Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

March 30, 2012

Treasure Hunting Report: Melmac, Who Knew?


Confession: I am sometimes a snob when it comes to materials.  I refuse to wear polyester.  I like the feel of vintage Irish linen tea towels.  If it means I can only afford to buy one sweater a year, I spring for soft wool or cashmere (and I literally bought only one sweater this winter).  I like things to feel good, plus I like to buy things that will last and I have more confidence in certain materials.  With this snobbery in mind, I have felt a bit "meh" about plastic dishes.  But when we stopped by Bentley's Flea Market a few weeks ago and Gemma pointed out how cute the vintage Melmac dishes Annette was selling would be for a play kitchen, of course I took a second look.   I'm play kitchen obsessed right now!


For what will be the best-accessorized play kitchen ever, I picked up a few sugar bowls that look like mini casseroles and some plates that will act as platters, in colours that were made to match the adorable ice cream cone fabric we've been making tea towels and pot holders from.  The shape and colours of vintage Melmac dishes are so sweet, I'm sad for the lost years I snubbed it.

Melmac, for those who don't know (I didn't, so I researched), is a brand of melamine produced by the manufacturer American Cyanamid.  It was used by various companies/designers to make dinnerware that became popular in the 1940s, after melamine (a durable, thermoset plastic) became affordable.  Melmac was produced in later decades also and you can find pieces from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.  Even Russel Wright used the material to make stylish mid-century dinnerware! 




No play kitchen plans?  I think that these durable, stylish pieces would be perfect for storing bathroom goodies like Q-tips and makeup.  Or a set would be great for patio parties.  I love non-breakable items for spaces in which I run around barefoot.

The Retro Kitchen

Here are a few logos for your reference, and check out this website for more links and information for collecting and identifying pieces.


Some melamine tips:
  • Do not microwave.
  • Keep away from heat (like a stove top).
  • Avoid using sharp knives because it can become scuffed or scratched.
  • Avoid hunting for Melmac at Ottawa yard sales because I will find you and give you what Hubby calls my "sad-face".  It is super sad and you will cry and feel guilty forever. 
SHARE:

16 comments

  1. So this is where Alf is from! Who knew! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahaha!!! I never thought an Alf reference would pop up on the blog. Yep, Alf is from the planet Melmac, likely where this material was discovered, lol.

      Delete
  2. i am totally having plastic dish envy over here. and that is hilarious about alf!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great colors.
    I used to collect it ages ago.
    It was so fun seeing the different stampings on the bottom.

    Amy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I am totally obsessed with how many designers/manufacturers actually made this stuff!

      Delete
  4. SO glad you are doing this project!! I love, love, love your collection so far. The colours are perfection.

    Is there an age limit to who can come play in that kitchen? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I scored a free set of cabinets from kijiji before I bought the ones I'm using, so let's make a mini kitchen just for us, lol!

      Delete
  5. We have a cool orange set on Etsy, but I am seriously thinking about keeping it for myself to use when the boys come over. I'll need shatterproof dishes for them for quite a few more years.

    Yours are perfect with the ice cream fabric.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooo, sounds pretty! They would be perfect for the boys and you love orange!!

      Delete
  6. VERY cool. I never liked plasticy dishes either (fiesta ware snob) but these are cuttttte

    ReplyDelete
  7. So amazing for a play kitchen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Be my auntie!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dude....I just bought 8 cups, 4 saucers, 11 bread plates for $10. 'genuine melmac' by rainboware.....totally thought of you!!!

    ReplyDelete

You've made my day - I love hearing from you! I approve comments only to keep out the spam, so don't worry if your comment doesn't pop up right away.

© Dans le Lakehouse | All rights reserved.
See What Inspires Me on Pinterest