170 plastic Decorator Panels in 19 groovy patterns — New Old Stock for sale in Austin

“…I promptly dropped my phone and fell
out of my chair” – Dustin, upon the discovery.

crysta lite decorator panelsBoom! Pow! Welcome to Monday morning: Here is a great find: 170 new-old-stock (NOS) of 6′ x 2′ plastic decorator in 19 patterns, found in Pennsylvania and now for sale near Austin, Texas. And a first for the blog: This story has a back story of murder, too.

crysta lite decorator panelsAccording to seller Dustin, who contacted me with his fabulous find:

The majority are “Shatterproof, indoor Saftiplass by Lancaster products Co., 4030 Freeman Blvd, Redondo Beach California.” Others are labeled “CRYSTA-LITE Decorator panels by Manchester Products Co. 8966 Mason Ave., Chatsworth, California…. They have been sitting idle, stored flat, covered, and untouched for 30-40 years. These were never used, still with the original stickers, and maintain the same fresh, vivid colors as the day they were made.

crysta lite decorator panelsYup, they look pretty vivid, all right. Please note, though, that I played with the image files, adjusting exposures, dialing up the black, etc. Check with Dustin (more info before) to get a sense of true colors, which area always difficult to capture digitally…

Update: In photo above, you can see that Guy has one of these in his house, which I featured on the blog in 2010. It’s just like Dustin’s green guy, only orange. It seems to be being used as the translucent side to a bookcase/cubby. Cool!!!

crysta lite decorator panelsFantastic.

crysta lite decorator panels

Dustin writes:

My father-in-law — who I will refer to as Yoda (consider me Luke) — is a picker in Central Pennsylvania. He called me one day (I’m the tech-savvy researcher) and asked if he should buy these panels. I asked him to send me a picture and I promptly dropped my phone and fell out of my chair.

crysta lite decorator panelsAs a fan of design (similar to an armchair quarterback) I realized these things were (1) very, very cool, and (2) a couple of searches led to the determination they are very rare. Further research determined that these were very popular in homes and restaurants from the 1940′s through the 1970′s, but the polystyrene panels have been out of production for decades.

crysta lite decorator panels I had him pull the treasure trove in an old Pennsylvania warehouse, where they have been sitting idle, stored flat, covered, and untouched for 30-40 years. These were never used, still with the original stickers, and maintain the same fresh, vivid colors as the day they were made.

crysta lite decorator panelsThe stack contains 19 or so patterns in a variety of colors, and we currently have multiples of each. They measure 6 ft. by 2 ft. and are approximately 1/8-inch thick. They are easy to cut with standard tools such as with a jigsaw, table saw, band saw, or circular saw, or they can be scored and snapped.

crysta lite decorator panelsThe majority are labeled “Shatterproof, indoor Saftiplass by Lancaster products Co., 4030 Freeman Blvd, Redondo Beach California.” Others are labeled “CRYSTA-LITE Decorator panels by Manchester Products Co. 8966 Mason Ave., Chatsworth, California.” Both companies went out of business long ago, and if you Google Manchester Products, you bring up an interesting story about the owners. [Pam takes the hint and investigates with the google: Yikes: In 1985, two brothers -- who co-own the Manchester Products business with their mother -- hire a killer to murder their parents... The "Ninja Murders."]

crysta lite decorator panelsWith the right lighting, the panels are breathtaking. They can be used as room dividers, restaurant booth privacy screens, made into lampshades, sun catchers, or to restore a vintage door or windows and more ideas I probably can’t wrap my head around.

crysta lite decorator panelsThe panels have made a trip to Austin, TX. Some have been sold, but we still have at least 170 of them in 19 of the 21 patterns we have pictured.

