Why did you write you book Vintage Bar Ware? And how did you choose which items to fit into the book?
The book was really done as a catalog for the museum exhibition Shaken, Not Stirred; Cocktail Shakers and Design. The show was comprised of 100 cocktail shakers, but have more in the book to represent the many styles and materials of cocktail shakers.
The book and the seven museum exhibitions helped to popularize cocktail shakers as unique works of art and living history. I mean how many antiques can you collect that are this much fun and can be used on a daily basis? The side effect of all this was that cocktail prices began to rise as they became well known to the general public.
Is there still a cocktail shaker or bar item you have heard about but never seen? Something like the Holy Grail of Shakers?
Any cocktail shaker I don’t have is the one I am looking for. Amazing how many new ones we still see on e-bay all the time. After all this time of collecting I understand I can not have them all. Arlene brought one home from a second hand shop, twenty years ago, it was missing the top, and designed by Kem Weber and stamped on the bottom with his name. We are still looking for a top.
What do you think about modern bar design; ie; the Flip Top shaker by Metrokane?
I love this company. They were pioneers in early new bar ware and were the first to bring out the “bullet” style cocktail shaker. And Love their new Flip Top cocktail shaker. These will all be collector items in the future.
Do you think reproducing vintage shakers is a good idea?
I am not overjoyed at this and think it reduces prices some what of real vintage shakers.
Many of these are sold as real on e-bay to beginner collectors and as e-bay will not let you contact buyers as the sale is on going, it’s a real problem.
The up side of reproductions is that they make items like the Lighthouse Shaker affordable to all collectors and when Restoration Hardware started to reproduce these starting with the Penguin cocktail shakers, followed by many other knock-offs of vintage shakers, they helped popularize and promote good design cocktail shakers to the general buying public.
What are your future projects and plans.
Another cocktail shaker book would have to have all new items so that is out of the question for now. I enjoy writing articles and have published a story about an obscure pottery company, White Cloud Farm, that produced the bottoms up cups and cocktail shaker. You can find this now on the web. And have others up on e-bay Reviews & Guides.
As for now I am working on a swizzle stick article which should be out in March, will keep you posted on that. And next a Norman Bel Geddes cocktail shaker article that Jimbo Walker will publish in his cocktail shaker booklet that he will hand out at our collectors symposium in July. His booklet from last year is now a hard to find valuable collectors item.
Can you tell us a few homepages where we can find further information about shakers and bar ware?
www.thejazzage.com by Gary & Joy Graham
www.cocktailshakers.com by Mark Biggler
www.shaken-stirred.blogspot.com by Jimbo Martini Walker
Thank you for the interview, Stephen.
Thorsten it has been a pleasure talking with you and I hope you and your readers are finding far more vintage bar ware than I have found lately.
all best, Stephen Visakay