Nallyware history – Australian kitchen canisters
One of the most popular kitchenalia items out there is Nally ware, in particular the sets of canisters that were very popular in homes from the 40′s through to the 60′s in Australia. These have a far different look from the Nylex, Tupperware or other Bakelite styles and are uniquely Australian
Nally Ware was created by Nally Ltd and was based in Sydney. It started in the 20′s when Nat Fienberg and Wally Wakeham imported ‘Condensite’. The company first wanted to produce ore reliable timers for the T-Model Ford.’ Nally soon began moulding other items including the popular and bright range of kitchen wares. There were many colours available, with the moulded phenol formaldehyde process creating a Bakelite that could be moulded into a variety of shapes.
Like all Bakelite products, they can get chipped, cracked and scratched over time, especially as these were practical items being used in kitchens and not just display pieces. Bakelite deteriorates in sunlight, so the best examples you find now are not items that were displayed near windows and have been stored away through the last few decades.
All of these canisters would have once been very glossy, this is when the phenolic resin coating is present. Once Bakelite has started to deteriorate you will notice a roughness of the surface, where the top layer of resin has been rubbed away, exposing the coarser filler material. Washing your canisters with a strong cleaner can also remove the deteriorated phenol resin from the surface and make your canisters look more old then they should. Be careful!
Prices for these items vary wildly. Prices can range from $5 at a garage sale if you are very luck (probably for incomplete sets with some damage) all the way up to around $200 for a complete set with everything intact.
When looking to buy these make sure they are complete, the lettering is in good as a condition as possible and there are no cracks. Often they are also discoloured inside or out from the contents, so check underneath and inside.