Press Release:
Robert Welch re-issues iconic Campden toast rack to mark the design’s 60th anniversary

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Campden stainless steel toast rack by Robert Welch, 1956 (© Robert Welch)

Campden stainless steel toast rack by Robert Welch, 1956 (© Robert Welch)

In celebration of its unrivalled design legacy and British heritage, Robert Welch Designs has reproduced the iconic Campden toast rack – originally designed by Robert Welch for Old Hall in 1956 – to mark the product’s 60th anniversary. Made by skilled craftsmen in Sheffield using local stainless steel, the re-issued toast rack is numbered and produced as a limited edition (only 600 available, RRP £40), completed with a replicate of its original packaging.

Robert Welch played an important role in revolutionising the materials and manufacture of the 1950s. He was the pioneer of stainless steel in everyday objects, and his innovative use of the material for the Campden toast rack helped establish Old Hall as a modern and leading brand of hollowware goods.

The Campden toast rack was Robert’s very first award-winning product, and has the enduring qualities of a contemporary and functional design. Symbolic of the design innovation of the 1950s, the much-loved toast rack – inspired by Robert’s sensitivity for form and function – is aesthetically simple in its unadorned shape and clean lines. The Campden range was an early success because, rather than designing silverware made in stainless steel, Robert Welch had the ingenuity to create objects which appeared as they were – an approach that was seen as new and modern for that era.

Publicity photograph showing the full Campden range, 1950s (© Robert Welch)

Publicity photograph showing the full Campden range, 1950s (© Robert Welch)

Robert Welch’s original sketches of the Campden toast rack (© Robert Welch)

Robert Welch’s original sketches of the Campden toast rack (© Robert Welch)

As the original leaflet boxed with the toast rack noted – “Old Hall Tableware can last a lifetime. All it asks for is a little care”, and even after decades of use, the toast rack often appeared untouched proving its durability and timeless appeal – a true testament to both the high quality of the design and craftsmanship.

Despite being part of the all-encompassing Campden collection, the toast rack found its real success as a stand-alone design. The prototype was exhibited at Robert’s first solo exhibition held at Foyle’s Art Gallery in 1956, along with his other early designs for Old Hall, as well as student pieces and large silver commissions.

In 1957 the Campden toast rack won the conveted CoID (Council of Industrial Design) award, presented by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, a passionate patron of the arts. The toast rack was praised for its “elegant and ingenious construction” and noted as “a good step forward in an industry in which the imitating of older forms in other materials has been more common than original thinking”. In 1958, the toast rack was included in the council’s annual “Design of the Year” exhibition, and remained in manufacture – in both its four and six-slice options – until 1982.

Campden stainless steel toast rack by Robert Welch, 1956 (© Robert Welch)

Campden stainless steel toast rack by Robert Welch, 1956 (© Robert Welch)

Robert Welch explaining the Campden toast rack design to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, 1957 (© Robert Welch)

Robert Welch explaining the Campden toast rack design to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, 1957 (© Robert Welch)

The new edition of the Campden toast rack is retailed for £40 and available to buy online (robertwelch.com), or through selected stockists: Robert Welch’s shops in Chipping Campden and Bath, the Compton Verney shop in Warwickshire, and the newly opened Design Museum shop in London.

Campden stainless steel toast rack by Robert Welch with its original packaging, 1956 (© Robert Welch)

Campden stainless steel toast rack by Robert Welch with its original packaging, 1956 (© Robert Welch)

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For more information or imagery, please contact the Robert Welch team at Caro Communications:

Lizzie Colville, Senior Account Manager

Jeffrey Cheung, Account Director

E: lizzie@carocommunications.com / jeffrey@carocommunications.com

T: +44 (0) 20 7713 9388

W: www.carocommunications.com @carocomms