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Treasure Hunting Report: A FAB New Collection

My newest (still modest) collection happened accidentally.  See this tray?

It’s a FAB Originals tray.   FAB trays were manufactured in the 1970s using “carefully chosen decorator’s fabric” (so says the label), sealed in a clear polyester composition. 

The surfaces are mark proof, stain and alcohol resistant – durable, but not unbreakable.  Best of all, they were handcrafted in Barrie, Ontario by Hardy – Glenwood Products, with very little mechanization in the production.  I have read that they were produced in the 1960s but other sources say 1970s.  This quite detailed history of the company
indicates 1970s.  Apparently they stopped production during the oil crisis in the
mid 1970s because the resin became too expensive to produce.  With bold, retro fabrics trapped under a clear surface, they seem like little time capsules to me. 

I found the one above on a dusty shelf at a thrift shop, during my recent visit to my hometown.  Some of the FAB trays are a touch . . . tacky, but I thought this one was quite pretty and on-trend.  I photographed it, researched it, but dawdled when it came to listing it in the shop.  Then I saw these photos of a FAB collection on SF Girl By Bay:

I started to have that creepy, antsy “I want it, I want it” feeling.  The next day, I found this at a Value Village in town, and I may or may not have dove for it:

I was so giddy to find a second FAB tray and was officially, embarrassingly, overcome with greed.  With a Gollum face, I scooped the first tray from the etsy pile (which actually meant asking Mom to send it from Thunder Bay).  They are officially mine and I want more.  Although there are some designs I might pass on, I think this will make for a cheery collection!




Caren, the gal behind the ambitious collection above, says that at the height of production, Canadians were churning out 1000 of these per day, for domestic sale and export to the US.  Here’s hoping that means I can grow my collection easily (and inexpensively!).  I’m still so surprised that the colours and patterns of my two trays grabbed me because, to be honest, they don’t really jive with the townhouse, but there’s just something inexplicable about them that makes makes me smile a goofy grin when I see them.  What is it??  In any case, I think the retro fabrics will look perfect with my 1960s fashion posters from Hungary.  It’s fun to throw a little something unexpected into the mix sometimes.

Is there anything that you collect or love that just completely surprises you?



  1. Melissa Dalgleish
    March 14, 2013 / 12:42 pm

    Those are completely adorable! I'm so attracted collections like that–I love the idea of gathering enough to have a really varied but coordinated composition. Good find! Are you headed to Congress this year? Victoria has the largest, and to my mind the best, Value Village in Canada–I betcha you'd find some of these there. If you aren't, I'll keep my eyes open for you.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 15, 2013 / 3:13 pm

      I also like how they're similar bur so different – they seemed to really go to town picking fabrics for them.I am headed to Congress this year! Thanks for the tip about Victoria's Value Village – I will be sure to leave a lot of room in my suitcase 😀

  2. Christine L
    March 14, 2013 / 2:16 pm

    Love these trays so much! So pretty! Love that they are from Barrie too. Will have to keep my eye out to start my own collection…

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 15, 2013 / 3:14 pm

      I am always so excited by anything made in Canada! I hope you're able to find some, I'd love to see photos if you do 🙂

  3. Jazmyn Strydom
    March 14, 2013 / 2:35 pm

    These are awesome! Perhaps you should find a way to do this yourself…hmm..

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 15, 2013 / 3:15 pm

      It's likely totally doable with the resins available at craft stores, but will probably cost a ton (isn't resin expensive?). But that's a great idea – I might have to give it a go!

  4. Dora
    March 14, 2013 / 11:22 pm

    I love the way they look on the wall. So cool 🙂

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 15, 2013 / 3:15 pm

      Isn't that collection of the wall fabulous?? On the wall their ruffled edge really pops, too.

  5. Staci @ My Friend Staci
    March 15, 2013 / 7:21 am

    Love, love, love, love! What a fantastic and interesting new collection! Can't wait to see what other pieces you come up with.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 15, 2013 / 3:16 pm

      I hope this isn't one of those things where I find two and then that's it!! I found them within weeks of one another, so it gave me hope. I'll keep everyone posted.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 15, 2013 / 3:16 pm

      Ooo, I'll have to check them out!

