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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Melamine Revival or Pretty in Pink!

After spending a few days in the sunshine (sorry) I find myself feeling summery and excited about the great cottage decor, chachkas and home decor we've been putting out (and ordering in!). There are many great things coming your way but my personal fave right now is the pink Melamine dish set! Yes, I said set, as in service for 6 complete with serving dishes! Did I mention it is PINK?

Melamine was first developed in the late 1930's by an Ohio based company called American Cyanamid. It did not make it to the tables of the general population, however, until after WWII as it was almost immediately rationed for wartime manufacture for use by the Navy. The metal plates previously used by the Navy would dent easily on rough seas and also chilled food quickly. As Melamine disheware was lightweight and not thermally conductive it was the perfect solution for servicemen at sea.

In 1944 the American Cyanamid company commissioned designer Russell Wright to design the first line of dishes which went by the name Meladur. This development led to 11 other companies producing Melamine dishware by 1945 with Boontonware and Melmac becoming two of the more popular and enduring lines.

In the early 1950's porcelain manufacturers, who dominated dinner tables, saw Melamine as a threat to their industry. They quickly launched a smear campaign claiming that the plastic dishes gave off toxic fumes which could taint food and poison people. Fortunately their nefarious scheme failed and they were forced to develop lighter weight tableware to become competitive. Melamine endured because it was affordable, easy to care for, durable and most of all fun - with a huge selection of pretty and lively colors and interesting modern design.

Interest in Melamine products waned in the late 60's, early 70's as a new line of plastics was introduced - all hail Tupperware! Melamine has since become collectible and is also experiencing a revival as modern designers embrace the material and create products with bold colors and designs. There are also a number of companies presently replicating the Vintage designs in 'original' colors. It seems everything old is new again and Melamine offers an opportunity for designers to create fun and affordable products.

We are continually looking for and accumulating authentic Vintage Melamine so that we can offer you an opportunity to embrace both past and present. Today, Melamine is often chosen as picnic pieces because of the durability, but we think it looks better than fine set out on the table for dinner.

And if you are getting yourself a full service set of pretty pink Melamine dishes you may as well pick up a few other pretty pink accoutrements....

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