Monday, July 4, 2011

More to Syroco

You know the stuff! Lots of ornate, highly detailed, gold, plastic (usually) wall decor. I also sometimes refer to it as "gaudy". But there's more... and after learning some, I have more appreciation for it.

But first, here are some samples of it to refresh your memory:

via go2vintage
via bouquet

From WhimsicleJunk

Syroco adjusted their styling every decade or so for more than a century. They have quite a history, which I will briefly go into.

History adds knowledge 

Syroco stands for "Syracuse Ornamental Company". Originally founded in the late 1890's, I was surprised to learn they were around that long (I was familiar with the stuff from the 70's - which I didn't think represented anything historic).

They originally produced ornamental wood carvings to embellish coffins, furniture, interiors of homes and mansions; Utilizing a compressed molding technique they developed using wood flour, waxes and resins.This produced perfect replicas of their original carvings, making it high quality but also affordable.

Due to design trends and customer demand, different eras produced different types of products.

1930's - 40's gave us housewares, corkscrews, bookends, ashtrays, souvenirs and comic statues. Some good examples are shown in the link below:

via Ms Dow Antiques

1950's showed us highly styled (gaudy?) wall mirrors, sconces and decorations. The"Metagold" finish was created in the early 1950's, utilizing hand toned and shaded techniques using real metal deposits on the surfaces.

via go2vintage
Many of the items you see are from the 1960's and 70's. Candle holders, sconces, mirrors,etc.
(The older and more valuable corkscrews and figurines -from 30's and 40's- are the most sought after, by the collectors of Syroco).

However, currently the demand is high for the newer 60's and 70's mirrors, shelves, sconces, etc.

Fast forward to today's look

The DYI crowd has discovered these as an inexpensive alternative to the real "antique" carvings. Given a shot of paint and sometimes some wax, Syroco has a modern appeal in the various categories of home decor: Vintage Farmhouse, French Cottage, Shabby Chic, Beach Modern, etc.
via Apartment Therapy
There are more great examples at  Matters of Style.

I'll leave you with a fun project, if you want to try one yourself! I really like this tutorial on how to "Make your own", also by Matters of Style.

If you need items to "Modernize" yourself, you can check out my vintage store, I'll be posting more Syroco in the near future, as well as the pieces currently available.

Thanks for visiting!


  1. What an interesting history this sometimes "gaudy" item has. That pink mirror is kinda fun! :O)

  2. Yes it is!
    It's amazing how a little updating can bring an item into a whole different time and place!
    ~ Thanks for the comment~

  3. All I want to do when I see the gold is paint everything antique white, gigggle. Thank you for a great post!

  4. Katherine - That is my first instinct also!
    Is white the new gold?
    I like how it lets you enjoy "fancy" without feeling over accessorized.