  6. Evelyn
    March 15, 2013 / 7:31 pm

    More FAB

  7. brikhouse2
    December 8, 2013 / 6:49 am

    I guess a collection that I have that surprises me would be tiny rubber duckies. lol. I just happen to come across one while on vacation in Vegas and just love em. They have themes though…devil duck (with horns), lucky duck (with 4 leaf clovers), etc etc. I only have 4 or 5 but I love them…..I would really love to find a printers drawer to display them on the wall and really get into finding more.

  8. Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
    December 8, 2013 / 6:09 pm

    That is such an unusual collection!! I imagine they look quite stunning together. Good luck on the quest to find more 🙂

  9. Eva Annable
    September 18, 2016 / 10:46 pm

    I have one it is a deep green mottled flower pattern, label on the back very worn but is the same label shown here, plate number is 481 perfect condition, surprised that company no longer exists. it makes a lovely tray, so glad I checked out this site, Eva Annable Grimsby On [email protected]

  10. RoscoeToscobble
    March 26, 2017 / 11:21 pm

    I have one. Hardy-Glenwood fab tray, Houses of Parliament, Ottawa, Ont. Circa 67 collection5-71. I would sell it.

  11. Dianne Dempsey
    April 30, 2018 / 1:57 am

    I worked at Hardy Glenwood Products in 1967 to the early 70’s and made these trays in Barrie, Ontario, bought many and gave them as gifts to family members years back. I had several myself but unfortunately had a house fire and lost the ones I had back then, however I was so thrilled to find one once more at a garage sale a few years back which I purchased to have as a keep sake. We had an artist who came up with the idea to Bud Thomas and Ron Hardy that owned the Business, his name was Lester Bertch from the Keswick area. Lester would actually come in with some hand drawn trays that were beautiful, he gave me one back then that I lost in our house fire, it was absolutely gorgeous, He made others that were sold in the shop in Barrie back then, those one would be really rare to find. We had to be very careful when making these trays with the polyester resins that we used, it was a very slow drip process as it to prevent pot holes but had to be fast enough so that the resin did not harden before it filled the iron ring on the fabric. Once the clear coat when on we did a white one on top. Once harden we would cut out the pieces and it would go to a hot water tank to soften and then go in a mold to shape. The trays were all hand made, was a very interesting procedure.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      May 2, 2018 / 9:10 pm

      It is so much fun to hear from someone who worked there! I loved reading your comment. I’m so happy to hear you rebuilt your collection. I was so sorry to hear about your house fire. If I hadn’t sold my collection on Etsy since posting this, I would have happily sent it to you. Learning more about the process makes them even cooler. I ended up selling mine because I moved to a smaller house and have had to let go of a lot of things. Thanks again for sharing, this was fascinating for me!

  12. Janet Tigchelaar. Ancaster, Ontario
    June 11, 2018 / 10:24 am

    I have the set of 3 sizes in autumn coloured flowers. All in excellent condition. I am cleaning up the cottage and was going to put them on kijiji. Is $50 a reasonable asking price. I’ve had them for years and don’t think l’ve ever used them. Thanks.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      June 19, 2018 / 6:23 pm

      To be honest, $50 is probably a little high. I sold my entire collection on etsy (9 plates) for $48. Granted, that was USD, but I did have a lot of blues which typically sell better than oranges and reds. I had tried selling them individually for $10 with no luck. But then, it never hurts to try! You could try and see but be open to offers. You can always re-list for a lower price. Good luck!! I hope you sell them and I hope you get a great price.

  13. Linda
    June 21, 2021 / 8:59 pm

    I still have my “Fav” product tray from 1972! It’s still in great condition too! I’ve always loved it! So unique I’ve never seen another one like it! The colours are pink, reds, green, blue. #471

    • June 22, 2021 / 11:15 am

      That’s so neat!! There were so many patterns and designs – I love that they did so many!

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