Oh my! It has been a whirlwind month! An exchange student from Japan came to our home and for two and a half weeks, shared her culture with us as we shared ours. It was an experience that I know our family will never forget. It was an awesome 2 1/2 weeks and I was surprised how much we missed her when she left. I say all of this to explain my absence for the last few weeks. Along with other obligations the blog has been a little neglected!
But here we are, together again and I would like to take a look at a prolific importer and designer of the mid-century, Holt-Howard. Their designs, like these cat S&P shakers, started off my small S&P collection. Here are the cats …
And some more of my collection. These are not for sale in the shop, because I love them too much!
The cats actually have a meowing canister in them so when you turn them upside down they meow. They don’t meow anymore, but they would have back in the day. Holt-Howard imported, designed and sold a lot of these cute items using cats, pixies and other animals. They started back in 1949 when John and Robert Howard and Grant Holt started the company.
According to Kovels the company started selling Christmas items made and sold in the U.S. Holt-Howard was originally based in New York City and moved to Stamford, Connecticut in 1955. Over the years they were sold a couple of times before closing in the 1990s. During their heyday, though, they produced different lines that are well-known in the vintage world.
As I said, they started with U.S. made goods but soon turned to overseas manufacturing to keep costs low. Some of their U.S. made Christmas stuff included the winking Santa and Merry Whiskers beverage sets.
As their manufacturing moved overseas, they began to produce sort of cartoon type figures made into useful kitchen/household items. One of their lines was Pixieware. These are brightly colored kitchen items like the ones below.
This line was produced from about 1958 to the early 1960s. Many of the condiment jars are pretty easy to find but some of them are rarer than others. Those ones are the honey or chili sauce jars and there is also one for instant coffee (ahh can’t you just smell the Sanka!).
The Pixieware line also included Spoofy Spoons, liquor decanters, salt and pepper sets, teapots and more. Another line was the Cozy Cats and Kittens line. That’s where my S&P shakers come in. In this line there were all sorts of things from string holders to ashtrays, spice sets and grease crocks.
They also produced the Exotic Rooster Line. I personally love roosters and during the 50’s and 60s they were very popular for decoration. Holt-Howard’s Red Rooster Coq Rouge dinnerware line, introduced in the 1960s, was designed by Bob Howard. This line was carried through the 1970s in finer department stores.
Holt-Howard was copied by any number of copy cats. ThoughtCo., another blog, has a list of these copy cats and how to tell the difference between the knock offs and the real HH.
As the years wore on, Holt-Howard was bought by General Housewares Corporation in 1968. By 1974 the Howard brothers and Holt had left to follow other dreams. The company was then again sold to Kay Dee Designs of Rhode Island in 1990. In fact Grant Holt and John Howard formed another company called Grant-Howard Associates which produced Pixieware pieces but nothing from the original Holt-Howard Pixieware line.
I love the Holt-Howard pieces myself. Whimsical and fun but with a definite mid-century look. The pieces today just don’t capture the same look. Well, I hope you have enjoyed this post. Have a great week and look for me at the link parties on the right all week!