Wm. C. Mithoefer, ca. 1959
Cooped indoors as we currently are, I spotted these melamine plates and fantasized about throwing the kind of cocktail parties my parents once did, all early-60s Pink Hyacinth and Tropicana Turquoise. My personal fave (and apparently the rarest) is the Fantasy pattern. Sadly, my family would have opted for the more conservative Colonial, which is undoubtably the sort of plate the 18th century colonists would have eaten off of, if only they’d had melamine plates.
Melamine came to dinnerware in the late 1940s. These examples are from a decade or so later. Joan Luntz (Goulder) was a leading figure in the informal dining revolution, creating designs from her Ohio-based studio for 5 decades. And not only on plastic dinnerware, but also wallpaper, drapes, placemats, bed sheets, towels and more. She died only a few years ago at age 95.
There’s more mid-century madness on the flip side of the page, as a housewife wearing an off-the-shoulder cocktail dress goes into paroxysms of delight at the sight of an electric can-opener…with optional knife sharpener. Housewives used to do this a lot – see this Sears page. $29 (list price) was a lot of money for a can opener about 1959. Her husband must have really loved her.
There are four color options, but once again the pink and the turquoise are standouts. Bet those would fetch a pretty penny at a local antique mall. I’d go look for one, but they’re all closed around here. So I’ll stay inside and continue planning my 50s fantasy dinner party. Vienna sausages and pineapple, anyone?
Wm. C. Mithoefer , whose catalog insert this is, was a midwestern wholesaler of general goods for many years.