Saturday, July 10, 2010

Retro Saturday

Today's retro item is Melmac dishware. Those of you old enough will probably remember these dishes from your childhood.

Okay, what is Melmac? Well, Melmac is a trade name for melamine which is a substance man-made in the 1940's by the American Cyanamid Corporation. It is a hard and tough plastic. And this is precisely why it became so popular in the 50's and 60's in a lot of households. It wouldn't break or chip! 

This set was made in Canada.

My parents saw the advantages of having this for a family of nine kids. I remember the colours of the set we had....pale green and orange. And it lasted forever.

I saw this set in a collectibles shop a few years ago. I liked it immediately...thought it was very kitchy. And the barbecue motif was what 'sold' me.

This is just part of the complete set.

They are in remarkably good stains or discolouration and only a few faint scratches. It was probably not used that often. Some of the plates are still shiny. Melmac can and does stain easily. As well, it scratches with a lot of use from eating utensils.

I don't use this set. It is stored in a dish rack (which is very functional for storage). 

So if you see any Melmac in your travels, I advise to pick it is becoming very collectable.

If it doesn't break, I wonder whatever happened to that old 'family' set? Probably replaced by Corelle dishes.


  1. Oh yah, I remember it well! We got a set when we first got married (now ex) and it had pine branches and cones on it. Then got extra plates and bowls in white. I still had one of the white plates left until a couple of years ago. Could not convince the family that it doesn't go in the microwave!

  2. Corelle were the dishes of my child hood! But I do remember some melmac in my grandparents kitchen! That is a great set you have!

  3. my grandma had some. it was offered to her by one of my uncles. she liked it so much that she wanted to show that it was indeed unbreakable, and managed to break a cup's handle as it hit the metal leg of the dining table in the kitchen... that was a gag that ran for a long time in the family to never give her again some dishes, as she breaks what is unbreakable...

  4. So much for their durability, TB.

  5. I think they were made with of the reasons why they were so durable.

  6. Rick, They were?! Yikes! I'll make sure I don't use them.

  7. I had a set that was given to me when I got my first apartment. I gave them to an elderly neighbor lady when she told me that she was constantly dropping and breaking her dishes as she navigated her kitchen with her walker and trying to carry things. They seemed fine in the microwave. But perhaps the asbestos is why she's now dead. Or it could be that she was in her 90's and that was 20 years ago.

  8. Perhaps you should check to see if they were made with asbestos. They may not be.

    I have a story about the "unbreakable" Melmac. My dad was preparing breakfast for my two little brothers and me one morning because Mama was somehow indisposed. She always served our cereal in Tupperware (TM) bowls, but Daddy gave us Melmac. I complained (one of my typical reactions at the age of 6) and told Daddy that we had to have unbreakable bowls. To prove that these were unbreakable, he dropped one on the terrazzo floor. It hit on the lip of the bowl just right (or wrong) and shattered. We got the Tupperware. He was mad.

    I love this set, it's quite pretty.

  9. I remember these. The family next store to us had them. Oh, what a treat when she would bring out a tray of these cups filled with KoolAid on a hot summer afternoon. I used to wonder why KoolAid in a tea cup, but once I had kids of my own I realized it was because they were indestructible. I've never seen a set like this. Love them!

  10. Wow, what memories this post has brought up. Yup, growing up in my Grandmothers house there was Melamc dishware. Orange pieces and dark green pieces. Ugly as sin!!
    I will never forget one evening as I was putting my green ugly plate into the sink I dropped it onto the ground. And that plate shattered! One of those shattered pieces hit me in the leg and cut me pretty good. In fact, I still have a small scar from it!
    Yes, yes, Melmac......the memories!! :)

  11. I'll start 'digging' around to see about the asbestos possibility.
    Thanks for all YOUR memories guys!

  12. Just found this site that explains a little more about the substance that is in Melmac.

    Don't feed your animals from Melmac.

  13. we has a set for our caravan when I was a child... it is called melamine in the UK

  14. We had a set in our first caravan - saved on weight and was, as you said, virtually unbreakable. Denny-the-Dog use two of daughter Kathleen's bowls now days.

  15. That stuff was AMAZING! Our Boy Scout camp used it in the dining hall and it never---and I do mean never, ever---broke. Occasionally a piece ended up being taken from the hall on a coffee run to a Scoutmaster or whatever and got misplaced in the woods. But break? Nuh Uh.

  16. I had Melmac Green in college!

  17. Talk about a blast from the past! We had some too, but it got really, really beat up.


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