Thursday, 16 January 2014

VINTAGE: Dating Stratton Powder Compacts


Stratton Compacts happen to be some of the easiest of compacts to find - for use or for collecting - I myself have eight of them (shown above). As a brand, Stratton began importing and assembling partially finished American compacts in 1923, yet by the 1930's they were a brand in their own right ultimately producing half of the compacts made for the UK market. With over 70 years of manufacturing, they made countless designs - both with regards to the top and the bottom of the compacts, therefore they aren't the easiest of compact brands to date. 

Through my own personal collecting and researching, I've found a couple of tips and links about how to date your Stratton compact. I know a couple of you how have commented previously on my compact posts, own them so hopefully you'll find it helpful in gauging just how vintage your compacts are.

Dani Boyd - a member of the British Compact Society produced a Youtube video in 2013 showing how you can date your Stratton's by the design upon the bottom of the compact. It's a really handy guide to visually being able to date your compact and you'll be surprised that many aren't as old as you might think.

    As a rough, rough guide your basic popular Strattons certainly can be divided up into eras;
    • Late 1930's to 1950's - base designs tend to be of a spiral 
    • Mid 1950's to  mid 1960's - base design of all over stars
    • Mid 1960's to early 1970's - base design of stars again but with the addition of the Stratton name
    • 1970's to 1980's - Somewhat spotted designs with the Stratton name
    • 1980's to 1990's - base design woven patterns with the Stratton name

    Star base #1 // Star bar #2 // remaining images from my own collection

    Not all of the above can be applied to every Stratton model as they were manufactured over 70 years there's a variety of styles - also there's a lot of generic designs which can't be aged so well. How much of a lap over or definitive this list is, I'm unsure, but it's certainly a basic reference point to dating your Stratton.

    Other ways to date;

    • The "Compact-in-hand" logo upon the inner lid was made between 1950 and 1970
    • Convertible Stratton compacts (ones taking powder and cream) date from the mid 1950's onwards
    • Self opening inner lids began to be manufactured after 1948
    Stratton Compact
    Compact in Hand Logo
    Stratton Compact
    Convertible Stratton

    Dating Stratton compacts is always going to be a work in progress, even after four years of collecting i'm still learning, finding new ways of dating (you can even date through the size and shape of the original powder puffs). But rough overviews are always a helpful guide to knowing where to start and what your looking at - whether for collections or use. 

    I hope you find it useful!


    1. Wow, I had no idea. I wish tag sales and thrift stores were more vintage where I live. It seems there is an absence of compacts and other older things. But when I start going to them in the Spring more I'll keep my eye out for the designs if I'm lucky enough to find them! =)


      1. They can be really hit and miss can't they?! There's either lots or none at all. There's always ebay but the prices on there for compacts (unless you manage to find one of the few and far between low priced items) have gone up a lot over the years!

    2. What a cool thing to collect, they ones in your photo are so beautiful. I've never had a collection but I like the idea of something like this that's small enough so it doesn't take up too much space, and it's decorative but also useful!

      Sorcha x Bright Field Notes

      1. Thank you - they brighten a wall up that's for sure when I have them in my cabinets ... although with having over 70 of them space is becoming an issue. With them being on two cabinets and a vintage cake stand crammed with them and lets not talk about the dusting lol.

    3. *swoon* they are all so beautiful!
      I was looking for something like this, thanks!

    4. It's intriguing all the intimate details on things that enable you to trace their age. Fascinating!

    5. very good information , they are lovely mirrors !
      The Inked Blonde