Our First Mid-Century Collectible


A repost from East Nashville Atomic

Originally posted May 3, 2008

About six months ago Jason and I were browsing around at Southern Thrift. The left side wall is lined with junky vases, mugs, plates, picture frames etc. We picked up a platter with a starburst design. Amidst all the kitschy forgettables it didn’t look like much. It had some wax or something crusted on the front and a chip out of the underside. It was only $2 but we debated back and forth for a while, not wanting to pay even $2 for something if it was just going to clutter our house. (We’re pretty minimalist. And cheap.) Eventually we decided it was cool enough to bring home.

One Saturday morning maybe two months ago, we were watching Good Eats on the food network. I don’t remember what food he had made but Alton Brown carefully placed it right onto a plate like our thrift-store find. We both looked at each other, thinking the same thing. I flipped over the plate and inspected the seal on the bottom.

“FRANCISCAN” “Made in California U.S.A” “Gladding, McBean & Co.” I googled away. Much to our surprise and delight, our $2 thrift-store treasure was a famous design from Gladding, McBean & Co. The Starburst design was released in 1954, [one year after] our house was built. We’re pretty sure our find is the “oval serving platter” worth about $50 today, in good condition. Of course, we’re not interested in selling it. It’s our first Mid-Century Collectible!

Retro Starburst Clock


I’ve been looking for an authentic mid-century modern starburst clock for the dining room since we moved into our house 2 and a half years ago. Oh, I can find ’em … on eBay for $70-200. But I’m looking for the ≤$20 version— the kind you find at yard sales or thrift stores or in your grandma’s basement. Speaking of yard sales, we got this modern, plastic, imitation retro clock for $3 (talked down from $5 … we’re such cheapskates).


Jase surprised me the other day (I LOVE surprises!) by spray painting the clock face and spokes, installing new hands (the originals looked really cheap) and putting the whole thing back together. I really love how it looks now.


But, of course, this is just temporary until we find an authentic “atomic” clock. (Like that alliteration?) And in typical Jason-and-Martina-fashion, we’ll most likely find a steal on the antique real deal and sell the modern imitation for 3-4x more money on craigslist or eBay. Cuz that’s how we roll.


We decided to go with the white chairs in the dining room rather than the blue ones.