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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).
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–> 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.
 
Texas: Go get these panels, stat.

    1. Eva Smith-Furgason says:

      Hi! Eva here – I am selling the panels I found – I have only put them up on Facebook in a couple of groups – I’m hesitant to do eBay or Etsy as I’d rather work directly with the buyer to set up shipping and ask any questions they may have. I have 100 full size panels in red and green. The patterns are Maya – which I have in red and green – and cracked ice – which I have in green. You can contact me by email or through Facebook. Would love to sell all of these as we are renovating the building and they are in our way.

      1. john says:

        Good morning, I came across this today and wondering if you still have some panels for sale, I am in San Antonio and would be able to pick up. Please let me know! Thanks so much!!
        John

      2. Mack says:

        Has Eva ever listed the panels for sale somewhere? I have been looking for the Mayan and bottle bottom pattern sheets for over 20 years and just now found out what they were and who made them which led me here on my searches. My local home improvement place had these back in the mid 1970s and I wish I had bought extras back then. Mack

      3. Thomas Smith says:

        Hi Eva,

        do you still have any of these left? if you do, can you share the patterns? Thanks & Stay Safe!
        -tom

  1. Eva says:

    We just bought a building and you could have knocked me over when I found about 8 boxes of these decorator panels. We have green and red Manchester products 2×6 panels (there are 10 to a box) and will be selling them to help pay for needed renovations to the building. They are all deadstock – and most still have the original stickers.

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi Eva, how cool! Let me know when you list them for sale and I’ll consider doing a followup story.

      1. Pam Kueber says:

        I will add this note as readers are starting to add “email me” comments: Please, dear readers, not buying or selling in these comment threads, or it becomes chaos. I’ll consider doing a story if/when Eva lists them.

  2. Lee Lott says:

    Oh well, always late. I saw the article and got so excited. Then I saw the date. I was gonna call and see if you had some left.and jump in my van and be on my way.

  3. Hannah Swysgood says:

    Hello! I live in Austin and could not be more excited to come across this blog post. My grandmother had these panels in her living room sliding cupboards. I’ve come across these panels in vintage stores but sadly they were for display only. I’ve reached out via the email posted by Dustin, but haven’t recieved a response. I’m very interested in purchasing some of these panels for an upcoming bar renovation. Is there any other way to get ahold of the seller?
    Cheers!
    Hannah

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Not that I know of. This story was originally published in 2012…

      Hunt vintage, including on ebay and craigslist, I think those are your best bets. Good luck.

  4. Linda says:

    Pam,
    My husband just found one of these panels today in the rafters of one of the garages on the property we just purchased in AZ. It is a 4’x2′ panel like the one in picture 4, 5 and 12. It still has the original sticker on it. It is amazing! Now just to find the perfect project to incorporate it into!
    Thank you for this Blog so I have more of a clue as to it’s history. So far, I haven’t been able to find out anything else other than what you have written. The hunt is on…..

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