Home » Decade » 1950 » 1950s Atomic Shadowboxes

June 2, 2011

1950s Atomic Shadowboxes

By Sara In AZ


Oh how I love vintage shadowboxes! The more atomic and wild the better!!!

Some of you may remember my post from a zillion years ago when I refinished some shadowboxes I picked up on the cheap. Click HERE for the link. Gosh, I was still a “Retro Guest” – it seems sooooo long ago. I digress.

I was cruising around the Bay awhile back and came across some really cool shadowboxes that I wanted to share with y’all. Unfortunately, all of these shadowboxes are now sold. I still thought posting the pictures would give some interesting insight as to what is around if you keep your eyes peeled.

First up some larger size shadowboxes.

This shadowbox sold for $191.50. It was made by Turner Manufacturing Company. This shadowbox measures 41″ by 27″. I believe the mirror could be replaced. Usually the edge mirror has thin gold lines all over it (kind of a spatter look) and little brass covers in the corners to cover the mirror seams. You will see what I mean when you see the next shadowbox.

The seller http://myworld.ebay.com/stutterauctions/ sold this shadowbox.

Here is another cool shadowbox! It looks to be ALL original to me. Check out that edge mirror with the gold lines. It is really interesting that this shadowbox is basically a slightly different version of the one above. This shadowbox sold for $204.01. The seller did not mention the manufacturer, but I would have to believe it was also Turner. This shadowbox measures 38″ by 24″.

The seller http://myworld.ebay.com/back-road-treasures/ sold this shadowbox.

This next shadowbox is really atomic and wild! I actually have this exact shadowbox, but mine is the brassy/gold color like the above shadowboxes. I believe this one has been repainted black over time and was originally the brassy/gold color. This shadowbox sold for $291.99. It measures 66″ long by 30″ tall and is marked on the back “Illinois Moulding Company Chicago, Illinois”.

The seller http://myworld.ebay.com/occult sold this shadowbox.

The next shadowbox is actually a newly made shadowbox that has the vintage look. These are a really good alternative if you just cannot find any vintage shadowboxes. The seller has them for sale periodically and you can usually choose your own color if you are the winning bidder. The colors he offers are turquoise, pink, white, black, and chartreuse. These are handmade by the seller and really have that period look. Each shadowbox measures 16″ by 12″ and 3″ deep and the opening is 5′” by 7″. He usually starts each auction at $49.99 and if you are lucky you can get them in the $50 to $65 range.

The seller http://myworld.ebay.com/rum-dum/ sells these shadowboxes.

These last 3 shadowboxes were all sold by the same seller http://myworld.ebay.com/halcyonline/

I would watch his auctions in the future if you like the look of these shadowboxes, as he seems to have them for sale every now and then.

These are probably my very favorite shadowboxes. I love the ‘combed’ wood and the really great 1950s atomic shapes. *swoon*

Here are a set of 3 shadowboxes with a sweet amoeba cut-out. The large one measures 16″ h x 16″w x 3.5″ deep and the two smaller boxes each measure about 8.75″h x 8.75″w x 3.5″deep. This set sold for $125.

Here is another great set of shadowboxes that have an amoeba shape. They each measure approximately 14.5″ wide x 13″ tall x 2.5″ deep. This set sold for $150.

Lastly, my most favorite shadowbox – the Bow-tie shadowbox. The seller called it the bow-tie and I think that name is a good fit. I love the little wire-backed circles on each side! This shadowbox measures approx. 29″ wide x 18″ tall x 4″ deep. This shadowbox sold for $150.

I think I need some smelling salts now! 🙂 *total swoon*

Share This Post

16 Responses to 1950s Atomic Shadowboxes

  1. Monica Reply

    June 2, 2011 at 7:12 am

    I LOVE LOVE them all and I have to say I have a few shadowboxes! it took me YEARS but I finally found some at garage sales!!!!

    • Karye Martin Reply

      July 24, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      I have a vintage shadow box from the atomic collection. It was my grandmother’s. Im looking to sell, if anyone is interested

      • Chrissy Reply

        December 18, 2016 at 6:46 am

        Karye – if you still have it, I am interested in pics.

  2. Sharon Reply

    June 2, 2011 at 7:24 am

    I didn’t know that I desperately needed a shadowbox until right this instant! Gosh, the decorating possibilities are endless! And I’m totally taken with those new versions, too. The bowtie? Dreamy!

