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Sunday, January 13, 2019

Brookpark Melmac Fantasy Line Joan Luntz Five Facts You Should Know

brookpark melmac
Old Brookpark Melmac Ad.

Today I was fully prepared to write a post on Russian melmac when I became sidetracked by a listing for Fantasy Brookpark by Joan Luntz.

Let me explain to you that when I write this post I write with full respect and awe, that Joan Luntz accomplished so much in her day and have written much on her before.

She was a working mother of six (yes six) children, and married to George Goulder,  (so she really was Joan Luntz Goulder).  After WW2 George purchased a plastics company, being President of the International Molding Company he would partner with Joan who designed Brookpark melmac dinnerware.

I cannot say enough about what a contribution Joan made to design, or the melamine history!  I think she was amazing in that she did so much as a woman in her day.  If you recollect the era, circa 1950's  women were still fighting to find adequate places in a predominantly male workforce.  And doing that while raising six children?  A huge accomplishment.

Lastly, but more importantly as it relates to this blog, her contribution to melmac dinnerware and her deigns were timeless, chic, and pretty. She won  many awards, received much publicity,  and many museums inducted her creations such as the Modern Museum of Art.

Joan Luntz Obituary
Photo of Fantasy Melmac Line is actually shown in her Obituary ! 
Refer to article / Obituary on Joan here in the Cleveland Jewish News. 

I recently came across her obituary, which I encourage you to click on the photo or link above to be taken to the Cleveland Jewish News and read.  I am a little bit sad to know she passed on Christmas day.  I for one learned some interesting things reading it.

Fantasy Pattern : Five Facts You Should Know

So with this post I write respectfully about Brookpark and in particular the line called Fantasy.

1. It's Rare.

In my years of collecting Fantasy has been somewhat hard to find and I consider it rare.  I can only tell you from being a plastics collector and researcher since the 90's I have been unable to ever see or find a complete set.  There may be several reasons for this, but if you collect it, covet it! I am not for sure if this is because it was a low production run or the fact that the plates seem to be white with design (and perhaps over time this white became stained and ended up not surviving.)

2. It's hard to identify as the Backstamps Are Most Likely Washed Away. 

Another plausible possibility is maybe no one knows what to call it if they do find it, since it's usually unmarked (and unless they really do their research. )The plates themselves were white with outlines designs reminiscent of leaves, herbs, apothecary.  The accompanying pieces were blue, solid turquoise. Most of these pieces maybe have been umarked or ink-stamped.

fantasy brookpark ink stamps
This picture proves my theory as shown in Thifty Doodads Etsy Shop.

(* Brookpark was known to ink stamp in black ink some of their pieces, which made it difficult when trying to identify lines thirty to sixty years later.  I actually washed a set of Pink Hyacinth by Brookpark (from the same timeframe) and washed the backstamps clean off!)   I confirmed this by actually finding a lot of Fantasy, and checking out the backstamps above.  They were definitely inked!

fantasy saucers by brookpark
The leafy saucers of Fantasy by Brookpark Pic/Buy them at ThriftyDoodads

3. It's Quite Possibly A Very Small Production Run.

I found it in May 1956 Magazine, up until 1959.  I have not been able to find out the exact dates of production, but this gives a three year run.  That's not a whole heck of a lot of pieces.   Additionally, it was up against other lines being introduced around the same time. For instance,  Pink Hycianth, which was in my opinion more popular and more desirable (it was pink and white and if you look in the ad on top this post you'll see how pretty, oh so pretty....)   I have found much of this pink and white in my travels and it is still easy to put together a complete set to this day.

melamine brookpark fantasy

Top Right: Bloodgood Japenese Maple leaf vs "Pot" leaf below right. Note that the leaves on the Fantasy line are freeform ferny style plant leaves.

4.  Some collectors mistook the leaves for pot leaves. ( ouch!) 

I hope if the family of Joan reads this they won't think I mean anything disrespectful to her, but I have gotten a lot of inquiries over the years "Hey, what's the pot leaf design on melmac name?" and wondered just what the reader was talking about. Now I see that that leaf structure on the plates does resemble a bit of Cannabis Sativa leaf.

If you note that the pattern of the largest leaf has a five top leaf spread and then two tiny bottom leaf patterns. This is exactly that of some photographs of hemp/Marijuana leaves.   Although I am unsure just what the leave was, I myself thought that it represented a tree that I grew up with, a cousin of the Japanese Maple---more in referred to as BLOODGOOD JAPANESE MAPLE.    I am unsure and if anyone from Joan's family reads this blog, maybe they can shed light on the leaf itself.  However, all look ferny and fantasy like with the mod dots behind them.

5. It comes in more than one color palette- look for brown hues and the blue hues. 

Although all my above talk above shows the blue on white design accompanied with solid blue pieces, I have posted an article before where the pieces were actually brown hues, with brown or tan solid pieces. Look for both in your travels.  To me, both are elusive.

See the brown pieces in my earlier post on Joan, Arrowhead, Brookpark and Fantasy here.

If you enjoy my blog, follow my Living Vintage podcasts! I'm listed in various podcasts under RetroChalet: Living a Vintage Life!  You can connect with me via Instagram or TikTok! Have a great day ! This post last updated 7.10.21

1 comment :

  1. Great info! My mother in law came across a Fantasy serving platter in a house they bought as a rental. The colors and style were a perfect match for the vintage 1954 travel trailer that my wife and I lovingly restored. I was able to identify the pattern and found and purchased a few of the dinner plates on eBay. I then lucked into another listing for a complete set a few months later, so now I have everything plus some spares. It's an amazing design and the background on Joan is fantastic.


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