Beetleware cruet

Selected as an object made by Streetly Manufacturing Company: we have 20 other objects by the same manufacturer and information about one may help to unearth information about the others.

Beetleware cruet
case solved
Case number - PHSL : 148
A Beetleware salt, pepper and mustard pot cruet set with a distinctive art deco design, dating from the 1930s.
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DesignerUnknown - Wanted
ManufacturerStreetly Manufacturing Company
Manufactured forWoolworths
CountryUK
Date1935 (circa) - Wanted
DimensionsPepper and salt: height 70 mm, diameter 37 mm. Mustard: height 45 mm, width 40 mm
Materialsplastic, UF, urea formaldehyde
Methodcompression moulded
Coloursgreen, orange
InscriptionMoulded: "MADE IN ENGLAND A.J. " (salt and pepper pots), moulded: "Beetleware MADE IN ENGLAND W.43. 532" (mustard pot)
Rights: images on this site are for non-commercial, educational use only. MoDiP has included images of this object with permission from BIP.
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16/12/13

PHSL : 148 Art deco cruet set

16/12/13

This is most likely ' Woody' A H Woodfull. designed in 1932 in BEETLEWARE .High quality urea gave rise to clean colours. The geometric idiom of modern thought at the time, part of a breakfast set, cup & saucer. plate, tray, milk jug , egg cup ,& spoons , a small mustard spoon, and napkin ring.

17/12/13

That's great David, thanks you - Hope this means your account is now sorted. Do you know where we can see examples of the rest of the set?

09/01/14

Ian15.mdx had found some wonderfully illuminating images.

09/01/14

17/01/14

Steve Akhurst reflects on the designer of this cruet:The early 30's was a complicated time, BCC, British Cyanides Company changes its name to BIP while Streetly Manufacturing, initially an independent company, was bought out and then absorbed as part of BIP. Amongst all this, two characters emerge Woody who probably joined Streetly initially and Jim Butler who probably joined BCC a little earlier. These two eventually came together as a technical/design team, Woody doing the industrial design and Jim doing the engineering/tooling design (you can't have one without the other. The details of all this would make a book in itself were the information available. Anyway, I still believe that the hexagonal cruet set was designed by Jim Butler before Woody had settled into the organisation. In the way of evidence I quote from Barbara Tilson's thesis 'The development of the British plastics industry 1850 yo 1990': 'Woodfull confirmed in response to a telephoned question that certain items, such as the hexagonal condiment set and various goods for Woolworths, were designed by Butler.............' The development of the British plastics industry 1850 to 1990'.' Can anyone contribute anything more about Jim Butler?

18/01/14

/Users/davidharmanpowell/Desktop/Scanned Image 1.jpeg I am certain that Jim Butler did not design the cruet set ……. When I worked with Woody, he had in the Studio almost all the products he had designed from the early 1930's til 1953 including the cruet set . The COID magazine DESIGN December 1953 No 6o pages 13 to17 shows Woody's best work to date. Sorry to disagree with Steve………… David

18/01/14

Thank you for that David. Very helpful. Is that image from DESIGN magazine? Sadly it doesn't seem to have been published on line. I am afraid I left out a crucial line of Steve's evidence from Barbara Tilson's thesis 'The development of the British plastics industry 1850 to 1990': 'Woodfull confirmed in response to a telephoned question that certain items, such as the hexagonal condiment set and various goods for Woolworths, were designed by Butler.............' With two such conflicting but clear bits of evidence it is hard to know where to go from here. I will have to lay my hands on that 1953 article - I am sure it will be hugely useful in other ways too.

18/01/14

Thank you Susan for the correction .I am surprised that it featured alongside Woody'sother designs. Sorry Steve.

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Case notes

Susan Lambert's picture

Beetleware cruet set, Case PHSL: 315

Designed by A.H.Woodfull?

16/12/13

David Harman Powell, who worked with A.H.Woodfull, says the cruet was designed by him. He says that Woodfull had in the studio almost all the products that he had designed from the early 1930s til 1953, including this cruet.

In manufacture by 1932

8/01/2014

Ian15.mdx has produced these images to prove it.

Or was Jim Butler the designer?

18/01/14

Steve Akhurst, who also knew A.H.Woodfull, believes Jim Butler was the designer. He quotes from  Barbara Tilson's PhD Thesis,The development of the British plastics industry 1850 to 1990, as evidence:  'Woodfull confirmed in response to a telephoned question that certain items, such as the hexagonal condiment set and various goods for Woolworths, were designed by Butler...'

Butler was Jim Butler, engineer and tool designer at Streetly Manufacturing Company.

Further evidence in support of Woodfull as the designer

18/01/14

David Harman Powell writes:

I am certain that Jim Butler did not design the cruet set ... When I worked with Woody, he had in the Studio almost all the products he had designed from the early 1930's til 1953 including the cruet set .

He provided as evidence a reference to the COID magazine DESIGN December 1953 No 60, pages 13 to17, which shows Woody's best work to date, including the cruet.

Could Woodfull and Gilbert have collaborated on the design?

5/03/2014

Curator's comment: B. Tilson ed., Made in Birmingham Design and Industry 1889-1989,p.229, states that Woodfull joined Streetly Manufacturing Company at the age of 19 in 1931. Her source was Woodfull, himself, with whom she conducted a series of interviews in 1986. Subsequently Woodfull and Butler developed into a team, Woodfull undertaking the industrial design and Butler, the engineering/tooling design. Given Woodfull's youth in 1932, it may have been unclear even at the time, who took the lead.

Has anyone any further comments?

Case Solved

Designer: A.H.Woodfull with Jim Butler

Date: 1932

Participating Agents: David Harman Powell, Ian15.mdx, Steve Akhurst