My name is Thomas Malott and I live with my 12 years old son, Joseph, in Walnut Creek—a small town outside of San Francisco. I have worked for Bayer AG in Berkeley, California for over 15 years. In my spare time I enjoy gardening, forcing my son to garden and of course scouting obscure antique stores for the find of a lifetime—a 23-piece Henckels airplane traveling bar or an Asprey Thirst Extinguisher. My son is very useful as his eyes are better than mine and he can spot a shaker a mile away. If anyone wants to chat further, or is interested in trading, I can be reached at tm4755 @ hotmail.com.
How did you get started collecting?
Collecting vintage cocktail shakers was a logical intersection of two of my favorite things—antiques and booze. I started collecting about 6 years ago after finding a silver plated cocktail shaker that matched my 1928 silverware service. I was hooked—and what keeps me interested is the history, especially US history surrounding the Prohibition, lore and the fine sense of design in many of the shakers in the Art Deco era.
How many shakers do you have and how do you store them?
I don’t know how many shakers I have—certainly less than 100. About 50 of my favorites are displayed in my family room on shelves and display cabinets that line the room. These include a mint Revere Empire, Napier Penguin, Farber Bubble, a 1935 Chase Blue Moon, Maxwell-Phillips Hour Glass, and other named and unnamed tributes to fine design. This includes figural shakers in the shape of a bowling pin, a bar bell, a fire extinguisher, a bell, and a rolling pin.
Which is the oldest and which did you buy last?
The oldest shaker in my collection is a Chinese export by maker Wang Hing; this shaker is from the late nineteenth century. Most of my shakers are from the 20’s and 30’s. A few days ago I bought a cobalt glass and silver banded shaker. I picked it up at a rural antique dealer for $35.00. My last significant investment was a ruby West Virginia Specialty Glass Lady’s Leg. It is gorgeous! This is the only shaker that I have in my bedroom.