Being a transplant to the Syracuse area, I found interesting decorative items made out of plastic or faux wood; such as wall art, sconces and mirrors while shopping at my local thrift stores, yard sales, etc. Most of the pieces were tagged “Syroco” on the back. Naturally, as Syroco was based out of Syracuse, NY. The more I hunted, the more I found; similar items made by different manufacturers, sometimes even identical. Found some made out of metal. In attempting to research these items, I found there was very little information about most of these companies.
Here’s what I was able to round up / sort out / dig up:
Who or what is Syroco?
History from Syracuse University
“The Syracuse Ornamental Company, known as Syroco, was an American manufacturing company based in Syracuse, New York. They were best known for their molded wood-pulp products that resembled hand-carving.
Founded in Syracuse, New York in 1890 by immigrant Adolph Holstein, the Syracuse Ornamental Company (Syroco) specialized in decorative wood carving, especially for the local residential market. Products included fireplace mantelpieces and other types of interior decoration popular in late Victorian homes. To meet increasing market demand and sales opportunities Holstein developed a material looked and felt like wood but that which could be shaped, allowing multiple pieces to be produced through a molding process. The new product, which combined wood pulp brought from the Adirondacks with flour as a binder and other materials to give it strength, was extruded and then cut to fit compression molds, which had were made from original carvings in real wood.
Production of this new molded product, known as SyrocoWood, was the mainstay of the company’s production through the 1940s. The finished material could be smoothed and varnished to look like wood, or it could be painted. Sales catalogues from the early 1900s through the 1920s offer hundreds of varieties of moldings, capitals, brackets, volutes, and reliefs of vases, garlands, cartouches, scrollwork, and other details in a variety of styles.
By the 1930s the company had also developed an extensive line of gift and novelty items made of “SyrocoWood” and also “Woodite,” a combination of wood flour and polymer. In the 1960s the company began to use injection molding for some of its products, but did not entirely abandon its old processes.
Syroco added more lines of injection molded plastics when a new plant was opened in nearby Baldwinsville in 1963 which was entirely geared to plastics production, especially PVCs and polystyrene. The company began to use plastic in new “modern” designs and new forms for clocks, mirrors, tables and a range of household items.
In 1965 the company was bought by Rexall Drug and Chemical Company (which soon changed its name to Dart Industries). Dart owned Tupperware, from which Syroco gained more knowledge of injection molding.”
“C” and “D” are from at least 1939, they were used on all of the pieces for the New York World’s Fair in 1939.
The “J” and “K” stickers are from after 1964, when that new logo (the “S” with a chisel through it) was trademarked.
You will find some Dart and Crestyle pieces identical to Syroco. This was common; because Dart and Crestyle were both subsidies of Rexall Drugs (The parent company), so they reused old Syroco dies and just changed the manufacturer name. Syroco purchased Burwood and some of it’s assets in 1997. It’s unknown if they ever did anything with the name.
My shop will be 20% off, No coupon needed.
Wednesday 5pm through Tuesday at noon.
We got a little bit for everyone. In addition, we will be continuously adding items all weekend.
After reading several other blogs, I decided to write several tips I didn’t really see out there and review a few of my favorite tips.
1) Coupons – In my area, The Salvation Army publishes coupons in various places; back of receipts at the local supermarket, weekly junk mail circular, pennysaver. I use these in conjunction with their “family day” half-off day.
My last shopping trip, I spend $22, but I saved $35. All the items were half off plus additional amount off for the coupon. Sometimes I break up my transaction to use multiple coupons, but be courteous of everyone else in line (I’ll talk more about this in bit).
The Rescue Mission in my area honors the Salvation Army coupons. The Goodwill in my area does not. So check with your local thrift shop and see if they honor their competitors coupons.
2) Scour the racks – Maybe this come from “crate digging” ( looking for vinyl records) for so many years and seeking out that hidden gem. Go through every piece on the rack. Leave no hanger unturned. Stores are constantly adding pieces and customers are constantly moving items around. This holds true for most thrift stores in urban areas, due to the large amount of foot traffic.
People hide items all of the time at thrift stores. Sometimes they don’t have the money but more likely, they are waiting for the item to go on sale. They hide items and come back when they are.
The employees at bigger chain thrift stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army, Rescue Mission) constantly mix-up the gender of clothing and tag them incorrectly. Which is understandable, They are sorting and tagging hundreds of items of clothing every week.
The most popular mix-up is jeans. When I go to any thrift store in my area, there are rarely any mens jeans. I started double checking the womens jeans section and there are tons of mens jeans mixed in, incorrectly tagged.
Another popular error I’ve been finding, is smaller womens t-shirts (like youth mediums and youth larges) mixed in with the childrens clothing. Which works out great, cause they charge less for childrens tops.
Example: At my local Salvation Army, which I frequent regularly, I was skimming the racks, because I was there the day before. I hadn’t expected too much to change. Something in the back of my mind told me to dig. Glad I did, found 20+ killer vintage men pieces that someone had apparently just donated. I went back everyday for week and they kept bringing more out from the same collection. Had I continued skimming, I probably would have missed that stuff and all the items I got over the next few days.
You never know what you are going to find in the wrong section. So dig deep! It will pay off.