the History of
Branchell ColorFlyte Tableware
A brief, marginally
accurate, and completely biased view of the background
and origin of ColorFlyte
The Secretary of State, of the State of Missouri
some information about the Branchell Company.
In doing so,
she has set herself apart from the numerous others
sent form letters explaining that they probably have
information in their files but that they
can't justify taking the time to look.
The Branchell Company was formed on May 26, 1952,
registered its' address as 1610 Hampton Avenue, Saint
Louis. If memory
serves, I was a 4-month old embryo at that time.
The company was listed as a four-way partnership,
partners Edward Belwich and Ernest Hellmich dividing
ownership equally between the two of them.
other two partners are listed as Emil Bellmich and
All four owners listed Missouri residences.
I have to wonder if
Belwich and Hellmich picked Bellmich because they
would be cool to have someone with half of each of
or perhaps he was some half-human half plastic being,
like the Cybermen that liked to pester Dr. Who, but
ColorFlyte-colored parts!! Hell's Bells!
I suppose he could be stopped with scouring powder...
A special mahalo to Madam Secretary Rebecca McDowell
helping to bring Branchell history to light .
The Branchell company was a division or a subsidiary
of Lenox Plastics,
with company addresses on Oleatha Avenue in St. Louis,
in San Francisco, CA. World War II was over,
but in the early 1950's,
the American Housewife had declared war on dinnerware
that would chip
or break, or that couldn't stand up to being washed
in the electric,
Auto Matic dish-washer. She deserved the best
the Atomic Age had to offer,
and she got it.
The purpose and philosophy of ColorFlyte
Branchell stunned the Modern World with an
affordable new line of
thermoplastic dinnerware in bold, beautiful colors
that were the envy
of the Boss' wife, and which could also stand up
to Junior's plate-chucking shennanigans. ColorFlyte was designed
by Kaye LaMoyne, to be both
glamorous and indestructible. It was
the one dinnerware that was
considered equally well-suited to a hasty luncheon
or a hoity-toity holiday
dinner. It could be used without a care in
the world to serve scraps to
some abandoned cat, or to add sparkle to a candlelight
dinner at a
seven-star hotel. Grease monkeys and Hollywood
Stars alike preferred
ColorFlyte to breakable "china". At the time,
China was full of starving communists with very poor credit ratings and
no fins on their cars.
With Branchell's new ColorFlyte Melmac, the
Jane Jetsons and
June Cleavers of Space-Age America could rocket through
without a care in the world, beginning with a breakfast
fit for a king,
some liesurely vacuuming and a few soap operas, Tupperized
leftovers for lunch for the little baby-boom, and
a V-8 trip to the
Super Market. As a perfect conclusion to another
she would have a hytone dinner on the table for the
family and company
at exactly six o'clock, without missing a
single hoofbeat. With power
available at the push of a button, everything was
Instant cleanup, secret ingredients, wash-day miracles
penicillin helped make life whiter and brighter.
Of course, the table setting for all of these
meals could be none other
than the versatile and deceptively rugged ColorFlyte
which was usually sold on a door-to-door basis and
not, as I reported
earlier, as open stock at your nearby Sears-Roebuck.
came with a one-year, money-back guarantee against
ColorFlyte - both stunningly gorgeous and virtually
to bust into skillions of teensy little pieces.
Branchell offered two named lines of dinnerware as
ColorFlyte and Royale (the latter sometimes appearing
Royale"). I am told that the Royale trademark
In addition, some print patterns were also available.
as I can tell, Branchell used the Branchell trademark
and the ColorFlyte
trademark interchangably or even indiscriminately
on the familiar mottled
Glow Copper, Mist Grey, Spray Lime, and Glade Green
shades of melmac.
Those are the colors depicted as backgrounds and
this website. The Royale colors, known as Flame
Charcoal Grey, and Gardenia White, are shown in the
figure below, taken from original scans of tableware
in these colors.
the original "Royale" colors
It has also been speculated that the ColorFlyte trademark
replaced at some point by the more generic Branchell
business or legal reasons, but I really don't know
Incidentally, the original scans of these 4 colors
the wallpaper image on these pages are not copyrighted,
feel free to download them.
A small percentage of pieces appearing nearly identical
orange, light grey, and 2 shades of green ColorFlyte
floating around with no identifying marks whatsoever
Most collectors seem to agree that these are worth
somewhat less than
the logo-labeled pieces. There are at least
a couple schools of thought
about these, evidently based on guesswork. One is
that they are
counterfiet, which is something of an amusing concept.
It would take an underachiever of a criminal to hustle fake melmac, but
have happened. That would be a little like
a counterfieter deciding to
try nickels. And the second is that they were
Branchell without labelling, possibly for contracted
for large institutional orders.
The simple elegance of the design, graced
with understated accents, have made ColorFlyte a
and coveted icon of the 50's.
faithfully submitted by Poptard
who reminds you to drink, responsibly.
And as often as possible, from a Branchell tumbler!!
See you in the thrift shops!!
The ColorFlyte Shrine
check out the
The Pickled Piper
my Geocities Home Page
Questions, comments, corrections, and contributions
are are welcome!
last updated September, 1998
page created with Netscape Navigator Gold
pictures, ideas welcome...
pal: this is a grass-roots sort of thing!