Cruet set


 

Case PHSL : 148

A Beetleware salt, pepper and mustard pot cruet set with a distinctive art deco design.

Chosen 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.

The case remains open.

Contributing agents

David Harman Powell, Ian Holdsworth & Steve Akhurst

What we wanted to know & what we found out

  • Designer: A.H Woodfull and / or Jim Butler
  • Date: in production by 1932

Evidence trail

  • Personal testimony
  • PhD thesis
  • Design magazine
  • Trade magazine
  • Book

The hunt

Personal testimony

Agent 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.

PhD Thesis

Agent Akhurst, quoting from Barbara Tilson's PhD Thesis, The development of the British plastics industry 1850 to 1990, refutes this:

 

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

Design Magazine

Agent Harman Powell replied:

 

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.

Trade Magazine

Agent Holdsworth provided these images which show the cruet was already in production in October 1932.

 

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Book

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.

The case remains open while we search for more evidence to clarify the different roles of Woodfull and Gilbert.

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