This is a 14" vintage mid-century hammered aluminum tray with a high quality Micarta insert. This tray combines two innovative products: hammered aluminum from Buenilum Aluminum Company and Micarta laminate insert from Westinghouse.
The Buenilum Aluminum Company was founded as Buehner-Wanner by metalsmith and industrial designer Frederick Buehner and his business partner, Franz Wanner, in Norwalk, Conn. in 1944. After emigrating to the United States from Germany in 1929, Buehner developed a unique formula for using hammered aluminum, which he trademarked in 1933 as Buenilum, a mashup of Buehner and aluminum. The Buehner-Wanner company produced Buenilum pieces throughout the 1930s, '40s, '50s and '60s, making mid-century modern decorative, kitchenware and food service items such as serving trays, lazy Susans, relish dishes, bowls, pots and pans.
Micarta is a brand name for composites made of a wide variety of materials in a thermosetting plastic. It was originally used in electrical components, decorative household products and industrial applications. Micarta was developed by George Westinghouse at least as early as 1910 using phenolic resins invented by Leo Baekeland. These resins were used to impregnate paper and cotton fabric which were cured under pressure and high temperature to produce laminates. In addition to industrial applications Micarta laminates were used in household products such as tabletops, countertops, knife handles and handgun grips, guitar fingerboards, pool cues and other household items.