July 25, 2006 in Home

Readers take a shine to household items made of aluminum

Cheryl-Anne Millsap cam@spokesman.com
Brian Plonka photo

Donna Halvorson displays an aluminum serving platter. Halvorson has collected aluminum for 15 years.
(Full-size photo)

Show and tell

I’ll bet we’ve just scratched the surface. Hammered, hand-forged and hand-wrought aluminum pieces are plentiful. They’re easy to find at estate sales, thrift stores and garage sales.

For many people, they’re the building blocks of households that were started more than 50 years ago.

I’m still interested in your story. This week’s show and tell assignment is vintage aluminum. Share your story by calling me at (509) 459-5153 or by email at cam@spokesman.com

On the Web

For an archive of great Home content, including Treasure Hunt columns and Cheryl-Anne Millsap’s blog, access the information at no charge at spokesmanreview.com/home

Last week I wrote about a set of aluminum coasters I picked up at an estate sale, and I asked readers to share their own stories.

As always, treasure hunters got back to me.

Supply and Demand

Donna Halvorson wrote to say she’s collected vintage aluminum ware for 15 years.

“It started with a gift from my Mother and another from a wonderful neighbor,” Halvorson wrote. “Then I was ‘hooked.’ ”

Halvorson is drawn to the craftsmanship and durability of aluminum. “I love the designs and patterns, as well as the fact that they are pretty indestructible,” she wrote. “That’s important for a family with three boys!”

In the time Halvorson has been picking up vintage aluminum ware, she’s noticed a change in the market.

“I complained once that the pieces I was purchasing were going up in price,” she wrote. “My son said it was my own fault as I had single-handedly caused an increased supply and demand.”

The one that got away

Carol Mueller has had a change of heart about an aluminum piece she received as a wedding present in 1956.

“I threw away a jam set that had aluminum lids, tray and handle,” Mueller wrote. “But I kept the coaster set.”

Mueller said her coasters look a lot like the set I wrote about and gave me some information about the manufacturers.

Her favorite piece is a tray that belonged to an aunt.

“It has Bamboo handles and a beautiful Bamboo design on the hammered tray,” Mueller wrote. “I have always loved that tray.”

Like a lot of us, Mueller can’t quite forget a piece she got rid of.

“Why,” she wrote, “did I throw the jam set away?”

Passing the test of time

Shirley Pantaleo also has a piece she received as a wedding gift.

“We received a three-tiered cookie server and an aluminum serving tray,” Pantaleo wrote. “I gave the cookie server away, but I still use and treasure the serving tray.”

Pantaleo has proof that things made in the 1950s were built to last: “My husband and I will be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary on Aug. 4, 2006.”

A new passion

Marcy Tunik is a newcomer to the vintage aluminum market, but she’s hooked.

“I’ve just begun collecting more of these pieces,” Tunik wrote. “It started with a desk basket my parents bought in the 50s, made by Wendell August Forge in Western Pennsylvania.”

When Tunik read in the 2005 summer issue of Country Home magazine that vintage aluminum was a hot collectible, she knew she was on to something.

“That was all I needed to jump-start my search.”

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