Stratton started out in 1860 as a knitting needle manufacturer. They marketed their first powder compact in 1923. Their compacts were imported from the USA, and given the name “Stratnoid”. Which was the same brand name as the company’s knitting needles.
By the early 30s, the compacts had became known as “Stratton”s, borrowing the name from the hero in a popular novel.
The rebrand was a great success and by the mid 1930s, Stratton produced over half of all compacts used as a part British cosmetics at that time.
In 1940 due to Germany’s WWII blitz of Britain disaster struck. Four of the five Stratton factories were destroyed. Production was forced to a standstill. Manufacture resumed after the war, but shortages in Britain meant that particularly metals as raw materials, were in short supply.
Compacts of this time can even be found made from aircraft alloy. The arrival of the 50s brought a big change for Stratton.
The booming love for cosmetics, particularly the powdered and polished Hollywood look, made compacts a must. Stratton introduced their now famous compact in hand logo “self-opening lids”. Inner lids hold loose powder safely, and unlock automatically as you open the powder compact.
It was patented in 1948 and was designed to prevent your nails being damaged. However some much earlier compacts also had this mechanism.
Stratton were famed for the quality of their enamel and reliability. Stratton ceased trading in 1997. Now modern 21st Century Stratton compacts are made but they are not British made & collectors consider them inferior to the vintage Stratton compacts.
Some modern 21st Century Stratton compacts are passed off as being vintage.
However, if you buy from a collector or specialist compact dealer such as ourselves they know how to datevintage Stratton compacts by the design on the base. Sometimes you can cross reference this with the model type & date a particular compact to within three years.
You can find out more on the history behind this revered vintage brand in our bespoke fact pacts that are supplied with every order from The Vintage Compact Shop - shop Stratton compact mirrors and handbag mirrors here.