Mr. J. Donald Burke, Burke & Wallace Silversmiths, Canadian Vintage

Celebrating Mr. J. Donald Burke, and sharing this post with gratitude…

Some of you might remember this pair of vintage silver goblets I featured over at Audrey Would! A beautiful boxed set nestled in turquoise satin by silversmiths, Burke and Wallace.

Burke & Wallace Silver Plated Goblets, Boxed Set

Today it is my privilege and honour to share a little history about Mr. J. Donald Burke, written and provided to me by Mr. Burke’s daughter, Shirley Imbeau.

But first, do you recognize this 36″ high, 35 pound silver goblet in the hands of J. Donald Burke? Yes, the Stanley Cup is very much a part of Mr. Burke’s story!

J. Donald Burke (1963), Stanley CupJ. Donald Burke, 1963 (Photo courtesy of Shirley Imbeau)

A glimpse into the life of J. Donald Burke as written and shared by daughter, Shirley Imbeau:

J. Donald Burke  was born in a small town, Trenton, Ontario, Canada in 1922.  His father died when he was twelve and being the oldest son in a family of 5 children, he left school with a 7th grade education, and started working to support the family at a silver manufacturing plant, Benedict Proctor and Sons. He started in the cleaning department, and learned to love and understand the silver business.

He had mastoid surgery in 1942 and completely lost his hearing in one ear so was unable to fight in the war, but moved to Toronto and set up a silver repair business.  He was able to get financing from Mr. Wallace (unrelated to Wallace Sterling) and Burke and Wallace became a silver manufacturing company in Toronto.  With amazing people skills, a gift he has always used for God, and with what my mother always referred to as ‘know how’, he grew the business until it was the largest in Canada until he sold it in 1986 and it was subsequently and very sadly closed down.

He made silver under many trademarks; I still don’t recognize them all!  For many years he repaired the Stanley Cup, added rings, and made individual cups for the players of the winning teams.  In 1963 it was decided that the cup was becoming too brittle to be enjoyed by the winning teams and he made an exact replica. On Nov 4, 2014, the Keepers of the Cup, Phil Pritchard and Craig Campbell brought the cup for a special visit to the retirement home where my father now lives.

J. Donald Burke, 2014, Stanley CupJ. Donald Burke, 2014 (Photo courtesy of Shirley Imbeau)

Such a privileged glimpse into an amazing man’s story! I’m sad too, that Burke & Wallace no longer exists, and am grateful to have come across these goblets, grateful for what transpired next.

And what did transpire? How does all of this tie together with Audrey Would? Some of you might remember this Facebook post from January…

Burke & Wallace Goblets

Wouldn’t you agree, this is a truly beautiful goblet set?

And now, here is where the goblets have ended up…

We are so delighted to have the wine goblets, and my son Andrew who adores his grandfather and found them on your website, is now the proud owner.

[Shirley Imbeau] 

I have always believed it’s in the stories where each piece comes to life, and these goblets definitely have a life! They have certainly travelled a journey to find their way home.
Thank you Shirley, for taking the time to share a little of your father’s story!
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Photographs by Sheila Zeller unless otherwise indicated. Please link and credit if you choose to use. As a courtesy, please do not republish the images of Mr. J. Donald Burke without the consent of Shirley Imbeau.

Shat-R-Pruf Spaghetti String Cocktail Glasses

Did you know the once popular psychedelic spaghetti lamps of the retro 1960s-70s strung their style into cocktail glasses, too?

That’s right. Coined ‘spaghetti string’ glasses, these vintage roly poly glasses are from the Shat-R-Pruf line made by Colour Craft Corporation out of Indianapolis.

Spaghetti String Roly Poly Caddy Set (x8) Colour Craft (3)

Shat-R-Pruf pieces were made of glass and coated with plastisol, a liquid form of vinyl cured by heat to set the shape. If you look closely at the rim of these rolies you can see the glass is clear. The actual colour is in the Tu-tone Plastisol, the first layer being the solid coating and colour, the second layer being the spaghetti string design.

Spaghetti String Roly Poly Caddy Set (x8) Colour Craft (2)

Plastisol feels rubbery to the touch and makes the glasses easier to hold. The vinyl coating also makes the glasses shatter proof and acts as an insulator. This means drinks stay colder for longer, but with less slippery condensation on the glass! I would say these are quality features in a cocktail glass, but others might deem them ‘safety’ features, too! 😉

BAR-4098-SZ Spaghetti Roly Poly Caddy Set (x8) Colour Craft (1)

And… apparently these glasses will not stain or fade, and are dishwasher safe. I won’t argue with the manufacturer, but I have my own reservations about vintage treasures and dishwashers playing in the same game. I’ll leave that decision up to you! Whatever you decide, definitely do not prolong soaking – this will encourage the plastisol coating to peel… I’ve done this!

If you want to go retro but aren’t too hip on psychedelic swag, why not add this Shat-R-Pruf caddy set to your own barware collection? Interested… Purchase here.

At Audrey Would! we think they are a fun-tastic find!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use!

 

Vintage Metal Milk Crates Go Curbside!

No, it’s not what you might think? Sadly, we aren’t getting our milk delivered to our doorstep in old glass milk bottles carted in vintage metal crates… but we can wish!

It all started with a quick little thrift, and somehow I ended up with these!

Milk Crates (2)

The shop keeper was so great – he told me he remembered these crates from when he was just a kid. His family owned a corner store, and the milk used be delivered in crates like these. The one in the foreground is apparently older, he thought from at least the early 1950s. If you notice, the top and bottom are different than the ones in the background.

Here’s another look.

Milk Crates (4)

On the left are two crates, one stacked inside the other, and do you see the round ends at the top of each corner? Now check out the top of the lone 1950s crate. No round ends at its upper corners. According to the shop keeper, the stacked crates are from the mid1960s and were purposefully redesigned to better accommodate storage.

Here’s a bird’s-eye view of both vintage crate styles.

Milk Crates (1)

Can you see the bar sitting towards the inside  top of the left crate? The 1960s crates were designed with two bars opposite each other at the top. The purpose of the round ends I mentioned earlier was to enable the bars to slide, and this was so the crates could stack one inside of the other when empty.

If you look closely below, you’ll see a slight taper to the profile of the 1960s crates compared to the 1950s design. In this image you can also see how the bars slip in and out of place, and that when they narrow up they also dip lower. This creates a ridge for the top crate to sit down into.

Milk Crates (5)

Both styles of crates were designed to stack. The problem was transporting and storing them when they were empty. You see, the 1950s crates took up the same storage space whether empty or full, and were cumbersome to move.

With the improved 1960s design, not only did the crates stack better when full, but the sliding rods allowed them to stack inside of each other when empty making carting and storing a lot easier! The shop keeper told me storage was always a problem, especially with the 1950s style, and that any overflow of empty crates simply got left outside. Hmmm, can you tell?

Here’s how I’m using my vintage milk crates now…

Milk Crates Potted Up (1)

Milk Crates Potted Up

Milk Crates Potted Up (2)

Milk Crates Potted Up (4b)

The fun part of this story…

I fell in love with the 1950s crate on the spot, and really wanted a few more. But when I looked around all I could see were crates that had been painted black. Now I love my black, but in this case I love weathered and rusty more. It just so happens my friendly shop keeper had what I was looking for… he just had to fetch them from out behind his storage shed, grass, dirt and all! 😉 Love it!!

I do love rusty ‘old’ things, and if you missed it, I wrote about ‘that’ crush here!

How about you? For the love of vintage, do you prefer your pieces to be aged and old, or DIYed to look new?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please credit and link if you choose to use! 🙂