Novelty Office Manila Folder Placemat?
June 12, 2009 5:22 PM   Subscribe

Help me find an obscure novelty item!

I have a placemat for eating lunch at my desk that folds up like a manila folder. When I open it up, there is a plate, silverware, a flower, etc. drawn on the folder to simulate a fancy place setting at a restaurant. The file tab says "Lunch-In Mat" and the product itself is described in this patent

I have no memory of where I got the placemat . . . and my Googlefu and Amazonfu have failed me . . I need to buy more of these as gifts for all of my friends who are about to graduate from law school.

PS - I've been lurking for years, but this is my first question :) Yay!
posted by BadgerKyle to Shopping (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"WHEN he was an accountant, Budd Goldman said, eating at his desk meant spreading out his sandwich on a brown paper bag. So he was receptive when Michelle Horwitz, a designer, came up with a more stylish way to lunch at work: on a series of laminated mats called Lunch-In Mats. Mr. Goldman's company, Banning Enterprises in Bellmore, L.I., manufactures them. They are 9 by 11 3/4 inches, and one suggests lunch at a fancy resaurant, with its roses, gleaming flatware and cloth napkin in a silver holder. The mats, $4.99, are at Plastic Works, 1407 Third Avenue (80th Street) and 2107 Broadway (74th Street)."
posted by Houstonian at 5:59 PM on June 12, 2009

(That's the same designer listed on the patent.)
posted by Houstonian at 6:01 PM on June 12, 2009

Response by poster: EDIT - Thanks Houstonian . . . I read that same article, but there is no more Plastic Works store. I can't find Michelle Horwitz anywhere online (at least one who is a designer or product engineer) . . . and Budd Goldman is no longer with Banning Enterprises (now in Yonkers, NY) and when I contacted the company, they no longer produce it and haven't for a while!

So I guess I need a store that happened to have purchased a large stock of them in the past . . . or a similar item now. It definitely does not have to be the same one!

Thanks :)
posted by BadgerKyle at 6:10 PM on June 12, 2009

Just to be sure, does it look like the drawings here? (Could not see drawings from your link.)
posted by Houstonian at 6:22 PM on June 12, 2009

Response by poster: Houstonian -
That's it! You've got way better googlefu than me :)

Now do you know where I can find it?
posted by BadgerKyle at 6:27 PM on June 12, 2009

Best answer: I have no idea! At first, I tried to look up the law firm that handled the patent. They do patents, but I can't find them. Another thought I had (and tried) is to look her up at pipl. She's listed, still in Forest Hills, NY. That doesn't link to the results, because maybe it's against the rules here... but enter her name and location. You can see her telephone number.

Maybe it's creepy, but honestly she'd probably be thrilled that someone tried to find her product after all these years. I recommend calling her!
posted by Houstonian at 6:35 PM on June 12, 2009

If contacting the designer doesn't work, this looks like a job for Etsy Alchemy.
posted by aint broke at 8:16 PM on June 12, 2009

She has a patent on the idea, so I don't think Etsy Alchemy can just take the drawings and description and whip up a new one. But, our poster would know for sure...
posted by Houstonian at 2:23 AM on June 13, 2009

Best answer: The patent has expired as it was filed on Dec 24th, 1987.

This would be dead easy to roll your own. All you need is the art work which you could create yourself with a plate setting, accessories and a camera. A little work in photoshop to create the shape you need. Then get the artwork printed on both sides of heavy card stock with a colour laser. Cut the printed pages out to the folder shape. Have a printer laminate the artwork. I've seen something similar done for restaurant menus.

The cost will probably be a bit more than $5 if you only do a few. But you could personalize them this way with each recipient's name.
posted by Mitheral at 9:40 AM on June 13, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks guys! I'll try contacting her first, simply because I'd like to give her the credit (and the original design is so cheesy and 80s that I would never be able to replicate it properly!) . . . But then I'll probably make them on my own if we can't get them through her.

Thanks again!
posted by BadgerKyle at 8:27 AM on June 15, 2009

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