Case PHSL : 91

A spherical ashtray with three fold out cigarette rests. The base is weighted with a lead disk and the top is made of marbled pink compression moulded urea formaldehyde.

Chosen because it is a striking object with a patent number which should provide a lead.

Contributing agents

Ian Holdsworth

What we wanted to know & what we found out

  • Andrew Vaughan Jones, probably
  • Date: 1932

We have also found that it was made in five colourways and additionally in single colours, mottled and plain, and in a poorer quality version in black and brown, that it was given away as a promotion by Dunlop and is therefore sometimes called a tennis ball ashtray.

The case remains open. We are looking for more information about Andrew Vaughan Jones's role.

Evidence trail

  • Book
  • Patent
  • Personal expertise

The hunt


Agent Holdsworth sent the reference to the image below, demonstrating the range of colours in which this ashtray was made and providing the information that it was sometimes given away as a promotion by Dunlop, giving rise to it sometimes being call a tennis ball ashtray.


Colour range

Reference: T.Clarke, ed., Bakelite style, Quintet, 1997, p.53


Agent Holdsworth found the patent. It was taken out by Andrew Vaughan Jones, c/o Roanoid Ltd and Roxon Ltd, 12 November 1932. We have contacted Andrew Vaughan Jones's grandson but unfortunately have been unable to find out what his involvement with the ashtray was. The fact that the patent is in his name means the design is his intellectual property suggesting that he is likely to have designed it.



Personal expertise

Agent Holdsworth contacted Gad Sassower, now of Jaffa, who used to have a shop specialising in plastics in Camden Passage. He wrote:

There is a much rarer form of this ashtray made in a range of single colours. These colours can either be mottled, or plain as the attached photos show. There is also a poorly made version, which has a black base and a brown Bakelite top. These were made in the late 30s /early 40s in Australia.


Closed and open

The case remains open while we search for more information about Andrew Vaughan Jones. Was he or someone else the creator of this elegant design?

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