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.
I love these and I’m afraid you might have given me just one more thing to look at when I hit the antique stores.
I really love the display on the wall. The wall color is just beautiful.
Your photography is beautiful and so are you. Your heart shows through in your work. Keep on keeping on, we all need a little creative inspiration in our day and “She Wears Many Hats” is truly uplifting. It helps us see the beauty and fun in everyday things. You are using your talents well and thanks for sharing them.
We received an engraved hammered silvered patina plate from my SIL when my 3rd daughter was born. I’ve been looking all over for more like it! I love it!
You have a gorgeous collection.
Hey – I was going to ask…do you have a Flickr account?
I am a hammered aluminum collector in the Atlanta, Ga. area. I have hundreds of pieces and am looking to sell most of them at discount prices. if you are interested please contact me by E-mail.
Do you have any Arthur Armour items?
Hello- I am interested in Everlast square, rectangular and round trays. Thank you.
I’m in Kentucky
I HV several pieces that belonged to my Mother
It means so much to me
Happy to see someone else loves it
Thanks for posting!
Don’t bet on it…
How do you hang them on the wall so invisibly?
I actually used the 3M tape hangers. The aluminum is so light it works like a charm.
I too collect the hammered aluminum trays, bowls, candleholders – you name it.
I love how you hung a bunch of them on the wall, it’s a great way to show them off.
I have so much of it now that I have to love it before I buy it or it has to be different and unique. Love it!!
I have a lot of hammered aluminum to sell
I have collected this as well. I have a special love for the bamboo pattern! NOw I have a new idea for for how to display them Thanks!
Going out to buy the 3M now!
Very attractive display on your wall!
Thank you, Sherry!
Any idea how to repair hammered aluminum? I have a treasured water pitcher that was my grandmother’s. After many, many years of use, a small hole has worn in the bottom of the pitcher making it unusable. I would love to have it repaired in some food-safe way to be able to use it again.
I inherited a serving tray of hammered aluminum from my Grandmother and I LOVE it! Her tray had flowers and fruits engraved / embossed onto it with frilled edges and handles that have loops in them. Great large tray for appetizers. I love it, so beautiful. I think originally it was my Great Grandmother’s tray.
That is so neat, Jesse. What a lovely way to remember your grandmothers.
Do you buy hammered aluminum or just certain pieces?
I am in Orlando and downsizing. My mother gave me a piece for every holiday… want them to go to a good loving home! Only able to keep a few!! Anyone local interested?
LOVE this idea! Have been collecting aluminum ware for a long time and never knew how to “show it off”…but NOW! Yes! Do have a question…how do you clean it? Always afraid to use cleaner and rub too hard. Thanks!
I have been collecting Hammered Aluminum for years. I found that Simple Green cleans it up pretty good without damage. If needed I will use a very soft brush to get into the crevices. I have a very nice ice bucket with a heavy ceramic/pottery lining. It belonged to my MIL. I just always look in antique and junk shops for new and unusual pieces.
I’m moving out of state and I wonder if you’re in the market for my grandmother’s collection of trays. I have a Rodney Kent hammered aluminum tulip basket dish, An Everlast 568 rose platter, a Continental Mark 641 chrysanthemum dish, a Buenilum leaf dish and more.
Thanks for getting back to me.
Hello, Lenore! I hope you find someone who would like to buy yours. Unfortunately I’m not in the market as I have more pieces than I care to admit.