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Tiki Central Forums Collecting Tiki Need Help Identifying These Door Handles
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Need Help Identifying These Door Handles
Sabu The Coconut Boy
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Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2793
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2005-09-07 1:02 pm   Permalink

This will be my main Savage Renewal post for the day because it requires some participation (I hope).

I found some Polynesian Restaurant door handles on eBay a few weeks ago. The auction was fairly well hidden because the word "tiki" wasn't used, and the photo was blurry. These factors worked in my favor. Here's the auction photo:


I took a chance and bid, but didn't meet the seller's Reserve price. Still, he was flexible with me and eventually sent me the handles for my bid of $56 plus the $27 shipping (these suckers were heavy).

The handles arrived on Friday and I was pleased with my purchase:



Each handle is bronze, about a foot long and weighs ten lbs. They have a wonderful patina, with the raised areas having been worn smooth from countless hands, and verdigris in the recessed areas. They obviously came from from some old Tiki Temple, but which one?

I've e-mailed the seller to see if he knows where they actually came from, (the seller lives in Florida). He might know, because he knew that they were custom made for a restaurant and not mass produced, but I still haven't heard back yet. In the meantime, I took them to Bob and LeRoy at Oceanic Arts. After they told me that I had got a good deal and kindly offered to take them off my hands, their immediate reaction (both of them) was that these looked like Steve Crane Kon Tiki Ports pieces, but they couldn't verify this - just a hunch. They showed me photos of one of the tikis they had carved for a Kon Tiki Ports restaurant and the tiki was definitely in this same form - the kneeling Maori tiki with hands on belly. They were not the suppliers of door handles at the time.

The Book of Tiki and my postcard collection are not much help. No closeups of the door handles on any of the restaurants. The BOT does show cylindrical door pulls like these for the Kona Kai restaurants, but without any detail. The Kona Kai also used a Maori Tiki logo. To make matters worse, so did other restaurants, like Sam's Seafood - as can be seen in the pics below from the menu and postcard:




Can anyone add any insights as to where these handles might have really come from? I'd love to identify them definitively.

Sabu
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tikifish
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2720
From: Toronto,Canada
Posted: 2005-09-07 1:05 pm   Permalink

Incredible! Are you going to install those at your home? I am so jealous.

 
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Humuhumu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3623
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2005-09-07 1:09 pm   Permalink

The Traders Restaurant, in Daytona Beach!



I took that photo in January 2004.

Here's the photo with some others, on Critiki:

http://www.critiki.com/cgi-bin/pictures.cgi?loc_id=425

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Humuhumu
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Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3623
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2005-09-07 1:12 pm   Permalink

So... if these doorhandles are those *exact* door handles (can't be sure, I suppose, without really scrutinizing them against that pic), does that mean those big Witco pieces out front are gone, too? The Traders Restaurant is attached to the Aku Tiki Inn, which most will remember from having that big moai that got destroyed in last year's hurricanes. I know they'd said they intended to replace the moai, and that Wayne Coombs offered his assistance, but I don't recall if that happened. It would be odd for them to be restoring the tiki on one end and removing it on the other.

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Humuhumu
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Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3623
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2005-09-07 1:17 pm   Permalink

Oh, and ... awesome score!


 
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Humuhumu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3623
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2005-09-07 1:19 pm   Permalink

Srutinizing has been completed! You'll notice that the left pull has a nick on the right side of its chin in both Sabu's photo and mine. Unless it's a flaw in the cast (doubt it, it looks more like after-cast damage to me), the Trader's got some 'splainin' to do!

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Unga Bunga
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Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5822
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2005-09-07 1:20 pm   Permalink

Great Sherlock work Humu!

 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2793
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2005-09-07 1:36 pm   Permalink

Wow HumuHumu. Talk about your quick service!

Those would seem to be an exact match, yes. And the return address on my package is Daytona FL. It looks like you have found my doorhandles. Now the thorny part.

I'm comissioning someone in Florida to visit the Aku Tiki on my behalf. If the owner actually replaced both the doors and the handles because they were damaged during the hurricane, then that's one thing. But if the door handles were stolen and the owners want them back, then that's another.