crysta lite decorator panelsPrices range from $75 (‘cloud’ and ‘bottle’ pattern) to $125 (stain glass/intricate patterns).  We’re asking $100 on the “psychedelic interwoven” pattern panels.  We based pricing off of a number of factors:
  1. Finding these is a challenge — the first buyer that contacted us has been looking for 13 years for these.  His grandfather was a ear, nose, and throat doctor and had these hanging in his office.  The gentleman still remembered them from when he was 12 years old (around 1970) and has been wanting to decorate his office with them but has been unable to find them until now.
  2. The only ‘comps’ (comparable panels) we found was acryllic panels – even plain colored 6′ x 2′ panels run around $150-$200.  When you get into the designs you’re talking several hundred dollars.
  3. We asked an owner and good friend whose shop specializes in vintage architectural materials and his determination is that they would sell between $12-18 per square foot retail.
The one challenge is shipping: these things are delicate and large, so shipping really isn’t an option, therefore we need buyers to pick up (I’m about 10 miles north of Austin in Leander, Texas) and have enough room to lay these flat if they purchase a large amount (over 2 panels).
.
–> Readers (interested in buying any of these panels) can feel free to contact me at sitdropspeak@gmail.com.
Thank you, Dustin, for sending in this tip — so glad you found us. Hey, how did you find us, I ask? Dustin responds:

Hey Pam,

We found you through a lady who purchased all three of the Morocan pink and yellow panels.  She suggested I let you know about them.  Separately, I knew about your blog through researching some 60′s folding shower doors (I have 10 of them still stacked in their boxes in the garage, from the same place we got the panels).
I didn’t put two-and-two together until the lady made that suggestion.  I’m sure glad I did!  Thanks again for all your help and for promoting such an awesome style!
Hey, Dustin, Send me pics of those shower doors. We wanna see those, too. Wanna keep up with Yoda and Luke’s adventures, check out Dustin’s blog: Sit Drop Speak.
Texas: Go get these panels, stat.

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Comments

  1. Dustin says

    Hey Renovators!

    Wow, what a summer it’s been! Many folks from Austin and surrounding areas were able to snatch some of these beauties up for a variety of projects (hopefully they’ll send some pictures for Pam and I of their creative uses!). Alas, we no longer have any in our garage. I put the last ones on a truck to Denver a couple of weeks ago and I must say it’s like watching your children leave home :). However, my wife is (almost) able to park in the garage again….

    We DO have some of various sizes (and some new designs we found at an auction of the contents of an old hardware store in Pennsylvania) still in stock in Pennsylvania, and we discovered the beauty of Greyhound as a shipping auction a couple of weeks ago. So….you can view new inventory at tinyurl.com/augustpanels if you’re interested and contact me at sitdropspeak@gmail.com for a quote.

    Once again, thanks to those who purchased, who had great things to say about them, and most of all to Pam for running an awesome blog!

    Dustin and Yoda

    • Peg says

      So did whoever it was that bought them and took them to Denver plan on them for personal for personal use? Or was it a ‘dealer’ who might be re-selling them? Do you know?????

      Signed,
      Close enough to Denver

  2. Judy Meinhold says

    Pam, there are still some panels listed on ebay as Retro Mid Modern Deco Interior Designer Decorator Wall panels!

  3. says

    Hi Pam….
    I pulled this article up very recently because I’m helping a friend do research on writing a musical theatre show based on Hawaii. In my class we were discussing visual storytelling techniques used by the Hawaiians in their early cultures. One of the designs of these panels and your article instantly came to mind.

    When my partner and I were in Vegas, at an antique store, they had a few of the green panels shown in the 4th, 5th and 12th photos. (green and brown panels) With them, the store’s owner pointed out the petroglyphic type symbols and explained that these images actually told a story within the panel about Hawaiian life. They are designed to emulate that. If you look closely you can see fish and water and other symbols.

    Here’s my question. Is there anyone in your research that could take a second look at these panels and help you learn more about this? I think it’s a fascinating side to this story that could, in itself, make a nice feature for your blog and a nice addition to the wonderful things you do here for all us lovers of design.
    Thanks
    Take care
    TONY P

  4. Terri Smith says

    Hello,
    I came across your website. I have a tub-master sliding track 297.1-71 and need new doors. Do you have doors to sell?

    Do you know what model I can buy that would fit these tracks? I would hate to replace the tracks too. Help!

    Terri

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