melamine was just emerging for dish use, the divided grill plate or compartmental tray was used early on in mess halls, cafeterias, and hospitals.  Although it still has the same "industrial" look to it finding good examples that aren't all scratched up make them one of melmac's rarities.By the mid 1950's many companies had the grill plate as part of their melmac lines.  
Arrowhead divided grill plates, $38 for the stack at OldBoldReadytobeSold on Etsy.
 Edward Don and Company were making compartmentalized plates and selling them to the restaurant industry. Russel Wright's grill plate made in the Meladur line was quickly absorbed by General American and sold outright to cafeterias, hospitals and institutions. Mallory Randall was making grill plates in their Malloware line.  Boonton Molding Company was also cornering the market, offering a more "chunky" version, chock full of melmac!

Boonton divided grill plates are chunky and heavy @ RetroChalet.
From a distance, they looked exactly like their china or heavy duty ceramic cousins often used in diners and roadside cafe's.  Not often bought by the consumer, these bulky plastic models were mainly used for industrial use.   It wasn't long before most top popular lines were merging them into their catalog.

We can't forget about Texasware!  These only $25 from AuntSistersPicks on Etsy. PMC, their molder, also offered them in their DallasWare line.

During the same time, however, similiar or morphed variations thereof would emerge that would indeed appeal to the modern housewife. Take for instance,  some form of space age plastic fondue dishes like the ones below.  Perhaps not melmac, but close...and a must for entertaining!

Set, $19, TatterandFray
What about picnic sets? They were the rage.  Often sold in camping and travel magazines, one would use these not only for picnics but for camping or RV use. Picnic sets applied the same principal of a cool divided dish or tray .  They are still readily found and some are as pristine as they were in the 40's and 50's.  Most are polystryene or thinner plastic than melamine, but still adorable!

Retro compartmentalized lunch plates, $12, by JumpShipZon.

Regaline picnic set, $14, CashmereJellybean

Of course over time, many shapes, styles, and plastics emerged as divided dinnerware solutions. Perhaps not directly related to the grill plate, except by association or particle composition only, but cool nonetheless.

PiratesB00ty offers this pristine picnic set, Fremware, $16
Prolon lunch trays, $28, by Especial Ethel

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