Flickr Widget

Friday, January 14, 2011

Another find: Arabia's Kilta by Kaj Franck

I was checking my local Craigslist for something else that looked promising, and I ran across this ad:

Unique 50's Art Deco Serving Dishes. 
Antique dealer said the white one is worth a lot. Just don't know who to take it to. 
It is very unique! 

How do you see something like that without having to check it out? You're pretty sure after reading the description that the seller is clueless about the item. Someone has already told her it's valuable, but she hasn't taken the time to check it out, so you simply have no choice except to rush over and grab it before someone else does...or before she finds out more about it and raises the price like the seller of the Aalto chair did earlier this week.

In this case, "the white one" turned out to be a Kaj Franck design for the Finnish tableware company Arabia...the large Kilta gravy boat complete with lid and in unblemished condition. I had mentioned Kaj Franck only briefly in a previous post but thought the piece looked familiar, so I did some research, and I was right.

Arabia started producing the Kilta collection in 1953. In its time, it was considered a “revolution in the cupboard." The tableware was stackable and had interchangeable lids, which was quite a departure from traditional settings, as well as very convenient for small post-war housing. 
The original Kilta pieces were available in white, black, green, blue and yellow. Brown pieces were produced later for a short period. Production of Kilta ended in 1975, but in 1981 Franck and his team relaunched the series to present-day specifications, currently marketed under the name Teema. (My gravy boat was marked 1-68 on the bottom, so I'm assuming that's when it was made, roughly halfway through the production years of the Kilta line.)

Armed with this information and money in my hand, I was ready to go. The only problem was the seller's location. I'm on the far west side of Fort Worth, and she is in one of the suburbs on the far east side of Dallas..."local" in only the broadest sense of the word. Still, I jumped in my trusty Jeep and made the 120-mile round trip for a single gravy boat.

As I said to a fellow blogger recently, "Ah, the things we do for vintage!"

The seller was originally asking $25 for the piece, but I ultimately got it for $10, so I'm feeling fairly optimistic that I'll make money on the deal, even considering what I spent on gas. Here's a picture of it, taken very professionally in the seat of one of my dining room chairs with a black fleece jacket as a backdrop. We do the best we can with what we've got. :)

My Kaj Franck Kilta gravy boat find

Here are photos of a few more pieces of Kilta. I really like the simplicity of the geometric shapes.

Kilta covered dish with bamboo support
Kilta casserole
Kilta triangular dishes
Kilta rectangular dish with bamboo support
Kilta teapot
Kilta pieces


  1. gorgeous in their simplicity, but they look like very sturdy pieces! sometimes i like taking long drives like that because you never know what else someone has that they're willing to sell, i'll always ask ;)

  2. @stacey: Yes, the piece is very substantial. It's a no-nonsense design that was obviously meant to be very utilitarian, but I love the understated simplicity and sturdiness.

    And, yes, I did manage to pick up something else from the seller...a turquoise Imperial melamine divided vegetable dish. Where there's one cool mid-century piece, you usually find more.

  3. simply gorgeous...more like yummy pretty!..:)

  4. @Sudha: Yes, yummy is a perfect description. Creamy and yummy.