Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Recent Bakelite finds

I was just lamenting the lack of Bakelite in the thrift stores back in the summer. Then I had a few finds and my luck has changed! Good thing, because there is nothing I like finding more in a thrift store than Bakelite (yes, even Pyrex, although that is a really close second!) I don't know about you all, but I can't afford internet prices on Bakelite, so I have to get mine the old fashioned way.

And this first one was really done the old-fashioned way- digging through stuff at the pound store!

This cute red scotty was actually a zipper pull on a kids' outfit. The outfit looks to me to be from the late 60s/70s- it's double knit polyester with a scotty motif. In and of itself, the outfit is cute enough that I bought it to resell, but the bakelite zipper pull will be far more valuable. It's pretty large- 1.75 inches from nose to tail- so I think I will make it into a necklace or pin at some point. Just goes to show you that sometimes bakelite can be found in the most unlikely of places.

These earrings I found at a thrift store, and they are what is called "end-of-day" Bakelite, meaning that any leftover single colors were mixed together. They are kind of mustard with bluish-green striations (there's your SAT word for today) and are clip-ons. When I went to pay for them, the lady at the counter looked at me and said- "Oh, these are Bakelite, they're probably worth more than the $5 price tag..."

Really? You don't say...I had no idea.... Gee, and here I was just buying them because I needed a pair of mustard-colored earrings! :)

This bangle I just found today- had a few extra minutes and stopped into a thrift store on the way to pick up my daughter from school. It's a really heavy ivory bakelite. Surprisingly, I don't have any bangles this color (lots of red, yellow and orange, though) so I suspect it will get a lot of wear. It's also a bit oval in shape- I have never seen that before- $2.

This last is a single butter knife. I was really fortunate to find this because the thrift store I was shopping in usually prices their Bakelite utensils through the roof. (I guess it's because every time you open MS Living or Country Living in the recipe sections you see photos staged with these old bakelite-handled utensils- ever noticed that?) Anyway, I always buy them if I can get them cheap, and this was- 25 cents. Must have slipped through the cracks!

And I don't care if it matches anything else, because this is how I display them:

Just fun to look at next to the stove!


  1. Wow lucky you...I have never found Bakelite in the thrift stores YET, but I hopefully will find some because I love it, it is second runner up and first place is Pyrex (Of course) =)

  2. Great finds! I love the way you display the assortment of utensils in the kitchen.

  3. I love Bakelite but never seem to find it in the thrift stores. Maybe this is because I don't know exactly what to look for. What is your go to method for figuring out if something is Bakelite or just regular old plastic?


    1. Erica- Bakelite is a lot heavier than regular plastic; it weighs more like glass, and also sounds more like glass when you tap it against something heavy. It also has no seams, so if you see a mold line anywhere it's not Bakelite. But usually I just moisten my finger a bit and rub it really hard (not the coolest thing to do in front of a shop clerk, but you've got to do it) and smell the plastic to see if it has a chemical smell. Bakelite has a distinctive smell when heated (through friction, or hot water if you have that available) because it was manufactured with formaldehyde.

  4. Wonderful finds! "End of the day" Bakelite who knew?!

  5. If you ever want to sell the red dog zipper pull, please write!

    It is adorable and would look great around my neck, yes it would!

  6. Nice finds, glad you find it before the world ends today! Tonight?

  7. I had a lucky one this week. Would you believe a couple of cherries?! Strings attached, and a leaf. Plus the brass ring. I think it came off a necklace.

    It's so much fun to find them for a bargain. I am just not willing to pay $$$ for a piece of plastic, no matter how much I like it.

    Good finds, Sue!