talks about
SYRACUSE ORNAMENTAL COMPANY, also known as SYROCO,  was founded in the late
1890's by an Austrian woodcarver named Adolph Holstein.  Initially the company produced
ornamental carvings for the interiors of fashionable homes, including the New York
Governor's mansion in Albany.  As demand increased, a molding technique was developed
where Syroco could create perfect replicas of their original carvings.  These molds also
featured a wood grain within the mold, allowing for a more detailed aesthetic.  The recipe of
wood flour, waxes, and resins combined with compression molding created an inexpensive,
but high quality product.  These early years of Syroco focused largely on furniture however.
As the 40's approached, demand for Syroco was waning with the new popularity of Danish Modern.  Novelty items
became a new venture for the company; focusing on house wares, barware, and items for the smoker, as well as other
offerings.  Syroco literature suggests that this was not a profitable time for Syroco, yet it allowed the company to
survive into the 1950's.

During the 1950's, Syroco started to change directions again.  And, while corkscrews still appear in their catalogs of
the time.  Highly stylized wall mirrors, sconces, and decorations became the company's focus.   This may seem like the
beginning of the end of corkscrew production  for Syroco.  And, of course, ultimately it was.  However, the fact that
many of the products produced during this time featured a gilt gold finish has started me wondering.  Was it during this
time that that much sought after Golden Knight was introduced?  Further, in early catalogs, Syroco references two
showrooms; one in New York and one in Chicago.  In the 1950 catalog, the company references a third showroom in
Los Angeles.   The Syroco sticker affixed to the bottom of the Golden Knight in my collection also references the three
showrooms.  Thus, we can assume the Golden Knight was produced post 1950, while many of the corkscrews date
back to 1940, and a few even prior to that.

The earliest reference I have been able to find for these pieces is in a Syroco catalog from 1935...pieces continue to
appear in catalogs in 1940, 1947, and 1950.  None of the catalogs that I have seen picture all the corkscrews that
Syroco made.  Labels that are affixed vary which, as previously mentioned, may offer some dating.  For example, early
waiter and codger pieces say SYROCO, while other pieces read SYROCOWOOD.  Other stickers have shown
SYROCO New York, SYROCO New York and Chicago, while others added Los Angeles to their name plate.  Other
variations also appear.  Often times the Clown Syroco corkscrew appears with a sticker which reads "KING."  This
clown, however, is pictured in a Syroco catalog.

As of late other syroco pieces have appeared.  The most interesting in my mind is called the Tramp.  I have seen two
examples of this piece, one in the possession of Jack Bandy.  The other owned by Fred O'Leary.  Fred found an old
Syroco catalog which featured a wood full bodied statue (not a corkscrew) with the same features as the one with the
corkscrew attached referenced as "Tramp," hence the name.
Pictures - From left to right: The Waiter, Stained Monk & Codger
A page from a Syroco catalogue showing some of the range.
Josef's wonderful Syroco collection
I'd love to add some more Syroco to my collection, drop me
a line if you have any.