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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ingrid Plastic Party Ball Factory Tour

I like to think of Ingrid as the official "Party Ball" people. Even when the ball's not around they are still into party aspect of plastics.  Like these great stacking cups available at Laura's Last Ditch on Etsy.

Close up thanks to Laura's Last Ditch on Etsy. 

From Chicagoland comes this hard molded plastic. Is it melmac? Or a form thereof? Who knows. I first saw the balls all over the place in the 1980's though many people say they've been around since the 1960's--I wonder if this is indeed true. Could it be they are so used to seeing the like-look of Massimo Vignelli's Heller dinnerware and  Guzzini Alimntari's designs in the past and so they thought the spacey Ingrid of the 1980's has been around forever?

I had a listing for them back in the 1980's at

3601 N. Skokie Highway, North Chicago, IL 60064.  

I looked them up on the Google map. At first like most companies I figured they weren't making anything but instead just distributing it. Now I am not so sure because a 500,000 square foot warehouse lies at that address.  Wow. That was either a ton of distributing (employee lot on the side, visitor lot on the front and trains in the back) or they were pumping out some fresh plastic.

ingrid dinnerware picture

At first I thought that perhaps Ingrid stole Massimo Vignelli's Heller molds, (cups and mugs are very simliar) but in essence, they are a bit different.  I suppose we'll never really know.  No matter what, there's a lot of them floating around today.   I am uncertain if Rubbermaid eventually acquired them, but that was a rumor I heard that I have been unable to prove--and I don't really know when Ingrid folded.  I found a lot of references to housewares such as laundry baskets and other plastics but not sure if they sold these directly or produced for another company.

Ingrid picture
Original Party Ball Box courtesy of MK Retro on Etsy!

MK Retro on Etsy has an excellent Example of the original party ball in it's box, new old stock. You can see here how it was sold, and how lovely the colors look. If you aren't familiar with them, the pieces stack inside the plastic ball (which has a carrying strap) just like the photo above!

Although the cups were a bit small for sodas, it would serve perfect at a park picnic with a bit of wine and cheese!  the rainbow colors made them very sought after during this time. 

ingrid party ball
Ingrid appears to be more flexible in their party ball dinnerware as far as the plates go, and carrying case. These actually have some flexibility to them.  The cups however are a harder plastic. Uncertain if either of these plastics are melmac or melamine at all, but whatever it is, it sure is funky! What are you waiting for? Go get this set now!


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  6. My Grandmother worked for Ingrid in Chicago in the 1960's 70's we still have some of the defective pieces they were aloud to take home still use them to this day


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