Vintage 1950s Stratton Loose Powder Compact

So, being in a bit of a vintage makeup mood lately, I decided to try out a vintage loose powder compact. I decided that to try one out, I would get a very inexpensive one on eBay first, because I wanted to see how they work and if I could stand to use one at all. I got a 50s model Stratton (a UK brand) on eBay. It’s a bit beat up on the outside, but it seals perfectly, the hinges work great, and everything is in perfect working order. It was only $5.00 with free shipping, so I wouldn’t be out much if it was too much of a pain in the ass to use.

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Well, isn’t that cute?

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Stratton made compacts for decades, starting around the 1930s on up to around the 1990s. In this blog post, there is some handy information on how to date a vintage Stratton. It appears mine was made in the 1950s.

So, the self-opening inner lid version of these compacts were made from 1948 onward. I have to say, this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen! Or, maybe I’m just easily amused. 🙂 Tilt the lid of the compact nice and far back and the inner lid springs open. It’s the most satisfying sound.

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Under the inner lid is the powder well where you put your loose powder. You place a powder sifter over it, which presses the powder down. The sifter fits tightly in place and keeps the powder from coming out. The sifter is a fine mesh fabric which only lets a bit of powder through onto your puff or brush. Your powder puff is very flat and fits on top of the inner lid; however this compact didn’t have the puff and modern puffs are too thick to fit inside vintage compacts. There is only one manufacturer I know of, but I intend to use a portable kabuki with this compact. The sifter in this compact was in great shape and easy to clean up with an antibacterial brush cleanser.

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I cleaned a spoon with alcohol and filled the compact with MAC Set Powder in Invisible, which I have been using for many years.

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Press the sifter into place and close the inner lid, and your powder is pressed and secure.

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I’ve found that I actually like using loose powder with a mesh sifter better than straight out of a powder jar. Instead of getting either no powder, or a metric f-ton of powder on your brush, you get a perfect, finely distributed amount of powder on the brush, and a perfectly distributed amount of powder on the face. It’s really pretty brilliant!

This compact doesn’t leak when I tap it on my hand, but I am going to keep it on my vanity just in case. Compact manufacturers started making “convertible” compacts around the 50s that also held pressed powders and I think I will look for one of those for carrying with me, as there are just a few types of powder still made that fit those (two types being Rimmel Stay Matte and Estee Lauder Lucidity). I am a bit nervous about spilling my precious Set Powder in my Coach bag (even if it was a cheap outlet bag, LOL)! So I am looking around for a steal on a pressed powder compact now.

Do you have any refillable cosmetics items? I really think with people more concerned about “going green,” this should be something companies should start bringing back. At least companies like MAC are encouraging recycling, I guess. What do you think?

  

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