The Accidental Collection

If you are a collector (or maybe even if you are not) then you will be able to relate.  One day you wake up and realize you have another collection.  It is probably a sub-collection what what you are consciously acquiring, but put together as a group, it is an obvious collection.

In my case it is red plaid travel articles from the Baby Boomer era: that golden time from just after WWII until 1964 or so.  For some reason, plaids, and red ones in particular, seem to be the print of choice on all types of travel accessories and picnicking accouterments.   How did it all get started?  I don’t have an answer, but perhaps it was with the Skotch Kooler from Hamilton Metal Products Company, when they began putting a distinctive (and soon to be widely copied) red plaid on their picnicking supplies such as metal baskets, coolers and jugs.

I’ve seen everything from luggage to golf bags to portable grills to portable bars.  Every leisure time item was worthy of the plaid.

Anyway, it’s hard for me to visualize the word picnic without forming a picture containing lots of red plaid.  Maybe my attraction to it is nostalgic.  Some of the collection:

The large bag probably held a Thermos picnic kit, and the small one is probably a travel kit.

Probably a cover for a picnic blanket.  See the Troy Blanket ad below.

My favorite, a portable table.  Inside there are spaces for thermoses and plates and all.  And we actually use it!

Even car seat covers came in plaid.

And of course the travel dress.

Stop the presses!  Just as I was finishing up this post I looked to my left, and hanging there on a rack was another plaid carrier.  This one is a flask set, and then I remembered the wine bottle cover…

The tag with the original price is inside: $15.  That was quite a bit in 1955.

One more thing, I love Skotch Koolers, but what I’d really love to find is one of the small jugs Skotch make for Esso, with a map of the USA printed on it.  I run across them from time to time, but they are always beat up, or more than I want to pay.  I’d appreciate any leads on a nice one (no rust), reasonably priced.

And to finish, here are some super plaids for sale now on etsy:

The Skotch Kooler motherload, at The House  of Oliver

Car-Snac set, which hangs off the back of the front seat!


Filed under Collecting

10 responses to “The Accidental Collection

  1. Someone in Chicago is insanely jealous. I love your accidental collection. I’m especially fond of the portable table and the flask set–with WINE BOTTLE COVER! Very cool.


  2. KeLLy Ann

    The seat cover ad is Brilliant!!!
    The portable table is my favorite too.


  3. I too have a subset of collections – and your coveted cooler falls into it! I realized ever since starting Retro Roadmap that I’ve begun a collection of items with a stylized version of travel maps – particularly of the USA. Jigsaw puzzles, coolers, tablecloths, hankies, actual maps, somehow they all have that look to it that I didn’t realize ’til I put them all together.

    I did manage to find one of the coolers you speak of, and love it to death. I’ll keep my eyes open for one for you, for sure! Here’s a closeup of mine:

    happy motoring


  4. Oooh! I love your portable table. I’ve never seen one with a place to store plates. Genius!


  5. Accidental collections are the best type of collections! 😉
    I love red plaid and that 1955 flask set is fabulous.


  6. That portable table is too cool! Thanks for featuring my Car-Snac set!


  7. Oh my goodness. Plaid-loving, Scotland-obsessed me is in heaven right now. We had a plaid Thermos picnic set when I was a child, so I definitely feel some nostalgia for these items. But my favorite things here for sure are the portable table and that flask set! Gorgeous collection, Lizzie!


  8. Pingback: Sovereign Accessory for Leisure Living | The Vintage Traveler

  9. Charlie Mackaman

    Just picked up a Hamilton Scotch grill at a garage sale in Kansas City. Has the original paper brochure and is in great condition. Looks like it might have been used a couple of times. Very clean. Interested? Also picked up the matching kooler.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.