4 heaped teaspoons

Bornvita mug by Cadbury advertisement

Suffering from bouts of insomnia hardly sounds like an excuse for a design-blog posting. Yet those dry and brittle hours when you lie awake may as well spent with beautifully designed objects, as not.

The plastic ‘Sweet Dreams’ beaker designed by A H Woodfull for Cadbury Bournvita in 1949 at least soothes a tired, sleep-deprived eye. With a beatific smile on the body of the mug and its blue ‘sleeping cap’ hat with a red bobble, it is all that is right about mid-century design. The cap even turns over and becomes a saucer. Ahhh..

This mug is one of those pieces of design that gets collectors over-excited and sweatily breathless. They will inexhaustibly hunt it down. And it is particularly baggable with it’s blue plastic hat / saucer. Although issued in an earlier ceramic version, the one that entices is plastic – so tactile and right for the period.

Woodfull was working with British Industrial Plastics Ltd at the time he designed this promotional give-away for Cadbury’s and the materials it’s manufactured from have those age-of-wonder-style names: Beetle urea formaldehyde, polythene and cellulose acetate.

You can almost hear the bubbling test tubes in the laboratory when they dreamt this one up.

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