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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki Are tiki torches the best surving symbol of tiki (next to tikis themselves)?
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Are tiki torches the best surving symbol of tiki (next to tikis themselves)?
christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3818
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2006-03-20 12:14 am   Permalink

May be the hula, but now the hula seems to be more of a marketing tool for tourism and, to a lesser extent, as well as a way of nuturing the Hawaiian heritage in halaus both in the Islands as well as here on the mainland.

However, tiki torches appear to be a direct link.

Fire torches were historically associated with the Goddess Pele and were considered to be a symbol of fertilization. (Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology, pg. 41)

The fertilization symbolism nicely fits into the tiki as the first man and/or phallic symbol.

In Michner's Hawaii, Abner Hale is "drawn like a fish towards the torches," where a ceremony where the fertility ceremony, presided over by the Kane tiki statute, is underway.



Tiki torches were an integral part of tiki design, along wihth the A-frame, and at some on-going tiki bars, like Drift, or hotels, like Humphrey's Half Moon bay, remain an important part of the entrance.

The phrase "tiki" is now most commonly affiliated with tiki torches, far more than the reference to the tiki (or moai) symbol. The phrase tiki torch may even be more widely known by lay people than tiki cocktails, tiki mugs or tiki bars, although happily that is changing.



 
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Tikiwmn
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Oct 26, 2005
Posts: 27
From: SoCal
Posted: 2006-03-20 10:40 am   Permalink

I agree about the Tiki torches, but I've been noticing tiki-style items hitting the mainstream. Not only the outdoor tiki/luau stuff, like at Biglots, but yesterday I saw dishes, bowls, salt & pepper shakers, etc.with tikis on them at Bed, Bath & Beyond. (I had to get a couple of things, couldn't help myself.)And let's not forget Party Supply stores, where a lot of us got our Tiki start. So what does this mean to people who aren't into Tiki? Is it a good thing?

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11193
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2006-03-20 10:53 am   Permalink

Tiki Torches were the only product through which the term "Tiki" survived the period of Tiki devolution in the 80s, and 90s.

 
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mrsmiley
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3172
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2006-03-20 1:47 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-03-20 10:53, bigbrotiki wrote:
Tiki Torches were the only product through which the term "Tiki" survived the period of Tiki devolution in the 80s, and 90s.


The ironic part of this statement is that the Tiki Torch company has changed hands multiple times ( as best as I can tell) during this time through cuurent times. The name and product survived, though.


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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3818
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2006-03-20 5:58 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-03-20 10:40, Tikiwmn wrote:
yesterday I saw dishes, bowls, salt & pepper shakers, etc.with tikis on them at Bed, Bath & Beyond. (I had to get a couple of things, couldn't help myself.)



Aloha, Tikiwmn,

Which Bed,Bath&Beyond? Also, could you provide a reference # for online browsing. Mahalo.


 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3818
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2006-03-20 6:00 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-03-20 10:40, Tikiwmn wrote:

So what does this mean to people who aren't into Tiki? Is it a good thing?



Many responses on this same issue: "Should tiki remain underground or become mainstream?"

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=12729&forum=1


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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3818
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2006-03-20 6:01 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-03-20 10:53, bigbrotiki wrote:
Tiki Torches were the only product through which the term "Tiki" survived the period of Tiki devolution in the 80s, and 90s.




Thank Ku!


 
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Geeky Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 15, 2002
Posts: 533
From: Las vegas
Posted: 2006-03-20 7:11 pm   Permalink

Great topic!

I agree about the seminal Tiki-ness of torches.

One of the 11 Pillars of Tiki is illumination by open flame.

May it ever be thus.


 
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tikiracer
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 09, 2005
Posts: 462
From: UK
Posted: 2006-03-20 11:12 pm   Permalink

I could help but have an animated torch for my website logo.

http://www.tikiracer.com

I can watch fire for hours...


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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2793
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2006-03-21 11:57 am   Permalink

My favorite shape of tiki torches:







Sabu
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TorchGuy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 24, 2008
Posts: 209
From: Renton, WA
Posted: 2008-04-25 02:02 am   Permalink

I found this great forum while web searching about a year ago. I've been lurking for a while, but seeing this made me join up - I had to comment on this!