If the handles were in fact stolen. Then I'd be glad to return them to the restaurant if they can guarantee that they would be re-installed on the doors.

Does anyone near Daytona want to take on the responsibility of finding out what really happened to these door handles?

Sabu

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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5062
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2005-09-07 1:39 pm   Permalink

Since they are both the same, the mold is the same and it can't account for the flaw on the chin or they woul dboth be that way.

I didn't know about the Traders when I went down to Daytona. I went to the Aku Tiki and looked at the lobby. I had no idea there was anything beyond the entrance to see.
The Witco outside was there in January.
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Humuhumu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3623
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2005-09-07 1:41 pm   Permalink

I was in Daytona Beach again this past January, post-hurricane, and while there was damage to be seen in the area, I would be surprised if those doors had sustained any damage. I don't specifically recall if the handles were still there on my most recent visit.

The restaurant/bar inside had been remodeled, and didn't look particularly tiki -- I think it's more likely that they were doing another remodel on the restaurant, and this time the little bit of tiki that was left didn't make the cut. Perhaps the restaurant is under new ownership, and will have a new name?

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tikijackalope
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 23, 2003
Posts: 823
From: KS/MO
Posted: 2005-09-07 4:05 pm   Permalink

I shot this composite pic of door hardware at Bali Hai in San Diego last year:

...very similar to yours.
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2793
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2005-09-07 4:19 pm   Permalink

Awesome, Jackalope - Thanks for the pics.

So now we know that even though I've definitely got the handles from the Trader's in Daytona Beach, these handles were mass-produced to some extent and were used by various Tiki Restaurants. It would be interesting to track down the manufacturer as well. Anyone got any catalogs?

Your pics also make the argument that these are brass instead of bronze. Mine indeed may be very tarnished brass now that I study them closer.

Sabu


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[ This Message was edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2005-09-07 16:24 ]


 
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Fez Ape
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 13, 2005
Posts: 104
Posted: 2005-09-07 4:25 pm   Permalink

Quote:

Humuhumu stated:
"Oh, and ... awesome score!"




Totally AGREE!


 
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Humuhumu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3623
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2005-09-07 4:28 pm   Permalink

This may be a longshot, but... the reason there's so much Witco 'round those parts is that William Westenhaver stayed in Daytona Beach for quite a while as he worked on the Hawaiian Inn, which is nearly nextdoor the to Aku Tiki/Traders. While working on the Hawaiian Inn, he also sold Witco to other places up & down the coast. There's not any reason to think that he has a connection to these doorhandles, but, he might know the names of some of the other suppliers the Daytona Beach places were using at that time.

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Kailuageoff
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 27, 2002
Posts: 1504
From: Honolulu Lounge,Lewes, DE
Posted: 2005-09-07 4:33 pm   Permalink

Neptunetiki called to tell me about this post since I spend a fair amount of time in Daytona. Sorry I don't know the answer for certain, but here is my theory:

The handles were/are on two sets of doors. The doors to the outside parking lot and the inside doors that open onto the bridge over the Koi pond. Sven told me the handles probably came from Oceanic Arts. We guess they were installed when the hotel was built in the early 70's.

I don't think the owner would have sold those handles.
She is the daughter of the guy who built the Hawaiian Inn and the Aku Tiki Inn and has a love for the tiki motiff of both properties. For example, she is the person responsible for restoring the big Moai at the Aku Tiki Inn that was damaged in one of the hurricanes last year.

It is true they did work on the hotel after the hurricanes, but I think refreshing is probably a better term than redecorating. I know of several people who have asked if they wanted to sell their Witco and the management said "no".

Anyway, it could be that someone stole the handles off one set of the doors to sell them on e-bay. It seems to me, however, that anyone taking the trouble to steal them would have known they were valuable as tiki objects and listed them as such.

For these reasons, I think they may simply be a set of handles from some other Florida tiki establishment. All this is just a semi-educated guess, but I'll try to check it out and let everyone know (unless someone else finds out first and posts the answer).
KG

[ This Message was edited by: Kailuageoff 2005-09-07 16:37 ]


 
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