Sunday, November 8, 2015

Antique Show Finds: Grannys' Ornaments

Sunday was a great day to visit a Antique Market at the Gray's Lake County Fairgrounds in Illinois.  E snagged a cute little table...for $10 outside...there was a fierce wind and it was cold despite the brilliant sunshine in Chicagoland. So we headed inside.

I'm new to blogging and have decided to NOT buy for the blog, but only for myself, which is hard when you see so many wonderful things. I forgot the camera and the phone so no pictures of the show...but it was packed with Christmas.



But, I was on a search for these OLD Gurley wax ornaments from the 1950s.

Franklin Gurley was a candlemaker and started the W&F Maunufacturing company, and commissioned by an oil company (now ExxonMobil) to use up excess paraffin from oil refinery production. The Gurley's first products were marketed under the name Tavern and you will remember the wax lips and teeth we had in the 1950's for gag gifts and costumes. Then they began a small business making decorative and figurative holiday candles. Eventually this became the Gurley Novelty Company. They were very inexpensive and the ornaments soon followed. Gurley products were mostly sold in dime stores because they were so cheap during the 1940-1960's.

With the resurgence of 1950s vintage, they are collectible again and still quite inexpensive. Though  holiday candles, Gurleys were seldom burned because the paraffin burned very quickly and made a pool of colored wax on the tablecloth or table. The ornaments were very thin and fragile, were painted and embellished with old silver glitter, and they melted if stored in the attic or a garage.
 


My husband and I come from different backgrounds and styles. The one thing we had in common was these wax Christmas ornaments from our grandmothers. Between us we had more than a complete set.

Somewhere along the line in our marriage all our treasured wax ornaments melted in storage. Each year since, we would decorate the tree and talk about who this was from, and on what trip did we get the pineapple, or star, or glass ornament, etc. But always the tree was missing our 1950's wax ornaments from our grandmothers.  

My favorite was always the soldier. My family is Danish on my grandmother's side and Danes are partial to black-hats and redcoat soldiers. It is a recurrent theme in all Danish memorabilia. 

My oldest cousin, liked the angel, but she was white-blonde just like her.


 Yesterday I saw many---in various states of yellowed, chipped, slumping and deglittered.


 Finally I found these. I think the only one missing now is the the reindeer, which seems elusive even online. They aren't perfect, but neither were Grannys', we are talking late 1940's early 1950's here.


 Hubby says the snowman was always his favorite...big smiles from him when I spread out my booty.


So our childhood memories are returned home to us. I'm sure they belonged to someone's grandmother. So, I will be fine calling them Grannys' ornaments again. I haven't cleaned them yet, or yet, decided to REDO or restore them.

What are your favorite childhood ornaments? I know we all have stories connected to these special holiday memories. Please share or post a link to your own Old, New, Green or Redo Christmas favorites in your comments.

All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own or I am in possesion of the originals, 
I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions, posts or products used. 
Please do not use my photos without linking back to this blog without my permission. 
Thank you for your cooperation, Sandi Magle


Thanks always for stopping by, I love to hear your comments.

I will be sharing at these parties: 
Sandi


 

36 comments:

  1. Hi Sandi ... love these ... I think I have that same set but have not used them for several years. I have Santa's boots, but don't think I have the reindeer, but will look to see. I think the reason this set is hard to find is because, being wax, kids would chew them. I just looked back in my blogs and found this Christmas post for 2011 when I first started blogging and you can see the Santa boots. Look closely in one of the pictures further down, of the tree, you can see the drummer boy. http://audreyzumwalt.blogspot.com/2012/12/christmas-tree-and-antique-ornaments.html. I keep these wrapped in wax paper and stored in a little box and they have stayed pretty nice. Glad to find someone who loves the old ornaments like I do.
    Blessings,
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

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    1. ooh, ooh Audrey....love the boots, but I don't remember them. I see the drummer boy, perhaps that explains the (sets) of soldiers online, but I also don't remember him. I wonder if the boots were later by the size. Very cool ornaments on your tree. When we unpack the ornaments for the 4-5 trees I have done in the pass, I will share some more...but thanks so much for the pictures, and I love your houses and the turquoise ornament(I have that one from my husband's grandmother). So cool! Sandi

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  2. These are so sweet!! Glad you were able to replace them!!
    Thanks so much for stopping by!!
    Hugs,
    Deb

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    1. Hugs back, yes we are into memories here as we get older, and of course making new ones for the Grand. thanks for visiting me, Sandi

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  3. Those are the cutest ornaments. They harken back to my early years. Ha! Thanks for visiting me. Sheila

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  4. What treasure! I love the 50's and anything from that year my birthyear!....Christine

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  5. What memories! I think I might have a santa at home "somewhere"? I need to look for him..brings back so many memories of my childhood! Thanks for sharing. Have a beautiful week, Lynn

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  6. Oh nostalgia! My mother had those!
    Jenna

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    1. Thanks for stopping by...glad you remember them. Sandi

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  7. Those are adorable, Sandi! Glad you were able to find them, and bring back some childhood memories!

