Tuesday, January 11, 2011

SusieQT collects: Anodized aluminum

Hi all- I thought I'd share some of the things I collect on a semi-regular basis. I know most of you are as vintage-obsessed as I am, and you may collect the same things. However, most of the time, for me, it's not just a "collection" to sit on the shelf and admire. I buy things I can actually use, and most of the things I buy are intended to replace modern items around my home so I can live a more vintage lifestyle.

Although I do have my share of things that just gather dust on the shelf and look pretty, on the whole, I'm not out to preserve things as investments (most of the time- but remember that I am a museum professional and that is still part of my mindset, but that's another post entirely!) After all, I do have two little kids running around and have to expect breakage now and then!

So, what is the perfect vintage material that is also kid-friendly? Anodized aluminum!

Items from my collection, including a tea pot, cocktail shaker and various cups.
Anodized aluminum is a process in which aluminum is hardened and dyed (if you want to know all the technical details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anodizing ) to make it suitable for a range of industrial and consumer appllications. Like many of the post-war "miracle materials", it was originally developed for military purposes, but found fame in the more humble realm of the suburban housewife in the late 1940s and 50s. It was light, colorful and unbreakable. Perfect for the outdoor patio and for the suburban parents and their 2.5 kids!  To that end much of the items available today are food and beverage containers.

These pitchers (both colored and silver) and their accompanying sets of cups, are probably what most people recognize as being anodized aluminum patio ware. Interestingly, my mother-in-law recalls that some local dairies used to sell these filled with cottage cheese as part of a sales promotion.

 This is a cream and sugar set in its original packaging.

No dribbling! ;)

Color-Craft was one of the best-known makers, along with Mirro and Anoware.

This covered cake-carrier is probably my favorite item in the collection. It is very useful and is virtually mint, except for the use I've given it.


  1. Those are all so fantastic! I am instantly drawn to anything that is Anodized Aluminum! They really are built tough too. I love your cake carrier. How classy!

  2. How funny... We switched to old anodized aluminum tumblers when our third child started using cups, because she COULDN'T BREAK THEM. :)

  3. I love all the different colors.

  4. Beautiful collection! I'm always on the lookout for anodized aluminum but rarely see it here.

    A pitcher full of cottage cheese would hit the spot right now! :)

  5. I love your anodized aluminum collection. It reminds me so much of my childhood. I've had lots of Kool-Aid out of those glasses!

  6. Those are great and such lovely colours, they are not something i have seen or come across before. I love the cake carrier. I am like you where all the vintage things i buy i use im careful but they were nade to be loved and used. Dee ;-)

  7. As soon as I looked at these, I just wanted to hold them. They look so smoooooooth. The colors are very soothing as well. Smooth and sooth - what a combination!

  8. Fab collection!The good thing about anodized aluminium apart from it's looks & practicality is that it's still so readily available & usually not as expensive as some other vintage collectables.
    Luv the cake carrier,i'll have to see if i can find one:)

  9. I remember loving my grandma's aluminium cups and always wanting a set of my own. I'm still waiting as they're hard to come across where I've lived. I heard a rumour it was because the metal was dangerous in some way (?) but I can't be certain.

  10. Perfect. When we were kids, we used to see them at a neighbor's house...you know, the one where every kid in town ended up some days? Mrs. C. always had them filled with lemonaid or Kool Aid for us.

    Most of my kitchen items are vintage, and they are so much better in make than the modern stuff, as a rule, that it's ridiculous.

    I'm still using my great aunt's colander and roasting pan...and my ex's grandmother's turkey roaster, not to mention all of the things I've dug up at antique stores and thrifts.