The Fifties and Sixties of The Twentieth Century are not the remote past to me. But the Thirties and Forties and its Art Deco legacy are. I remember stuff from that time distinctly. The atmosphere of novelty and progress that surrounded that era is arguably in our thinking still. We still prick up our ears at the thought of “Improved”, although we give more credibility to the idea of a better Smart phone than we would to an “improved” filter cigarette. Modern was the buzz word then.
When I was six, we got a new washing machine. It was a Westinghouse Laundramat front loader with a glass window in the door (hatch). Yes, we children actually watched the clothes wash on more than one occasion. You can’t watch the Three Stooges and I Love Lucy all the time, can you? The machine was an advanced piece of design for its time. In our present time we expect advanced design.
Some items we consider kitsch today were deemed special and prized back then. For example Avocado Green appliances that came along around 1970 were highly prized, along with sister colors Harvest Gold and Coppertone, because they weren’t stark white. Finally the monotony of white was relieved.
Two items from that time that we retrieved from my grandparents/aunt’s house illustrate the point. The first is an aluminum ice bucket with a penguin motif, shown below. Pure Fifties. Lovely still. If I ever have a party, I will use it. The second item is this Harvest Gold(?) cake caddy. I can’t put a precise date on it. It is as functional as it is ugly. But What The Hell. It can carry a cake. Maybe a streusal swirl Bundt cake from a Pillsbury mix.