Friday, November 21, 2008

Featured Collectible - Vintage Syroco

I got all the vintage Syroco items that I found last weekend listed - talk about a collection! I've been poking around eBay looking at the wide variety of items this company - The Syracuse Ornamental Company - made over the years... I was really surprised at some of the amazing things I found... but more on that in a minute!

First I want to give you a bit of history, the best I found was on a corkscrew collector's website that had this nice little description:

"The SYRACUSE ORNAMENTAL COMPANY, also known as SYROCO, was founded in the late 1890's by an Austrian woodcarver named Adolph Holstein. Initially the company produced ornamental carvings for the embellishment of coffins and furniture as well as the interiors of fashionable homes. As demand increased, a molding technique was developed where Syroco could create perfect replicas of their original carvings. These molds also featured a wood grain within the mold, allowing for a more detailed aesthetic. The recipe of wood flour, waxes, and resins combined with compression molding created an inexpensive, but high quality product. As the 40's approached, demand for Syroco was waning with the new popularity of Danish Modern with its clean simple lines and less ornamentation on furniture. Novelty items became a new venture for the company; focusing on housewares, barware, and items for the smoker, as well as other offerings.

During the 1950's, Syroco started to change directions again. And, while novelty items still appear in their catalogs of the time. Highly stylized wall mirrors, sconces, and decorations became the company's focus.

In 1953, Syroco introduced a process for obtaining the finish on these seemingly gilted home accesories, called "metalgold"; a process, as the catalog states, "...wherein real metal is deposited on the object and toned and shaded by skilled hand operations."

Interesting! It certainly explains the huge variety of Syroco items, and how Syroco Wood - which isn't wood at all, but just looks like it - came into being.

So let's look at some of the great stuff that I found, starting with my own pieces that are up for auction right now:

Vintage Gold Syroco Diamond Starburst Clock - All the Syroco clocks are amazing, with that perfect mid-century modern style!

Vintage Gold Syroco Floral & Fleur De Lis Mirror - I just love that this mirror has a fleur de lis design! This one is actually pretty tame compared to some of the Syroco mirrors that are out there...

Set of 4 Diamond Floral Gold Syroco Wall Plaques - I showed you these before, wouldn't they go perfectly with the clock?!?

Vintage Gold Syroco Rooster Wall Plaques - These are really interesting - I think they look like they are fighting, what do you think?

Vintage Gold Syroco Framed Floral Prints - I showed you these before too, I'm really having a hard time parting with them, they are so pretty!

That's all that I have, but it certainly doesn't even scratch the surface of what is out there! Here are some of my favorites:

Vintage Syroco Tie Rack - Does it get any cooler than this? Maybe...

Vintage Syroco Wood Zodiac Clock - This doesn't have the Syroco label, but the seller and I agree that it is probably a Syroco Wood clock - look at the amazing detail! It's on sale right now too, making it that much more tempting...

Vintage Syroco Wood Bartender Bottle Opener - I guess the corkscrews and bottle openers are highly collectible, it will be interesting to see the final bid price on this guy!

Vintage Syroco Wood Viking Ship Wall Plaque - I mean who doesn't need a 40" long viking ship for there wall? Seriously.

Gold Syroco Wood Clock with Matching Sconces - These are so pretty, I love the candles they chose to use too!

Vintage Syroco Wood Bookends - I think I could be quite happy with just a collection of Syroco bookends, they are so cool!

Ok, I'll stop now, I think you get the idea - Syroco = Awesome. :)

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Celia Pleete said...

That tie rack = AMAZING!!! Who knew Lord Peter Wimsey would be a good tie holder?

Learning Spanish at 41 said...

Great info on Syroco--just what I was searching for; thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

I ran across your post while doing research on my grand mother's roosters. I have a set of Black Roosters like your gold ones. They have the same info on the back like yours showing they were from Syroco. My grandmother passed over 5 yrs ago and my roosters have just been sitting in my closet waiting to be dusted. I plan on hanging them in my dining room. I have always loved them. I think my grandmother got them from when her sister died. Anyway, I was just looking for history on them when I ran across your post!

Robert L. Terpstra said...

I have a 2' high and 1' wide wall hanging depicting a lion hunt in the Black Forest of Germany. Horseback hunters in medieval garb are arrayed over a lion still fighting against their lances.
I was born in 1938 and it was on the wall of my parents' house in Rochester, Minnesota as far back as I can remember.
Now I have nowhere to store it and would be interested in finding a collector who would like it.
It's in perfect condition. I can be found at

Rosemary730 said...

I just came across your article and I appreciate your putting it out there. I was at a thrift shop today and found a set of matching wall hangings about 10" tall that is shaped like trees. Each one has two half round shelves attached. I got them for $6 and was looking for information. Thanks for doing this.

jen said...

the rooster are fighting- they are fighting cocks, somehow that idea caught on as a decorative element. we have 3 pair, love them!

Martha Murphy said...

I have a collection of Syroco souvenir plates from all over the U.S. I started with the National Parks that I had visited, but it's expanded. I try to focus on places I have visited. I have 13 so far: Yellowstone, Yosemite, Mt Rushmore, California, Crater Lake, Grand Canyon, Pikes Peak Region, Colorado Springs, the Ozarks, Florida, and two more I haven't put up yet. And I just spotted one for the Great Smoky Mountains on e-bay. I have them on my walls. They sort of go with my Craftsman-style decor. I don't know any other Syroco collectors.

D.R. Storm said...

...and here it is: someone who is as nuts about this stuff as I am...and I thought I was alone!

As a young child, I developed a love for this stuff during the 1980's just when its popularity was waning, and was being put away in boxes in the attic; sold in yard sales, or winding up at the local thrift store.

My aunt had a beautiful set of Syroco diamonds, along with matching sconces and wall vase that she had in her dining room for years, until she redecorated in the Mid to late nineties. If had known in advance she was going to place them in a yard sale, I would have snatched them up quickly, but alas, luck was not on my side.

I literally break out in a fever when I see this stuff peering out at me at a yard sale, or an antique shop. I have an affinity for curvaceous things anyway, which is why I don't limit myself to just the Syroco brand, but also include Burwood, Homco, and Dart Ind. as well.

I have friends and family who think my "hoarding" of these curved and gilded beauties is a bit nuts and eccentric -- which is fine by me, just so long as I can't ever be defined as normal! However, don't let them fool you, I've managed to "convert" one or two here and there, lol.

Santa Fe Cafe said...

I LOVE that you show the viking ship! I have one, was my parents and dearly love it-just curious tho'...what is the value? I have to insure it-

Mitzi - Vintage Goodness said...

I actually found a viking ship a few months ago and sold it in my antique mall booth, I think for about $40 or so.

Pig Pen said...

Back in the 70's I had a yellow flower wall clock. It looked like the mid-century mod flower made by syroco. The center of the clock was a clock. Does anyone know anything about it?

Backroad Peddler said...

Hi there! Searching for info on a piece I picked up at local thrift store. It is clearly marked syracuse ornamental (Syroco).

it is a large wavy brown framed rooster/chicken design with a different colored background behind each rooster/chicken.

Any help and or input is greatly appreciated!


Kathryn said...

have the same viking ship- my dad loved it and had it hanging above their bed and then down in the game room with recessed lights shining on it for years. Wondering what it might be worth-? One of my daughters wants it so it is going to her, but would like to know a value- did you sell yours? let me know and thanks! Loved all the info on Syroco Inc!