Walco Bead Co.

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Show and Tell - Share your treasures' started by lindapoirier, May 2, 2014.

  1. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    I have become somewhat obsessed but mostly genuinely interested in the Walco Bead Co. According to Wiki they were one of the largest bead company's in America at the beginning of the 1900s. " It was a landmark in New York's "bead alley" at 37 West 37th Street."*

    I first became aware of the company because I love vintage celluloid charms and I had found this kit online.


    However, I also own this fantastic vintage pipe cleaner brooch.


    I only recently learned that Walco made many different kits designed for the DIY enthusiasts, including a pipe cleaner kit.


    A cork and sequin kit.


    A wooden bead kit.


    And, of course, they are FAMOUS for their countless "Indian" bead kits which included everything from headbands to rings made of seed beads. We've all seen the great flapper sautoirs.


    I realize now that many of my vintage pieces that I have loved so dearly over the years are a result of the Walco Bead Co. Earring and brooches and necklaces made at home by some creative genius!

    Anyone know anything else about the Walco Bead Co., beside what Wiki has to say? Are there any publications about this company I could consult? I'd just like to research a little bit just to say that I have tried to know as much as I can about a Company that I seem to be infatuated with at the moment.

    Are there any other vintage "craft" companies out there that you know? I am always interested to know about vintage craft because it was the "norm" and everyone did it. Something that impresses me so because life just isn't like that nowadays. Whether it is knitting or quilting or beading, I am always in awe of the "normal" people who create works of Art.

  2. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  3. Rue_de_la_Paix

    Rue_de_la_Paix Trade Member


    I love all of those kits you show! Takes me back......
  4. Pinkcoke

    Pinkcoke Trade Member

    One of our members here had a jacket or dress with pipe cleaner buttons (where they clowns?) that were most likely made from one of these kits, seeing those illustrations above.
  5. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    I would love to see that jacket or dress. I would surely like to see any other pipe cleaner patterns from kits.

    Edit. I have to add that obviously monkey's don't wear their hearts on their sleeves. They wear them on their chaps!
  6. lkranieri

    lkranieri Trade Member

    THIS link will take you to many hits on "Walco Bead," some of which show you vintage ads for Walco Bead kits.
  7. lkranieri

    lkranieri Trade Member

  8. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  9. lkranieri

    lkranieri Trade Member

    Here are just a few other links that might be of interest:





    If you Google "Walco Bead" you will also find for sale a Walco Bead kit for embroidering sweaters and an instruction book for beaded bags (oops, just saw that URL listed above here).
  10. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    Is that not amazing???!!! The hours of work they must have taken.
  11. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    Yes, I often just google things myself, as an initial point of entry.

    Thanks too for the booksamillion link. I bought that book. It seems that Russell and Cohn have books about Walco and Marvel Comics. Are they like Schiffer Books? I will, most definitely, let everyone know about the contents and value of the book as a research tool, after I've read it.

    I love Abe Books, btw. I've found some pretty rare books there and I couldn't appreciate them more.

    Peter Francis looked like he was my type of guy. Amazing work. I am glad that BeadBugle.com pays homage to him.
  12. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    I would sure love to find this kit! It reminds me of the 1980s "ZOLO" kits.


    Also, I just love this image because the woman is on a cushion, working with a low table. How very "Japanese"!

  13. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    This is my collection of vintage cork jewelry. I think all but the bottom left pair of earrings are probably Walco-created. The bottom left, of course, are 1980s. Yet another example of how the 80s borrowed from the past and then threw a whole new twist on a great idea.

    cotmyey likes this.
  14. Midge

    Midge Trade Member

    Oh wow - something else I didn't know about before! I have a wooden bead clip-on earrings and brooch set, and I think another pair of earrings made from plastic beads. I always thought that they were kind of home made, but never gave them much more thought. They're in my flea market box somewhere, I'll see if I can find them. Not saying they must be Walco, but it kind of ties in with the other kits and ads shown here... though I'm not sure how old they actually are.
  15. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    Hi Again. I just wanted to add a review of that book I got. It is the worst rip-off I've come across in a while.

    It has one (1) page describing the Walco Bead Co. Nothing that I couldn't find on the internet, btw. Three (3) pages listing the bead kits that were sold by Walco. A list which isn't even close to being complete. It doesn't even have the "pixie" kit or one of the kits I have pictured.

    Twelve pages of general bead categories. I.E. modern beading, Native American beadwork, European beadwork, 3D beading, etc.

    The next 100 pages go on to give you a history of New York.

    What an incredible misrepresentation. Complete waste of money. PLEASE DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK.

    On a positive note, I did get this 1962 Walco "Bangle Hats' pattern book and an actual "bangle hat" on ebay for $4.99! I haven't received it yet so I can't report on the condition of the hat but it's worth a try for $4.99.


  16. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

    I remember those sort of hats...some of them had a plastic ring at the very top to create a flat look on the crown of the head.

    Sorry to hear about the lousy book...I have bought collectors books before that I have been very disappointed in as they don't have any info that you don't already know.

    One of the ones I can easily remember is one of the books that came out on lady head vases, another was one about glass candleholders.
  17. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    Yes, I know what you mean. Some of the Schiffer publications are dicey, at best. Sometimes I don't mind a photo-presentation book if the photography is excellent. It's good just to see some of the rarer pieces in one publication.

    I am looking forward to the hat. You can't get any real sense of it from that photo so it makes the little journey kind of fun.
  18. cmpollack

    cmpollack Trade Member

    Your collection is wonderful, Linda! What a fun thing to be magnificently obsessed with... :sunshine:

    I have a bead marionette brooch which is one of my faves, so it's wonderful to know of the Walco connection. And I also have a Bangle hat--but had no idea it was called that!
  19. lindapoirier

    lindapoirier Registered Guest

    Thank you! I still would love the Planimals set. One came up on Ebay but it was $225. I had no idea so many pieces in my own private jewelry collection were made by someone at home as a hobby. It's astounding. Must have been before the internets??! I love folk jewelry.
  20. foofoogal

    foofoogal Registered Guest

    Ok. It is official Linda.

    I want to go Play at your house.
    Love your uniqueness.

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