Thursday, September 10, 2009

collecting: melamine bowls

I am a collector.  Things in multiples are visually pleasing to me.  If a particular objects speaks to me, then I want to own, not just one, but as many as I can find.  This year, I have done a lot of simplifying around our house, but I still have plenty of collections.  I will be doing regular posts on collections-what I collect, what others' collect, some history of the item and display ideas.
Some of you may have noticed that many of my food post photos feature melamine bowls.  I have collected these for many years and love the fact that they are both lovely and practical.  I use them every day, whether it's for mixing, serving, storing or compost. 
I keep stacks of them in my cupboards.........
and stacks handy on my kitchen island.
The majority of the bowls that I collect were made in the 1950's and 60's in Dallas, Texas by the Plastics Manufacturing Corporation (hence the commonly known moniker "TexasWare").  There were many different manufacturers of plasticware or melamine, and just like mid-century pottery, some were marked on the bottom and some were not.  Thus, Melmac and TexasWare, which are brand names, became generic terms for plastic ware from this time.  The multi-colored bowls are also referred to as spatter, splatter or speckle ware.  They came about as a way to use up surplus manufacturing materials that could not be re-melted, but could be molded and heated into these speckled bowls.  Sometimes the best results come from leftovers-the color combos in these bowls are fantastic, and they give me joy everyday. 


  1. Well, good. I can still be on the lookout for SOMETHING to give you for your birthday!

  2. i have always admired this style of bowl ~ cool to know more about them:)