Thursday, December 18, 2014

Salty & Peppy

I got a surprise in the mail this week. My brother sent me the old wood salt and pepper shakers we used at the family table when we were kids. We called them Salty & Peppy. I thought the names were painted on their "hats" but I don't see any sign of writing now. (Have just learned my mom accidentally washed off the names.) They are quite worn and I think at some time I or someone else tried to fix the worn-out painted details.

variations of Salty & Peppy faces
There seem to have been a couple of standard design requirements, such as Salty's raised right eyebrow, open eyes, and smirking smile; and Peppy's demure closed eyes, striped hair, and white neck scarf; but since they were hand painted, each shaker varies slightly. My shakers are just under 5" tall, about the same size as an aluminum beverage can, but as you can see from the following photo they can be found in different sizes. There are also Salty and Peppy look-alike shakers out there with "cat faces". Some of those had a mechanical device inside that made a "cat" sound when you shook it.

Salty and Peppy were made in Japan, most likely by Woodpecker Wood Ware Products. Woodpecker also manufactured wooden salad or nut bowls, kitchen & bar-b-que tools, bread boards and canister sets. Some products had an embossed gold colored logo on the bottom and some have a stamped black logo. My two shakers only have a stamped black circle with "Made in Japan" inside, so I don't know for sure they were made by Woodpecker, however, they do resemble the shakers in old ads.

I'm not an expert on wood varieties, but according to one article I found, Woodpecker products were made of cherry from California. Some of their old ads include the word "cherry" and some include the words "maple finished". My Salty seems unusually dark, but it may be from constant use by grubby little hands.

I found Salty & Peppy and other Woodpecker Ware advertised in newspapers from 1954 to 1964. The ads also featured many products with a rooster motif, such as this wall hung knife holder I found on ebay.

The most unusual Woodpecker item I found on ebay was this little three-legged bowl. So Atomic!

No comments: