Collecting Vintage Melmac & Melamine Dinnerware
Melmac is Colorful!
Collecting Vintage Melmac 101
Collecting vintage melmac can be fun and inexpensive. Putting together a set piece by piece can be a challenge and viewed as a "treasure hunt." Thrift stores, yard sales, garage sales, flea markets, Etsy, Ebay and online sites can prove to be good sources to assemble your set.
I started out 30 years ago putting together 10 cent pieces to assemble a pink set. I soon found out that none of my pinks matched due to the fact there were so many molders and different lines and hues available! Once you get into collecting, it can be fun and exciting!
It was then after my first glimpse of Russel Wright's
Expect to pay higher prices for designers or hard to find pieces. Start small and simple and assemble what you can for less, then pay more only for pieces to complete your set.
Vintage melamine dinnerware makes a nice modern display in your home or colorful addition to your china cabinet. Dishes can go well at a summertime cookout or special picnic but should not be microwaved.
Melmac Collecting Can Be Colorful and Fun!
Colors Provide Option for Collectors
My Russel Wright Melmac Shelves
Tips for Display of Melmac
As you can see, Melmac can be a gorgeous collectible. These used to line the walls of my office and put me in in a hugely creative mood. Melmac dishes inspired my every move due to the bright colors and funky designs.
I strongly recommend a glass faced cabinet, as these are a real pain to dust. Also be wary of the cabinetry you use, as most melmac can be extremely heavy, especially that of the 1940's to 50's which some lines were chunkier and had more melamine.
Cheaply made particle board will eventually bend and break when overloaded with melmac!
Some collectors choose to display one place setting in a set, and pack up the rest.
Keep your melmac out of direct sunlight. It can damage it or fade it.
Some of the best displays I have seen are that using an old china cabinet or hutch where the owners have painted them to look bright and funky colors. You could do this by going to a local thrift, Facebook Marketplace, or thrift store and buying a used hutch with good windows or display area. Then use a one-coverage paint like Annie Sloan chalk paint (for a matte look) or a high coverage gloss.
Did You Know...........
Care and Cleaning Tips
Vintage melmac that appears dull has been cleaned to death or ran though the dishwasher. Clean gently with warm water and sponge. Avoid abrasive powders.
What do you like?
What is your Favorite Brand of Vintage Melmac?
New or Old?
Do your research before buying melmac. New melamine dinnerware will be made in China, and this is a clue it's newer and not vintage. There are some great newer makers such as Zak Designs. Furthermore you may find that some long tenured American companies like Prolon, Carlisle, and even Halsey may still manufacturing melamine in the United States or abroad having been purchased or bought out. To my knowledge, Prolon is still designing for restaurants. Most are used for restaurants, school cafeterias, and the military. Some have plants as well in Mexico, or Puerto Rico.
Places Online to Buy Melmac
- Etsy Melmac Search (all melmac offerings)
Etsy averages 900-1000 melmac items at any given time. Use this link for a quick search.
- Vintage Melmac on Ebay
This search eliminates "new" melamine nd only searches for vintage melmac on Ebay, though you may want to try other searches as well such as melmac idnnerware, melmac dishes, etc.
Melmac Informational Sites
- Collecting Vintage Melmac Dinnerware: History and Information
Collecting vintage Melmac and melamine dinnerware can be a fun hobby. This article will tell you a bit more about this fantastic plastic of our past!
- Melmac Central: Melamine Dinnerware and Plastics Design by Retro Chalet
This site is all about melmac dinnerware, and vintage plastics and covers many manufacturers. Special section on Russel Wright. Also shows great finds in Melmac available on the web. A site by Ira Mency
- How to Clean Melmac Dishes
Care and Cleaning of Melmac Dishes
- Plastic LIving
All about Watertown Lifetime ware, airline melmac and early plastics, by plastics expert Christopher McPherson.
Melmac collecting can be fun and inexpensive. Flea markets, thrift shops, estate sales, Etsy and Ebay can help you build sets of your favorite kind.Sometimes finding completer pieces will be hard -- I view it like a treasure hunt--it may be difficult to complete a set, but in the process you may accumulate extras you don't need. Sell the extras to pay for those hard to find pieces!
History of Porcelain Glove Molds
- Vintage Porcelain Glove Molds : History and Cleaning Tips
Here is a great article on Vintage Glove Molds. I would love your comments!