Friday, July 15, 2011

Astrolite Products | Ritts Co., L.A. | Various designers | ca. 1970s

Astrolite label

Astrolite is a trademark registered to Herbert Ritts, Inc. of Los Angeles, California.  The trademark trail for Ritts begins with the first use and use in commerce of “Astrolite” on June 2, 1969 for “Furniture-namely tables, chairs and sofas.”  The Astrolite name refers to items made of or featuring in large part high quality acrylic.

Shirley Ritts, born October 28, 1920, was an American interior designer. She married Herb Ritts, Sr. in 1950, a businessman who owned a furniture company at the time.  Their company popularized rattan furniture in the United States during the 50s and 60s.  Later, the company introduced a line of high end acrylics.

Shirley and Herb Ritts, Sr. divorced in the late 70s.  She never remarried and died February 24, 2008 .  They had four children. Herbert “Herb” Ritts (August 13, 1952 – December 26, 2002) was an American fashion photographer who concentrated on black-and-white photography and portraits in the style of classical Greek sculpture.

Astrolite labelAstrolite label on an acrylic sculpture.

While many objects from the 60s and 70s are in the style of the Ritts Company’s Astrolite, they can sometimes be hard to identify as there is no signature or mark in the plastic itself.  The signature is typically a small foil sticker that indicating “Astrolite / Products / Ritts Co. L.A.” Future posts will showcase some of the spectacular items made under the Astrolite name.

Astrolite Trademark

Soon after, the Astrolite  trademark was extended to other classes, where first use was on May 21, 1970, in commerce on June 2, 1970.

Statuary, figurines and sculptures
Plastic bowls
Candle holders
Paperweights and pen holders
Book ends

Astrolite Trademark
Astrolite Trademark
Astrolite Trademark
Astrolite Trademark


“Passings: Shirley Ritts, Designer, mother of Herb Ritts”. Los Angeles Times. 2008-03-01. http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-passings1mar01,1,3910608.story. Retrieved 2008-03-07 (dead link)

Herb Ritts, Retrieved July 12, 2011 from http://www.facebook.com/pages/Herb-Ritts/105671886133966

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