Saturday, August 27, 2011

Vintage Metal Basket Purses with Some Lucite Thrown In Too...

One of the original bling purses...shiny and eye catching...the vintage metal basket purse.  Popular during the same time period as my beloved lucite lovelies, these purses were crafted out of woven metal strips and often had lucite or plastic details.  Dorset Rex was the best known producer of this type of bag, but Majestic and Tyrolean also produced boxy purses using metal detail with plastic.

These purses tend to age better than the all lucite bags in that the metal holds up better.  Lucite and Bakelite can become brittle, chipping and cracking easily. For this reason, I do not use my lucite purses very often.  The metal purses are much easier to throw a wallet, cell, and sunglasses into without worrying about damage.  They also tend to be lighter weight than solid lucite.

A great book for pictures is:

Plastic Handbags  
Sculpture to Wear                                       
                      by Kate E. Dooner

It's an older book, first published in 1992, but the pictures of all lucite and lucite/metal purses are incredible...definite eye candy for purse fiends.  It's also a great resource for a purse collector because it lists the major manufacturers from the late 40's through the 50's, gives you a chapter on each, and gives you a sense of each company's style.  I often have a good idea of who made one of these vintage purses just by looking at it because most companies did have a unique style.

These purses also tend to be less expensive than their lucite counterparts and ship better if you're buying off the internet....two great reasons to start collecting these beautiful purses.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Telephone Cord Purse?


I first spotted one of these babies years ago and was immediately hooked.  Talk about funky...a purse decorated with telephone cord.  I think part of my infatuation was the nostalgia of the cord, having grown up in the pre cell phone days...sitting in the kitchen talking on the phone that was attached to a coiling cord, that was attached to the wall.  In those days, your parents could hear the whole conversation...can you imagine!?  Anyway, like I said, I spotted a black and white telephone cord clutch and had to have it.

even the bottom of the bags have the cord detail

I was at a yearly Antique Market in Moss Landing, California, cold and foggy, as it is held right next to the Pacific Ocean.  The lady selling the purse obviously didn't think it was all that special because she asked next to nothing for it....SCORE!  So, after the first purse, I wanted know, like the addict I am.  I started to ask around at all the antique stores and the workers would all look at me like I had grown a second head.  A purse with telephone cord?  They'd never heard of it.  I searched it on Ebay...with no results.   I hunted for the elusive telephone cord purse for several years...with the occasional sighting in a purse book.  Each time I found one in a store, I would buy it, until I now have a decent size selection of purses to choose from.  And they are great to use....very durable and if they get dirty, just wipe them off.

At first I thought that the purses had to be newer...possibly the late 60's, but found out they were a 50's thing...a lot of great plastics came out of WWII, and the plastic technology was used to create some pretty terrific bags in the 50's and 60's.  Now, plastic is just plastic...something we debate over whether to drink water out of.  But think of a time when plastic was new and exciting...

Maybe they're not everyone's thing, but I just love them...all the more because they are not everyone's thing!


this is my absolute favorite...bright red and white with a twisted handle


the purse that started it all...the clutch in the front