Some time ago, I was fortunate to buy an auction lot on eBay consisting of Lucite fruit. They were created by the famed Wilardy company and many are signed by Will Hardy himself. They currently reside as a centerpiece in a large Astrolite by Ritts, Inc. biomorphic bowl.
Wilardy Originals began in New York City as Handbag Specialties in 1946. The venture was a collaboration between father Charles William Hardy and son William Hammond Hardy. In 1953, the office and factory moved to Union City, New Jersey. Will Hardy took over the business in the 1960s and operations concluded in the early 1980s.
Wilardy Lucite purse. Image source: etsy.com.
While well known worldwide for designer handbags and purses, Wilardy also was responsible for a wide variety of other artistic items including lighting and bathroom fixtures, jewelry, tableware for the Grainware Company, and even clothing.
I contacted Will Hardy for some information about the fruit pieces and received the following reply:
These art pieces are most likely 30 - 40 years old, all fashioned by hand from solid blocks of optical quality lucite. They were often fashioned after actual pieces of fruit. Back then the grapes would sell for $50 retail and a lemon $40, banana $45.
The following are the pieces in my collection:
Wilardy History. Retrieved May 1, 2014 from http://wilardy.com/wilardy_history.html