I'm a collector of many things, most unrelated to Tiki, but I do collect vintage torches. The photos above are of the great classic Durant-Irvine torches, the original Hawai'ian torches. These things are well-made and really pretty. They came in black, forest green, brass or polished copper, and there were goth natural gas and kerosene versions. The only place I've been ion Hawai'i is the Big Island, but these are everywhere in Kona, and a few are scattered around Hilo if you know where to look. Most of these are newer replicas, all of them weathered to a nice verdigris from all that tropical air, and all I've seen there are gas-fueled. Go poking around in the deeper reaches of the shopping center housing the Kona Inn and you'll find some really battered ones. They're also sold in twos and threes mounted on bases with a bottled gas container. The original Durant-Irvine torches were sold as Hawai'ian Luau Torches. Sadly, I don't yet own any of these, though I have my eye on one or two owned by some locals (who, knowing these guys, will put an impossibly high price on them).

"Tiki Torch" was a brand name, made by the Tiki Torch Corp. of Torrance, CA. Over the years, they produced a number of models and sizes. Their "basic" style was an inverted cone, wider at the top, with a shallow, conical lid which twist-locks into place and a raised central section holding the wick - all Tiki brand torches burn kerosene or torch fluid, they didn't do gas torches as far as I know. The Tiki model was one-quart, the Tonga was two-quart, and there were one or two other models. These came in copper (with copper poles) brass or black (with black poles). Poles came in multiple sections, made of metal. They have cylindrical black snuffer/rain caps, hung on short chains attached to the top surface of the lid. I believe they may have made enamel colors at one time, too. Tongas were sold in two-packs, both in closed boxes and open-front display boxes - Tikis were sold in singles or pairs. By the 80s, only the brass and black Tiki model was available. In the late 90s, a pair cost around $30. In the early days, Tiki also made Owl Lites: little black-finished aluminum owls, with a wick on top and six different facial expressions. These stood on a table, but ground stakes and tree or eave hooks were available. Their promo literature from the 60s also lists a small, tabletop carved wood tiki, noted as being the "Polynesian god Tiki Iti". Real Tiki Torch brand fuel was available, a petroleum-based liquid that smells like poison, and with its chartreuse color, looks just as deadly. I have a full (old) can, and once tried to follow its alternate-use directions and start my barbecue with it. The food cooked over said fire was inedible! The can boasts that it chases mosquitos, is windproof, and odorlessly and tastelessly starts barbecue charcoal. It does NOT claim to be smokeless, and the thick plumes of black, greasy smoke (like burning diesel) that it produces might just be what chases mosquitos. It would chase just about anyone.

Incidentally, as much as they're fine as inexpensive outdoor torches, I consider the bamboo torches now sold under the Tiki Torch name to be an insult to real metal Tiki Torches. I'm also not a fan of the many, many outdoor liquid-fuel torches-on-poles in contemporary designs sold now, though I don't hate them by any means - they're simply not the old-fashioned style I prefer for my own use.

Another style had a domed bottom with a "lip" at the top edge and a shallow conical top with chain and snuffer like a Tiki Torch. Tiki made a model shaped like this, but I can't remember the model name. Most of these were made in bare spun aluminum like Tiki brand, but unfinished silver. I've seen a few in chrome (marked White House, Raphael Weill & Co, SF, CA and stamped JAPAN) and others sold as Tahiti Torches by Belco Lites Corp. of New Jersey and as Luau Garden Torches and Tropic Torches (identical) by Patio Corp. These have black metal poles, except the White House torches which have eight-section black wood poles with screw-together aluminum band joints. I've also seen these in a harvest gold yellow enamel finish, with black poles and snuffers and silver top caps.

For the sake of completeness, I'll also mention the large, high-quality copper Tikiliter and scaled-down but otherwise identical Savanna, copper Durant-Irvine-shaped liquid-fuel torches made by Nightscaping, Inc. These incorporate a twelve-volt downlight hidden under the conical body. Expensive, but with Nightscaping you get exactly what you pay for.

