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Archive for October, 2008

I love this yellow butterscotch bakelite hat pin! It’s carved in the pretty geometric art deco shape and is in fabulous condition.

My Hat Pin Collection

The Bakelite

Bakelite was invented in 1907 by Dr. Leo Hendrik Baekeland, a Belgian chemist, known as the “Father of Plastics”. Baekeland’s bakelite was made of phenol and formaldehyde to combine in a thermosetting resin. Once the resin hardened, it could not be remelted by the application of heat. Bakelite consumption was at its greatest in Europe and the US from the mid-twenties to about 1950. Bakelite comes in an array of dazzling colors, which is one of the reasons it became so popular. There were a number of items made from bakelite, such as pot handles, egg beaters, spatulas, bowls, dishes, and cups used for domestic purposes. Bakelite was also used for electronics, such as radios, phonographs and televisions. Shaver handles were also made out of bakelite, toothbrushes, buttons , telephones, alarm clocks, barrettes, toothbrushes, etc. Bakelite jewelry was originally produced as a substitute for more expensive materials, such as coral and ivory. It flourished widely during the Jazz Age of the twenties and thirties. Exotic floral and geometric patterns in the Art Deco style were popular. Bakelite was dramatically combined with rhinestones, metal, glass, or wood in the early thirties. Bakelite could be found in the most prestigious department stores around the world, including Saks of New York, Harrods of London, and the Galleries Lafayette in Paris. In 1935 it was estimated that two-thirds of all costume jewelry was made from bakelite. Bakelite jewelry included, brooches, necklaces, bracelets, compacts, purse frames, and Scottie dogs due to the President of the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt; also belt buckles, cufflinks, rings, dress clips and earrings. Some of the bakelite jewelry was beautifully, intricately, and heavily carved by hand, while others had a smooth surface.


Art Deco Hat Pins

"Le Chapeau Epingle" by Auguste Renoir

"Le Chapeau Epingle" by Auguste Renoir

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Unique artisan brass Hanukkah lamp Menorah, in Ludwig Wolpert style, Israel, C. 1950.

Ludwig Yehuda Wolpert (1900-1981)

Sculptor and designer of Jewish ritual objects.
Born in 1900 in Hildesheim, Germany, to a traditional Jewish family. From 1916 until 1920 he studied sculpture in Frankfurt-am-Main’s Kunstgewerbeschule, School for Arts and Crafts.
After several years of independent work as a sculptor, he returned to the School of Arts and Crafts to study metalwork under the silversmith Leo Horowitz. Wolpert decided to devote himself to Jewish ceremonial art, applying the new trends of that time.
In 1930 he created his first work with Hebrew lettering, a Passover plate for the Seder table, made from silver, ebony, and glass.
In 1933 he immigrated to Palestine. In 1935 he became a professor at the New Bezalel Academy for Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem.
His teaching stressed simplicity and functional purity of design.
In 1956 he was invited to the Jewish Museum in New York by Drs. Abraham Kanof and Stephen Kaiser.
There he established and was designated director of the Tobe Pascher Workshop, which is devoted to the creation of modern Jewish ceremonial art.

The bronze gates of the synagogue at the Kennedy International Airport, in New York, 1968

The bronze gates of the synagogue at the Kennedy International Airport, in New York, 1968

Ludwig Wolpert authentic Hanukkah Menorahs

Hanukkah Menorahs in Ludwig Wolpert style

Art Deco Hanukkah Menorahs

Collection of menorahs at the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt.

Collection of menorahs at the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt.


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This is a very pretty round serving bowl that is divided into three semi-circular sections. It is decorated in art deco style. Signed with the Moriyama Mori-Machi logo and imprinted with the words “Hand Painted Japan” on the bottom. This pattern is dated from the 1920’s. It measures approx. 10″ in diameter.

Moriyama Mori-Machi Pottery

Moriyama Pottery was located in Mori-Machi in Shizuoka Prefecture. Moriyama Pottery was established in 1911 by Hidekichi Nakamura who was taught pottery making by Seison Suzuki. There are currently four studios continuing the Moriyama tradition in and around Mori-machi and they are Seison, Seizon, Nakamura and Tame. There seems to be two primary stamps: one appears to be a crown with a wreath of leaves similar to the wreath found on the Noritake stamp. This stamp is marked “Moriyama Hand Paint Japan.” The other is a bouquet of flowers and is marked “Moriyama Made in Japan.”

Moriyama Mori-Machi Marks

Moriyama examples

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This is a beautiful antique French bronze drapery tieback. Once made in the 1800’s to hold back the heavy draperies at elegant Chateaux and Maisons, these tiebacks have become very collectable here for such practical uses as towel holders, or hat hooks.

French Tiebacks

Drapery holder in window alcove at Versailles

Drapery holder in window alcove at Versailles

French Draperies

Etching by Van Ruyss

Etching by Van Ruyss

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