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Posted 7 years ago

(674 items)

An Australian item that here is no longer considered a piece of 'Kitsch' but is part of the Powerhouse Museum's collection in the city of Sydney where I live. We call this type of ware 'Australiana'.

I found it in a St Vincent de Paul store six months ago for five dollars, took it home and gave it a polish. It had been ignored for years but the EPNS plate was still fully intact. It dates from the 1920's - 1930's when there was a vogue for using Australian flora and fauna on commercial items.

It's always nice to have something that a museum has also seen as being worthwhile. Mine is just a little bit better, however!

The description of the item at the Powerhouse Museum is:

"Toast rack, featuring gum leaf motif, electroplated nickel silver, made by Phoenix Manufacturing Company Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1920 - 1930

A toast rack made in electroplated nickel silver featuring a large flat base in shape of eucalyptus gum leaf with veins engraved into top surface, four spherical feet attached underneath and a the four-slotted toast holder formed by spiral of thick circular section wire with rounded ends and attached by threaded bolts through base to washer and knurled nuts. Marked on base.
Made: Phoenix Manufacturing Co Pty Ltd; Melbourne, Victoria; 1920 - 1930
Marks: Marked on base 'E.P.N.S. / MADE IN AUSTRALIA / REGISTERED / 181'.
Height 60 mm Width 75 mm


"The toast Rack was made by the Phoenix Manufacturing Company in Melbourne, 1925.

The Phoenix Manufacturing Co. was established in Melbourne, Victoria, in 1915. The company's formation was in response to World War I and the subsequent reduction of imports from the UK, USA and Europe. By 1919 Phoenix were employing 125 people and by 1928 had doubled the size of their premises. However, by 1950 this good fortune was to change. The combination of growing public acceptance of stainless steel and a Post World War II doubling of sales tax to 66 percent eventuated in the closure of Phoenix in the mid 1960s."

My toast rack is the exact same except that it has an added "kookaburra". Phoenix also made kookas that were used on a variety of forms: trophies, napkin rings and tableware.

This toast rack is an example of the golden era for the production of domestic silverware in Australia by early 20th century silverware manufacturers.


  1. AmberRose AmberRose, 7 years ago
    Lovely V! Do you use it at breakfast?
  2. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
    Many thanks BELLIN68 and AmberRose too!
    What are you two up so late for?
  3. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
    Breakfast? It's a museum item! LOL!
  4. BeauxPurdy BeauxPurdy, 7 years ago
    I found some of these (none this beautiful) cleaning out grandparents house, and kept wondering why the letter-holders were kept in pantry next to the little salt & pepper shakers... I thought they were for organizing mail on desk! Oooops.
    I wish I had kept one!
  5. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
    And why not use them like that?
    I have some other silver ones that are more English and whacky in their own way here:

  6. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
    Thanks BeauxPurdy! I had another thought about the spiral on the leaf: it reminds me of a worm that might eat the leaf and then be eaten by the kookaburra!
  7. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
    Thanks austrohungaro & thanks to you too ozmarty!
  8. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
    Many thanks PhilDavidAlexanderMorris. I'm glad to see of course that Australiana has a wider market than our island borders! I've got some watercolours that are of the ozzie fana that might be of interest.
  9. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
    Thanks again czechman!
  10. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
    Many thanks miKKoChristmas11!
  11. vetraio50 vetraio50, 6 years ago
    Many thanks mustangT!
  12. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    Many thanks TOM61375!
  13. tom61375, 5 years ago
    You are very welcome vetraio50! =)
  14. Aimathena Aimathena, 5 years ago
    Really love this one Kev
  15. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    Many thanks AaAIMATHENA, that bread looks great, young mate!
  16. Aimathena Aimathena, 5 years ago
    You are most welcome Kev :) and thank you very much for the bread compliment. its a simply wonderful homemade recipe. I'm more than happy to email it to you.
  17. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks AGHCOLLECT!!!!!
  18. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks NUTSABOTAS!!!!
  19. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
  20. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks FOXTERRIER9LIVES !!!!!!!!!!
  21. Virginia.vintage Virginia.vintage, 4 years ago
    Una belleza! Wonderful!
  22. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    La ringrazio tanto VIRGINIA VINTAGE !!!!!!!!
  23. Virginia.vintage Virginia.vintage, 4 years ago
    Muchas gracias a usted vetraio50!!!! :)
  24. Anil Anil, 4 years ago
    That's item so nice, I am lucky find one similar as yours today, but the animals are different, you can check from my page, can you tell me how can I polish it like yours? Thanks!
  25. vetraio50 vetraio50, 4 years ago
    Many thanks ANIL !!!

    I use silver polish infrequently.

    When I first bought this item the condition of the piece was very good and it had hardly been polished.

    Most of the silver remains.

    Each time you clean with a polish you take away a thin layer of silver .... so I try to avoid it by storing my silver away from draughts in a dark cupboard.

    When they need a polish I use a silver cloth and not a liquid polish.

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