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"Danish Modern" Style Stainless and Bakelite Flatware

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Mid-Century Modern2724 of 2742Red Wing 'Town and Country' DinnerwareMid Century California Chair by Sherman/Bertram
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    Posted 11 years ago

    (6 items)

    We had a few place settings (knife, fork, spoon) from a mid-1960's grocery store promotion in Los Angeles, Ralph's on at Vermont and Sunset. Over the years we found a few more pieces on Goodwill runs. Our last big search was on a trip in the late '90's up the coast from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, stopping at every Goodwill and thrift shop we could find. We found over a dozen similar pieces, thirty years after the promotion. We still look for them. They are stamped "STAINLESS JAPAN" on most of them. Over the years usage has damaged some of the bakelite (I'm guessing) inserts, and we have repaired them with liquid steel epoxy tinted black. There are several variations, some have incised lines and/or stars, others are smooth. I love these old tools, and use them every day. They remind me of when my bride and I were young, in love, and carefree. Nowadays, two out three ain't bad...

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    1. Melissa, 11 years ago
      Love this set. I don't know if I've ever seen any thrifting. I'm very impressed by your ability to repair them with liquid steel epoxy. How exactly do you do that?
    2. jonhartz jonhartz, 11 years ago
      The epoxy I use is JB Weld, there are other similar ones. It comes in two tubes, one with black gunk and one with white. When a couple dabs of each are properly mixed, it becomes Navy gray and is ready to apply. This stuff was originally used to secure floor mats in submarines. It is workable for some time, but eventually becomes rock hard. When hard, it can be worked and shaped with metal tools, and tinted with markers. When one of my pieces fails, it is usually a piece of the bakelite that breaks off, probably because I wash them in the dishwasher. They can take this for years, most of the ware has never broken. I can either stick the broken piece back on using the JB or simply fill the space with the weld and shape it after it hardens. The Stainless never fails. I use this weld for all kinds of repairs where beautiful restoration is not required, such as outdoor ceramic pots.
    3. Melissa, 11 years ago
      Thanks so much for explaining the repairs. I didn't realize that could be done with JB. It's good to know as so many of my things are vintage and not always in terrific condition. BTW, the close up showed the starburst. Now I'm completely covetous of your flatware. Beautiful set.
    4. MsDowAntiques MsDowAntiques, 11 years ago
      This brings back such memories. I grew up in Los Angeles, and we had this same set, accumulated over many weeks of grocery shopping. I remember how the black material would get broken off in the garbage disposal, and we still used them, with their metal skeletons exposed. But not for company, of course!

      They are definitely NOT bakelite, which is a plastic. In the trade, the black handle material is simply referred to as SYNTHETIC -- see this fabulous book about STAINLESS FLATWARE --

    5. jonhartz jonhartz, 11 years ago
      Thanks for the comments, very interesting. The reason I called the black material "bakelite" is that I have the family Revereware collection of pots and lids, made back when they were heavy and copper-bottomed, and the lids all have the black material handles. I was told from childhood that this was bakelite, an early plastic that was impervious to cooking level heat. The flatware material is very similar to my lid handles. Here is a link with more information on bakelite. Now I don't know what I have!
    6. MsDowAntiques MsDowAntiques, 11 years ago
      Try the bakelite tests that your link suggests - I'll bet it comes up neg. for bakelite. I tried to find what the synthetic handles were really made of, but didn't find an answer. But you know what you have -- 1960s Japan stainless grocery store give aways with low collector value. Someday they may be worth more. Similar sets languish on ebay.
    7. jonhartz jonhartz, 11 years ago
      Yes, I know exactly what I have, I collected it. I meant the black material. I have no interest in the value as it has none, other than the 50 cents I paid for the pieces I found at Goodwill. This is a purely sentimental collection. I have searched Ebay without success, does anyone have a current link?
    8. Marlene, 10 years ago
      looking for similar set with the black synthetic or bakelite with a bamboo pattern inlay also purchased in '60-'70's at grocery store. Don't know the name of pattern and are looking for some.
    9. alisa , 10 years ago
      I have a few pieces of this pattern, ready to post on eBay with free shipping!
    10. Jon Hartz, 10 years ago
      Alisa, send me the link, please!
    11. Alisa, 10 years ago
      Hi Jon, Sorry, I did not realize I should not post links for sale here when I found this site, but if you search eBay you will see it. Vintage Danish Modern Stainless Flatware Japan Synthetic Black Handle Stars, hope it helps, I love this site and don't want to break the rules or appear to be disrespectful in any way!
    12. jonhartz jonhartz, 9 years ago
      I now have over two dozen pieces of various designs thanks to Alisa, and I can stop haunting the thrift shops for more....
    13. recycleista recycleista, 9 years ago
      Thank you so much for providing info on where this set originated! I found quite a few pieces at a thrift recently and I'll be posting them for sale soon. I've been researching, and originally I thought they were by Eldan~they have similar one, but no stars on them.
      But I realized they would say 'Eldan' if that's who made them!
      Looking at my set, I have some cocktail forks, a sugar spoon, a serving spoon, some dessert forks, teaspoons, tablespoons. Not too many dinner knives or forks.
      If you have any 'holes' in your set you'd like to fill, let me know!!

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