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H3743A Collection of 'Nally Ware' household utensils, moulded phenol formaldehyde, made by Nally Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1934. Click to enlarge.

Collection of 'Nally Ware'

The museum's plastics collection began in the 1930s with the acquisition of specimens of plastic raw materials and finished products. The collection was driven largely by Arthur de Ramon Penfold (1890-1980), a former industrial chemist, who worked as curator and later director of the museum from 1927 until 1955.

Between 26 and 28 of September 1934, Sydney Technical College's Chemical Society and the Sydney Technological Museum collaborated to develop what was advocated as the first Plastics …


Object No.


Object Statement

Collection of 'Nally Ware' household utensils, moulded phenol formaldehyde, made by Nally Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1934

Physical Description

A collection of household utensils made from moulded phenol-formaldhyde synthetic resin. All with a high gloss, marbled Bakelite finish.



The objects were acquired in 1934. They were made using phenol formaldehyde moulding powders.



Acquired by a former Director, A R Penfold, for display in the plastics exhibition area of the Harris Street museum building.

Nally Pty Ltd made these objects. Les Dalton writes that, 'Nally products was born in 1923 when Nat Fienberg and Wally Wakeham imported 'Condensite' to make more reliable timers for the T-Model Ford.' Nally soon began moulding other items including the popular and bright range of kitchen wares. They were pioneers in the Australian plastics industry. Kevin Fahey wrote that they claimed several firsts: '... including being the first Australian company to install a "60 ounce" injection moulding machine ...'

All or some of these objects were displayed in an early 1940s plastics exhibition. One of their exhibition labels read:

Samples of the first
Plastic articles to be
moulded in Sydney'

It could be disputed that Nally were the first to make moulded articles in Sydney. Kelvin Fahey writes that: 'The first Sydney moulding operation was most probably that owned and operated by Dalton Ltd.'

Nally Limited donated these moulded plastics to the Museum in 1934.


A. S. Harrison, 'The Plastics Industry in Australia', Australasian Manufacturer, August 30, 1944.
K. Fahey, 'An Island of Plastics': Australian Plastics Processing in the 1980s, The Editors Desk Pty Ltd, Melbourne, 1989.
L. Dalton, 'Australian Plastics Industry - the early days by Les Dalton (Part 1)', The PIMA Press, Volume 7 Issue 4 April 2005, p.3, available at, accessed 22/02/08.


Credit Line

Gift of Nally Ltd, 1934

Acquisition Date

7 September 1934

Cite this Object


Collection of 'Nally Ware' 2023, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 8 June 2023, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Collection of 'Nally Ware' |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=8 June 2023 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}