I won't claim to be an expert on Tiki torches, I'm just a collector with a bit of information I like sharing. If anyone has any vintage Tiki, Tonga, Tropic, Durant-Irvine or other liquid-fuel torches they'd be willing to sell, let me know. Starting this June, I'll be back into buying, and I'll be seeking out any complete torches, with or without poles, as well as replacement Tiki brand wicks. I also have photos of some of these, including shots of some Durant-Irvine liquid-fuel torches and a few close-ups of gas-fueled ones in Kona, if anyone has any use of them, though I'm not sure they're much to look at for a non-collector.

My sig is from a Tiki Torch catalog I used to have. Oh... as for the torches shown below... I don't own these yellow enameled beauties. I really wish I did.


 
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TabooDan
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 18, 2004
Posts: 641
From: BC, Canada
Posted: 2008-04-25 09:25 am   Permalink

Hey Torchman, Thanks for the info!! If you tried to post pictures of that catalog they did not come out. Got me interested now so please get them on here so we can check them out!!

I was at Home Depot here the other day and their new Tiki Torches are in stock and guess what......they are no longer called Tiki Torches as they have been. They are now called Garden Torches right on the box. Kind of sucks as the box has a cool retro look to it. Now I know that is exactly what they are but it was cool to see Tiki Torches on the boxes.


 
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ManFromT.I.K.I.
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jul 02, 2007
Posts: 76
Posted: 2008-04-25 09:39 am   Permalink

I was watching one of those HGTV type shows--this one where the expert helps the sellers do a home makeover to make it more appealing to buyers.

This one couple had a beautiful home. They took the expert out back to scope out the yard, where there were several Tiki torches. He said, "those Tiki torches are going to have to go! You are after all trying to project an upscale image".

Tiki torches! There goes the neighborhood . . .


 
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tikiyaki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 18, 2004
Posts: 2710
From: The Exotic Port of REDONDO BEACH, CA
Posted: 2008-04-25 09:48 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-04-25 09:39, ManFromT.I.K.I. wrote:
I was watching one of those HGTV type shows--this one where the expert helps the sellers do a home makeover to make it more appealing to buyers.

This one couple had a beautiful home. They took the expert out back to scope out the yard, where there were several Tiki torches. He said, "those Tiki torches are going to have to go! You are after all trying to project an upscale image".

Tiki torches! There goes the neighborhood . . .



GRRRRR....There's that frikken word again..."upscale"....the downfall of modern culture if you ask me.....the idea that everyone has to project an image of being as rich as Paris Hilton....even tho' they're leveraged to the nines and have $3 in the bank.....I guess they should put $2000 rims on their Hummer (that they also can't afford) too. SICK !

TIKI TORCHES...LIVE ON !



 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11193
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-04-25 12:39 pm   Permalink

Torchguy, thank you for your informative post! We here at TC never judge collectors' obsessions, because we know that we ourselves might be judged by outsiders in this way:


You probably are talking about this item when you mention using the fuel for your B.B.Q.:




Did you know the John Charles Company also manufactured the Tiki-Bachi shown on the canister:

You can find this page in my "Book of Tiki", or also (both images) in its smaller, more affordable version called "Tiki Style"

Here is a display of both of the TIKI and TONGA models you mentioned:


The owls and the Tiki sound interesting, did you know about the TIKI FIRE FISH:



There were other manufacturers, too, like this example:



And for the Tiki collector, Tiki face torches are the pinnacle of the genre:



There was a concrete cast Tiki Head torch, too, but I cannot find the image right now. And of course, THE image to get the Tiki Torch collector all excited must be this ad:



I have no idea what market this was supposed to be published for, but I am not complaining! You can find this image in my new book "Tiki Modern", together with this page:


Having been a lurker here, you probably have seen these two threads already, but just in case:

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=28097&forum=1

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=20797&forum=1

It is really easy to upload images on this site, I would love to see some scans of your paper ephemera, visuals really tell the story best.


[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-04-25 12:44 ]


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