Friday, February 27, 2009

Shoe, Fly—Vintage Brass Ashtrays

Mr. Peacock acquired the vintage shoe ashtray from his paternal grandmother, Opal. She never smoked, however, she always had a very large decorative ashtray displayed on a coffee table in her living room. She also had a few smaller "personal" ashtrays, including this shoe, in her “television” room for my father to use when we made visits to her home.

This little brass shoe ashtray was made in India and has a foliage design etched on the surface. I love the fine gauge brass wire used for the shoelace.

My grandmother Opal had this shoe since the late 1920’s. It’s fairly small, about 5 inches long and 2 inches wide. Mr. Peacock loved playing with this little "wingtip" when he was a child.

I got the brass fly ashtray from my mother. She smoked, on and off, at various times in her life. Sometimes she would sit on our porch watching the birds take a birdbath while smoking a cigarette in one hand, and holding the little fly ashtray in her other hand.

It’s from the 1960's and, like the shoe, is also made in India. The wings are on a hinge and can be raised while you’re smoking. Mr. Peacock uses it as a decorative object in his living room. Both of my brass ashtrays have a lovely patina, and are not shiny like the new brass ashtrays. There's similar fly ashtrays on eBay right now, click here.

You can still find these inexpensive “personal” brass ashtrays from India at yard sales, flea markets and eBay. Here’s some vintage brass ashtrays I found on eBay:

Mr. Peacock loves this little crabby guy. You don't have to use it as an ashtray—you could use to store something (keys, jewelry, etc...) inside its shell. There's quite a few brass crab ashtrays on eBay right now, click here.

There’s many “Sultan’s Shoes” to be found on eBay too, click here.

It was a prerequisite,
when Mr. Peacock was growing up, to have decorative ashtrays in your home because so many people smoked. Times have changed and fewer people smoke now—at least tobacco, that is. I guess that's why I see so many large vintage ashtrays at flea markets. Some of the vintage ashtrays are really beautiful and I always try to think of ways I could re-purpose them.

Do you have any decorative ashtrays at your home?


wecouldgrowup2gether said...


jason said...

Love them both!

I have an old biomorphic 50s ashtray, very big and heavy, which I use as decoration. I don't smoke, never have, but it just seems chic somehow to me to have an ashtray around.

Deemer said...

On an unrelated note. I stumbled onto your blog recently via A Bloosbury Life and really enjoy reading it! There is such a wealth of information here, that I could go back 2 or 3 times and still find new discoveries!!

Your post about putting candied fennel on ice cream was really fun. As someone originally from the Indian Subcontinent, I didn't know you could do that! Can't wait to try it!

Thank you again!

Xander said...

I'm quite a fan of the creatures of the deep-- I would love to add that little crabby to my home. -X

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Anonymous said...

love the site, i have just become the proud owner of the same brass fly ashtray and a 7.5 inch brass ashtray that looks like a wasp. very cool and stylish

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Tamara Johnson said...

Was cleaning out my grandmother's house and found a shoe ashtray just like that one. On the bottom it says made in india 1605