The style of the 50s was colourful, exciting and very different from what had gone before. People were tired of old designs and had been waiting for years for rationing and the Utility Schemes to end so that the could buy some colourful and exciting objects for their homes.
The 1951 Festival of Britain was described as a tonic for the nation. It provided a glimpse of the new world of the 50s that would soon be in reach, once austerity had given way to affluence. There were new designs in furniture, housing and interiors on show, together with more futuristic exhibits showing what science and technology could achieve.
This colourful bedside clock by Metamec (left) illustrates the mood of the decade. The style is captivating in the form of an eye. The gold metal work was very typical of the 50s. It was used to decorate televisions of the era and other high tech products. There is also a hint of luxury here, as this clock has a lamp so you can use it for reading in bed.
"Cocktail Cherry" style
Inspiration from molecular models lead to the colourful cocktail cherry style that was first seen at the Festival of Britain. Different coloured balls make this coat rack attractive and modern. These were popular well into the 60s.
This magazine rack (right) also shows the cocktail cherry style. It is, however, much more of a designed piece rather than a cheap and cheerful version of the style. This type of rack was very common in British homes throughout the 50s and early 60s. It is a must for anyone wanting to imitate the style today.
Glassware and kitsch
The Italian coloured glass fish was very popular in the homes of the 50s. It is a classic example of kitsch. Something that would have been discarded as rubbish a few years ago, now has a quality of ironic good taste. One of these was regularly seen on the set of the popular sitcom, the "Royle Family".
Turn your home into a lounge bar! The orange (left) is an ice bucket (1950s). There were also apples and, more commonly, pineapples. Port was a favourite tipple of the 50s. The glasses in the circular rack date from the fifties. The feet are in the cocktail cherry style.
To further capture the kitsch look, go for a cat with a slender, long, neck (right). It was a favourite fifties' ornament.
Sparklets soda syphon
The "Sparklets" soda syphon (left) was a popular accessory in the 50s. In fact, they were first made in the late 'forties. This example dates from the 'fifties. They are filled with CO2 from a bulb.
A series of models were available - the "Streamline" (illustrated), the "Hostmaster" and the "Globemaster". The "Globemaster" took two bulbs. In 1963 they cost 74/- for the "Hostmaster", 103/6d for the "Streamline" and 111/- for the "Globemaster".
Sparklets soda syphons have been seen on "Only Fools and Horses" (in Dell's flat) and on "The Good Life" in the local pub.
Your guide to vintage and retro