Perkins Paste

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Perkins Paste was an Australian brand of adhesive. Although not designed specifically for children, its quick drying, non-toxic formula made it safe for school use. The glue was sold commonly in small, 60-gram, fuchsia-coloured, cylindrical plastic tubs with white plastic lids that incorporated the flat, spatula-like applicator. The paste was a thick white solid paste, made from boiled potato dextrin.

Company history[edit]

Perkins Paste was owned and started by Maurice Bertram Jeffery, a commercial artist who found himself unemployed during the Great Depression. Production began in 1934 at Albion Street, Surry Hills, New South Wales and ceased during the 1980s.It became a cultural icon, akin to Vegemite or the Tim Tam biscuit. Many users of the product recall eating Perkins Paste during their primary school years.[1]

A track called 'Perkins Paste' has been recorded by the band Bleeding Jelly Eyes.

Popular culture references[edit]

On 11 March 1993, Perkins Paste was mentioned in the NSW Legislative Assembly during debate on the 'State Environmental Planning Policy No. 3 - Castlereagh Liquid Waste Disposal Depot'. The then Member for Ermington implied that the then Member for Blacktown had rearranged information contained in Water Board memoranda: "out with the scissors, out with the Perkins Paste, and out with the truth".[2]

In 2003, Perkin's Paste was mentioned in a newspaper report concerning the youth creative arts festival 'Noise' in Melbourne. The digital revolution was likened to Perkins Paste as a form of creativity (of DIY, cutting and pasting) available to everyone.[3]

Travel writer Susan Kurosawa recalled, in a 2007 newspaper article, her mother's use of Perkins Paste:

I have a photograph of the young Susan, on board the old Arcadia in the late 1950s, en route from Southampton to Sydney, at an equator-crossing ceremony. I appear to be wearing a hula skirt and a discouragingly small bra made from two segments of a cut-up egg carton. Around my neck is a chain of coloured bath cubes. My hair is a mermaid's tangle of toilet-roll twists and I am holding an upside-down broom as a makeshift trident. I have a vague memory of the terror I felt when my mother set off to make this costume at an on-board creative arts class. What that woman couldn't do with a few rolls of crepe paper, a couple of decommissioned coat-hangers and a pot of Perkins Paste isn't even worth considering.[4]

A t-shirt showing the Perkins Paste label was previously available from REMO.