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    1. Thanks Amy, yes was a big grin when I got home and showed them to Hubby.

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  8. Those little ornaments are just adorable. I mostly remember the ornaments my family made. I enjoyed my visit to your blog.

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    1. LOL, funny you should say that. For years i made those dreaded pin, pearl and sequin ornaments for my grandmother, until my fingers were bloody. But we have kept all the handmades and they are on themed trees, when I put them all up, including the waxed paper German stars that were dipped in candlewax and glittered. Thanks for visiting.

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  9. My grandmother had these candles and some of them were passed on to me. Can you tell me if some of these candles were actually manufactured as ornaments, or did people add the tiny screw eyes to hang them by? I am sorry to say that I am not even sure where mine are. I think they are in with my other candles -- and I hope so, for if they are in the attic they have surely melted and cooled many times by now!

    In recent years I have found that the Vermont Country Store carries the vintage-style candles that look like these -- the ones that look like little caroling choir boys. They are $14.95 for a set of three.

    I'll be back and visit again! Thanks for stopping by my blog as well!

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    1. Hi Mrs. T. These are hollow and were simply made by the candle company. This is why they melted so easily and they were always ornaments, originally sold for a few pennies each. You are correct, Vermont Country Store, bought some of the original candle molds. I looked online and they have very little available now. I think everyone had those cherubic choir boys. Thanks for stopping by...and I hope somehow yours survived. I saw quite a few at this show all under $5 each.

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  10. What cute little candle ornaments, Sandi. I always liked soldiers too. When I was growing up my mother had some lovely ornaments and there was a little glass turquoise horn that really tooted. It was a favourite. My brother and I always took turns blowing in it. Pity I don't have it! Enjoy your candles and thank you for sharing with us.

    Autumn blessings,
    Sandi

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    1. Aw, Sandi, chase down that little horn...maybe two---so you can give one to your brother. Grins and thanks for stopping by! from Sandi

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  11. I remember these when I was little!! Mom had the set you do now, I don't know what happened to them along the way! Brings back memories and I always love the old ornaments back then. Have a wonderful week!

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    1. Cheryl, thanks for stopping by. This was very fun replacing them. Sandi

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  12. The OLD Gurley wax ornaments are wonderful! You are so lucky to have them. Isn't the hunt for them fun???!!!! Enjoy!

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    1. Yes, condition was an issue though. Lucky this show had a couple of hundred dealers so I could pick and choose. Thabnks for stopping by.

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  13. Hi Sandi, sounds like the antique market was fun. Love the Gurley wax ornaments. What a treasure. I love the old vintage ornaments and have many WWII ornaments passed down from my parents. Enjoy your wonderful find.
    Have a great week. xo

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  14. I never knew about these wax ornaments, what an amazing treasure you had and have fortunately been able to replace! Thank you for sharing over at Celebrate it Sunday! I hope to see you again on Saturday night!

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  15. You are young, they really are from the 1950's and melted in many an attic, I'm afraid. Thanks for stopping by, Sandi

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  16. HI Sandi, I love your wax ornaments. I have been collecting wax santa ornaments from flea markets and other places.. I hope to get time to blog them this yr.
    I'm not sure if they are Gurley. I do have a caroller that could be one.
    Thanks for the history on Gurley. I will be back to visit.
    I am your newest member.

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  17. I am sure you have struck a common chord with many of us! So glad you shared your finds. It has brought back some nice memories. Cheers

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  18. Sandi, these are wonderful! I really enjoyed learning the history--it is always fun to find a treasure that takes us back to childhood memories. I was not familiar with the old wax ornaments so thank you for sharing the @Vintage Charm!

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  19. Love this post and all the great info; I'm posting it on my Antiques & Vintage Resource board. I love Gurleys but had no idea they made ornaments as well as candles. Perhaps they were only available in certain parts of the country?

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    1. It wasn't clear on my search if they went under Tavern or Gurley...depends on when they were made. I did see a box full online in a Tavern box. Since they were made out East, I would assume they would be available at least there and the Midwest for sure, through the dimestores and some department stores. We had Woolworth's, Benjamin Franklin, and Kresge's dimestores here, it might depend on the chains of those dimestores in your area? Can you imagine they went for under a dime in some places each. Hope that helps, Sandi

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  20. Oh Sandi, I have been on the lookout for Gurley candles. I'm thrilled that you scored some! Can you believe that an antiques store in New England had $25 on one of these little candles? They are all just precious. Love the lamb! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. Hmmm, I will keep an eye out for you...lol, and we will make a swap. I dont' know if I will get to an antique show again until after Christmas, but you never know! Sandi

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  21. Hey cutie, hopping back because I just have to feature your darling candles as SYC. this week. Thanks for keeping your eye out!
    hugs,
    Jann

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Thank you for any and all comments. I will reply to any questions!
And great to meet you, Sandi