Llewellyn, one of the most famous makers of Lucite and Bakelite handbags. The incorrect information about its founding has been repeated so many times, it has become "known fact." The quotations from the Dooner book is wrong! Llewellyn was NOT formed in 1951 by the merger of Jewel Plastic Corporation and Fre-Mor Manufacturing Corporation.
Page 9 of "Plastic Handbags Sculpture to Wear" by Kate Dooner describes the companies and the products of the new company:
"In 1951, Jewel Plastics Corp. and Fre-Mor Manufacturing Corp. merged to create Llewellyn Corp. and the Llewellyn Plastic bag was formed. Jewel Plastic Corp. was know for its carryalls and frames while Fre-Mor was known for handbags, particularly its beaded bags. Llewellyn, Inc. was formed to design and produce plastic handbags and their trademark was Lewsid Jewel by Llewellyn. The company operated from Madison Avenue in New York."
The Llewellyn line consisted of "jeweled and tailored unlined carryalls in unbreakable shell as well as crystal and topaz Lucite. In addition to plastic boxes, there is a complete assortment of well styled leather bags, many trimmed with shell ornaments or 24K gold plated frames." (Sept. 1951 Handbags and Accessories). Morry Edelstein later went to head Miami Handbags to which he added another line, Patricia of Miami." PatriciaOfMiami
6/28/2007: A new and knowledgeable contact has set the record straight on this "merger," at long last. The only child of Ferdinand (Fred) A. Metter has documents proving Mr. Metter and Mortimer Edelstein formed Fre-Mor as a partnership in 1949. In 1951, the partnership was dissolved and Morty Edelstein left Fre-Mor to become part of the newly formed Llewellyn. Fre-Mor Fre-MorMfgCorp continued in business with a new partner, Lester Woods of Universal Trading Company.
254 Canal Street
January 1954 Handbags & Accessories includes several tidbits about Llewellyn. Their display ad on page 63:
Details of Llewellyn's 1954 Spring line on page 54:
Marine life Llewellyn design theme
A completely new design motif called "Song of the Sea" is presented by Llewellyn in a series of plastic boxes in all colors. Taking all of the beauty and color of underwater life, this firm has a series of various shaped plaques, which are recessed into bag lids.
The plaques have tiny colorful shells, in soft sea pastels, bits of real coral, tiny fake pearls nestling in shells, grains of silver as "glamorized sand" permanently set into a molten pearl base. The molten pearl is softly colored with an iridescent glazed quality, and acts as both a background and cement for the free form shell designs. The plaques have delicate quality of jewelry, and in fact, the same theme will be seen in a group of matching accessories.
Llewellyn has added to their fine collection of rigid plastic boxes a new color for spring, called "Blue Frost". This is a silver blue tone with a pearly iridescent quality. As the other colors of blue mink, shell mink have been off shoots of fur tones, so is this. It is particularly good with the new light mink fur.
Display ad "Handbags & Accessories" July 1954, page 30
A Lewsid Jewel by Llewellyn
We present with pride...
"The most outstanding group of shells ever offered, in the latest styles and treatments. We offer the most varied line ever available, of the highest quality materials and construction."
The mid-50's witnessed a fad for Fantastic in the highly embellished fabric bags, trimmed in needlepoint, glass beads and plastic jewels. It's 11" high and 14" wide. The handle is black rod lucite. The back is plain velvet. This example sold recently at auction for $26. Generally, bags of this style are black cotton velvet, lined in moire' satin and carrying the gold "Llewellyn Lewsid Jewel" logo. printed on the lining above the interior pocket. Often, this logo is worn and barely readable.
960764: This outspoken bag in lustrous black velvet gleams with iridescent beads and mirrored jewels surrounding needlepoint flowers, tied up with a bronze bead bow! Black faille lining with gold corded open pocket and topped off with a hinged black lucite single hinged handle. All in exquisite condition. Measures 12 3/4 x 7 1/2 x 1 1/2". Really a Jewel! SOLD
Vary your collection to meet day, evening, sport and dress needs.
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"CIRCULAR PANEL of bullion braid, pearls and rhinestones is centered on shell and lucite bag with sculptured sides. In shell, black, navy, white, gray. From Llewellyn" (Handbags & Accessories December 1955, page 20)
Accessory market round-up
"A good item at Llewellyn is a rectangular lucite bag that converts into a clutch when its handle folds into the body. This bag is two sizes to retail about $25 and $29.50." (Handbags & Accessories December 1955, page 34)
Bags for Spring 1956 were presented on January 3, 1956 by agreement as a member of the National Authority for the Ladies Handbag Industry. 1956NationalAuthorityMembers
With Holiday 1956 sales in view, special attention was directed to unique evening, trendy and novelty styles on pages 16-17 of "Handbags & Accessories" August 1956.
Show the unusual in special occasion bags
MOCK TORTOISE takes dressmaker detail on vanity with carved center detail. Tailored vanity, right, has long, lean silhouette. In several colors. Llewellyn, 171 Madison Ave.