Now open.


Red retro melamine canister. $20 + postage.
Bartone Houseware. Made in Australia. Crikey, how long ago was that? I’m thinking 1960s?

13cm high x 18 cm diameter.


Click to BUY or to browse my Etsy Shop.


Composed of nitrogen, carbon and hydrogen, the compound was invented in the 1830s by a German scientist and came into fashion as a material used to make plastics and laminates in the late 1930s. When combined with formaldehyde and exposed to extreme heat, melamine creates a moldable material that, when cooled, is virtually unbreakable and dishwasher-safe. This made it the durable dishware of choice on some U.S. Navy ships during World War II. After the war, designer Russel Wright and the St. Louis-based company Branchell, among others, developed molded dinnerware out of melamine, known as Melmac.
Throughout the 1950s, as Americans started buying processed foods and washing machines, clamoring for anything that conveyed “modern,” colorful melamine bowls and plates became mainstays in kitchens across the country. Unfortunately, Melmac tableware was prone to scratches and stains and so the dishes fell out of favor by the 1970s, as more resilient household plastics were phased in and families returned to ceramic, china and glass-made dishes.

In the past decade or so, Melmac has become popular again, with collectors and savvy eBay dealers, and new designers using the material for retro-themed household items.

SOURCE: ‘A brief history of Melamine’ Kate Pickert.