Last year I treated myself to a 1940's Stratton compact and Instagrammed the above image. The original puff and sifter were completely useless, but luckily I could find a replacement (brand new) and use my own favorite translucent powder. At the time The Compact Shop offered this option, but since has moved to a variety of powder options that you can use in any of their Stratton Compacts, which are brand new, or with vintage compacts.
Stratton's history goes back to 1860 (known at the time for their knitting needles, apparently), but it was not until 1923 (after a merge with Jarrett and Rainsford) that the company began producing their famous compacts. The beautiful compacts were made in Birmingham, and were sold in London. In the 1930s, they were producing half the compacts in the UK (impressive, right?).
Unfortunately, during World War II (1940 to be exact), Stratton faced a setback after losing four of its five factories to enemy bombs. At that time, they began to focus on supplies for the war, which helped them survive post war.
By 1948, Stratton had developed and patented a self-opening lid for their compacts, which is common in their 1950 compacts forward. This is important when dating your compact. If your compact has a self-opening inner lid then was definitely made after 1948. If the compact uses cream powder then it was made after 1950. Lastly, if you find your compact has the "Compact in Hand" logo on the inner lid, then it was definitely made between 1950 and 1970.
In addition to powder compacts, Stratton also made lipstick holders, cigarette cases, and other cosmetics containers. As someone who prefers loose powder, I used the following video to help me decide if a vintage Stratton could be useful to my everyday life
The company closed in 1997, but has since been revived. Some of their vintage-inspired compacts have been used in the television show Mr. Selfridge. The Compact Shop prides itself as the official stockist for Stratton compacts. I adore my vintage Stratton and I hope you will be inspired to explore the world of vintage compacts as well. They are beautiful, functional, and, the best part, constantly reusable. The perfect way to add a bit of vintage glamour to your everyday life.
Here is a sample of the variety of designs made by Stratton over the years. The price, of course, varies depending on availability, date, condition, and design. I have seen compacts as low as $10 and as high as $500.