Ashtray from the Queen Elizabeth liner

Contributed by James McDonald

Ashtray from the Queen Elizabeth liner

This object was given to an apprentice at a furniture makers called Rackstraw, in Worcester, in the early 1940s.
The company was commissioned to make writing desks for the Queen Elizabeth liner. THe ashtray was designed as an integral part of the desk. The furniture and fittings had to be heavy so they wouldn't move around in stormy seas.
This particular ashtray was deemed 'surplus to requirements' and given away. It has a hairline mark (a crack?) running through the inside of the bowl which might be another reason that it wasn't used.
It is made of glass and has a name (Parker?) embossed on the base.
The ashtray represents an era of luxury travel by ship, and shows the quality and care with which the ships were fitted out.
The Queen Elizabeth caught fire in the 1970s and now lies at the bottom of Hong Kong harbour. This is likely to be one of only a few artefacts that remain from the ship.

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  • 1. At 20:39 on 11 October 2012

    Failed moderation

  • 2. At 15:31 on 12 October 2012, David wrote:

    These ashtrays were made by Chance Brothers in Smethwick, nr. Birmingham, and are described fully in the book I wrote, 'Chance Expressions': see
    However, they are not that uncommon and were made in various guises.
    I would be interested to know more about the ashtray being used on the Queen Elizabeth liner as it will help with my research into a follow-up book, 'Chance Additions'.

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