Compact Mirrors & Powder Compacts

Jane Vanroe on collecting vintage powder compacts and compact mirrors. You can find Jane's designs at www.vanroe.com and on Amazon in the EU & USA

Talking KIGU vintage powder compacts at The Huddersfield Collectors Club

Lancashire Life's pic of me working on a vintage Stratton

Lancashire Life's pic of me working on a vintage Stratton

Last night I spoke at the Huddersfield Collectors Club about the two British super brands – KIGU and Stratton. I’ve talked enough here about Stratton, so here’s a little insight into KIGU…

KIGU – Four generations of powder compacts

1956 KIGU advert powder compacts

From a 1956 KIGU advert - see http://www.vintage-compacts.com

Josef Kiaschek, a master Hungarian Goldsmith, claimed to make the first powder compact early last century. His son, Gustav, founded a workshop in Budapest to hand-make compacts, calling the business KI-GU (after Kiaschek-Gustav).

Gustav went on to have three sons, Charles, Paul and George… Charles moved to New York to become a goldsmith, while George emigrated to London in 1939, where he founded his own powder compact company – KIGU of London. However, the outbreak of WWII meant that George’s technical knowledge and new factory were needed by the UK government. It wasn’t until peace time that he could start manufacturing compacts on a large scale. Third Kiaschek brother Paul also joined the firm after the war.

The Queen at KIGU's stand at the British Industries Fair

The Queen at KIGU's stand at the British Industries Fair - from http://www.vintage-compacts.com

KIGU quickly gained a reputation for quality and innovative design. In 1949, the Royal family bought KIGU compacts at the British Industries Fair. By 1956, KIGU had become the largest British firm specialising in compacts. Over 300 workers were employed across their three UK factories. They manufactured over 600 designs of compacts, powder bowls and trinket boxes.

1950s KIGU powder compact magazine advert James Walker

1950s KIGU powder compact advert - from http://www.vintage-compacts.com

KIGU became a household name, and exported across the world.

George Kiaschek died in 1977, leaving the company to his son David who was just out of university. Unfortunately the boom times for compacts were over, and KIGU was acquired by A.S Brown (manufacturer of Mascot compacts) in the early 1980s.

Finally, Laughton & Sons. acquired both the Mascot and KIGU brands to add to their own Stratton range…. and there we are, back to Stratton!

With thanks to David Morley, Secretary of The Huddersfield Collectors Club for his kind invitation, David Kiaschek for his amazing website archives, and to the Rev. MacDonald for joining me last night to speak about his Elgin American compact collection (more about this shortly!)

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6 comments on “Talking KIGU vintage powder compacts at The Huddersfield Collectors Club

  1. Pingback: Which vintage or new powder compacts fit Max Factor Creme Puff? | The Powder Compact Diaries

  2. Pingback: Restored Vintage Powder Mirrors from Vanroe Compacts | Penny Dreadful Vintage

  3. Mary
    August 5, 2012

    I have a beautiful Kigu compact that I was given by my cherished grandma, its one of my favorite object I own because it smells like her!
    I havent found any powder that I could fit in it yet though!!

  4. Anne Meek
    August 16, 2012

    I have a Kigu powder compact ,bought in London 1966 .It is still in original box and case.

  5. Cherry James
    February 2, 2015

    I have a KIGU convertible compact and lipstick case still in its box dating back to 1964. It is black enamel with a diamante lovers knot. Does anybody want to buy this from me? If so, please contact me via my e-mail address. Thank you.

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Jane Johnston Vanroe Powder Compact Mirrors

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