  3. Uncle Atom Reply

    June 2, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Great post Sara – I’ve been looking for the gaudiest shadow box I can find but in my area they are not easy to come by. Not to highjack this post, but FYI for others, I started a Flickr group for Mid Century Shadow Boxes and would love if people could join and post their photos. Check it out here http://www.flickr.com/groups/1278813@N20/

  4. RetroRuth Reply

    June 2, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Love, love, love these, Sara!!! I am actually kind of glad that the auctions are ended, it is really interesting to see how much these bigger shadowboxes are going for. I am just looking for some little bitty ones, and even those are hard to find here!

  5. Sara in AZ Reply

    June 2, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Monica – Oh gosh, you are SO lucky to have found some of these shadowboxes at garage sales, I cannot even imagine your excitement when you brought them home!

    Sharon – Oh yeah, you completely need one of these! Just imagine all of the design possibilities! I will probably hunt for that bowtie shadowbox for the rest of my life. 🙂

    Uncle Atom – Thanks! I just looked at Halcyonline’s stuff on eBay and he has a super cool shadowbox he just listed, unfortunately he wants over $100 for it. I will totally join your shadowbox group, I love shadowboxes too!!!

    Ruth – It is interesting to see the end auction prices isn’t it? I was actually kinda surprised they went for that much. I will be on the lookout here for some smaller shadowboxes for you, you never know what will pop up!

  6. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    June 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I love those! And they are a great way to have knick-knack shelves that kids or cats can’t get to!

  7. Sara in AZ Reply

    June 5, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks Eartha! 🙂

  8. AtomicKat Reply

    June 5, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    It’s funny that I come across this post when I’ve been looking for the perfect shadowbox to fill a naked space on my living room wall. I love the ones you’ve displayed here! They’re really over the top and fun.

  9. Sara in AZ Reply

    June 6, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    AtomicKat – Be sure to let us know if you find the perfect one, we would all love to see pics!

  10. ktesmith Reply

    November 9, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Hello Sara:

    My husband recently inherited a shadowbox from his father, similar to the 2nd one on this page but with the edged mirror with gold lines on the side bars. It was shipped to us, however when it arrived all the mirror on the side bars had broken. Do you know where we can find the mirror replacement? It was absolutely beautiful and we were so thankful to receive it as it belonged to my husband’s mother who passed away when he was 17.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 9, 2013 at 11:13 pm

      Hi ktesmith! First the good news: you are SO completely lucky to have inherited that amazing shadowbox…it is very collectible and since it has sentimental meaning it makes it all that much more special.

      Now the bad news: I know EXACTLY the type of mirror you are talking about…it seems like that was super popular to use that on all of the old shadowboxes – unfortunately, it is no longer available. Trust me. I have tried numerous times at many different glass shops and every time the answer is unequivocally “No, that mirror is not available anymore”.

      You will have to just buy plain mirror (the thinnest that you can)and have it cut down into strips to insert back into the edges. You will have to go to a glass store to have this done, I had it done here for some broken pieces of mirror on a shadowbox I have. You can either make templates out of paper to bring into the glass shop or bring your whole shadowbox in and have them do the work. One caution – if you glue in the mirror strips on your own use only glue meant for mirrors. If you still wanted to have that ‘gold line/confetti’ look you could draw lines on top of the mirror with a gold paint pen.

      If you absolutely HAD to have the old mirror with the gold confetti in it to replace the broken mirrors on your shadowbox the only other thing you could do would be to buy another vintage shadowbox and remove that mirror and put it on your shadowbox. But there is also perils in that because you may break the mirror in trying to remove it from the ‘donor’ shadowbox.

      Honestly, if I were you I’d just stick with buying new mirror. I have new non-gold confetti mirror on some of my old shadowboxes and it really is no big deal.

      Good luck with your project, please let me know how it goes!

    • Misty Johnson Reply

      August 28, 2016 at 8:10 pm

      The glass is a gold vein mirror and you you be able to place it easily. Contact a local glass and mirror shop!

  11. KeyPal Reply

    December 28, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    I just picked up a Turner Mfg Co mirror exactly like this one


    For $15 at an auction in Western KY. So excited about this cool find!

    Any idea on how to determine the year(s) it was made? Any kind of Turner mirror “look book” out there? And does anyone know the a good paint color to match the gold from experience? The shelves need to be repainted.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      January 1, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      Great score Keypal! If you check out this post on a shadowbox


      I found on Craigslist a while back you will see the date code in the next to the last pic in my post – just a stamp with numbers…..you should be able to determine a date of manufacture for your box from those numbers.

      No, no Turner “lookbook” that I am aware of…it would be nice to see one though! As for the gold paint color, I think it will be trial and error to match it up exactly (if you are just repainting the shelves and want to match it up to the rest of the box). I don’t know of any gold paint that is an exact match unfortunately. Some of my shelves are worn a bit too and I just left them as they were.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *