I call it the other “Po’ Man’s Silver.”
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Collecting Hammered Aluminum
Years ago, while visiting my sister, I noticed a really cool tray, she had recently acquired from her mother-in-law, hanging over her fireplace. It was almost 3′ wide with a gorgeous, dull, silver patina. Ornate, not too fancy though. I was attracted to it indeed and knew I had to find some. Since then, I’ve been collecting hammered aluminum (or anodized) trays, bowls, and other pieces that I can get my hands on, although I’ve yet to find a tray like that.
Hammered aluminum was popular in 1930’s-1950’s, given mostly as wedding gifts – something I would have loved to receive, for sure. With the shortage of metals during WWII, most companies who produced this type of ware went out of business. And while it’s referred to as “hammered,” most of the manufacturers used machines to replicate the hand hammered finish. The pieces that were truly hand hammered are much more expensive, as you can imagine.
In our home they’re not just used for serving. The wall over our sideboard displays part of the treasures. Guest often ask if it’s pewter, the original “Poor Man’s Silver,” but I think my sheet rock would rip off the studs if it were. This stuff is super light.
And others are scattered here and there, holding still other treasures, like shells and whatnot. Look at the feet and adornment on this footed tray.
These handles are so cool and funky, giving each piece it’s own personality.
I love the vintage, well worn appearance. Even the scratches, pits and dents add a quality and character that can’t be reproduced. I can just picture a new bride not missing the chance to use one of these at any entertaining opportunity.
This is a favorite bowl of mine. Certainly well used.
My collecting has slowed a bit as they are becoming more poplular, but you can still find them at antique shops, flea markets, or online. Even if you don’t plan on buying any, at least you know what you’re looking at now.
And if my sister doesn’t watch out, she may find her big shiny tray has gone a missin’. Just don’t tell her.