Stratton Compact Mirrors & Heritage
Prima Ballerina Violetta Elvin Promoting Stratton Compacts
The company we know today as 'Stratton' began trading in 1860. At this time they were 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.
1934 Stratnoid Advertisement
Many Stratnoid accessories were made from Duralumin which was 90% aluminum & the alloy (copper, manganese & magnesium). Duralumin was first used in WWI to manufacture lightweight washers in aircraft assembly. Although all the Stratnoid compacts we have seen are silver coloured this material was also produced to make thimbles in these colours - green, gold & blue. Stratton & Co were associated with making all different kinds of accessories & useful goods like knitting needles. In the London trade directory, they are listed as the owners of the Stratnoid trademark. Stratton & Co were the most inventive company. This can be seen with the variety of their compacts but also other accessories that they produced.
This Stratnoid compact has an attractive celluloid & enamel lid showing the magnificent M V INNISFALLEN at sea. The inner lid is signed 'REG. DESIGN. No 767198 STATNOID MADE IN ENGLAND. Measures 2" X 2" & weighs 48 grams.
Before the end of WWII, British foil was made from tin and so vanities adorned with foil are often sought after as tin (10th) wedding anniversary gifts. The nautical-themed Stratnoid shown above is decorated with two cutter-rigged sailing vessels.
The image above shows a typical Stratnoid interior case. The fan-shaped inner lid rotates to allow access to powder. This example has a sprung thumb catch. The compact is signed 'REG. DESIGN. No 767198 STATNOID MADE IN ENGLAND.
1934 Stratton & Co. Crochet Hooks Advertisement
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 from 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.
Many 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 date vintage 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.