||Dating Vintage Mugs
Joined: Jun 15, 2004
|Posted: 2004-08-12 12:15 pm  Permalink|
Am pretty new to collecting Tiki mugs and was wondering if there was any place special to learn the ages of "vintage" tiki mugs. I have the Book of Tiki as well as Tiki Quest, but was wondering if there was anyplace to turn to find out when certain mugs were made. Dates or ages seem to be pretty vague or general. Any help would be appreciated. I can date beer advertising to a decade over the past century or so, but I have no idea how to tell a mug from the 50s to one from the 70s or 80s.
Thanks in advance!
Joined: Apr 09, 2002
|Posted: 2004-08-12 2:47 pm  Permalink|
On 2004-08-12 12:15, RIBEERGUY wrote:
I have no idea how to tell a mug from the 50s to one from the 70s or 80s.
For the most part, we seem to have the same problem. A few people in the know have left some comments on some of the mugs in my Tiki Gallery telling when they were made. But, for the most part, mugs were made and used at all different times at the restaurants. You can sometimes tell an older mug (50s and 60s) from a newer mug (70s and 80s) by how much detail there is- the molds lost detail as they were used. Also, anything with China on it is a newer mug, while anything with Japan (and/or crazing) is older.
I get emails all the time from people looking at my website and wondering what years a certain mug or bowl was used. Or, they want to know more about the Otagiri or Orchids company- and there just isn't that kind of information available to us. I think we'd have to be contacted by someone who worked in management at these companies to get any real information. And that hasn't happened yet.
Enjoy collecting though, not knowing any information about a mug can add to it's mystery and appeal.
"But why is the rum gone?!" -Capt. Jack Sparrow
Joined: Oct 23, 2003
|Posted: 2004-08-12 5:37 pm  Permalink|
You asked about vintage mugs; I've dated older women in the past and some have had *very* pretty faces.
Oh! "mugs" as in drinking vessels! I see; well, thats very different.
If you ever get an age test for Orchids of Hawaii mugs figured out, please let the rest of us know. I've been trying to figure out how to tell an OoH mug from ones made after Dynasty Wholesale bought most of their molds about ten years ago.
I can tell you from talking to U.S. mug distributers and long-time bar owners who ordered through the Orchids of Hawaii to Dynasty Wholesale transition that after that transition, many mugs were still imprinted with "Orchids of Hawaii" and even "Japan" decades after such mugs were made there. How long after that transition?...I can't find anyone who remembers. I haven't taken the next logical step of trying hard to talk with the owners of Dynasty or retired OoH management; even my irrational desire for minutia knows bounds.
From what I do know so far, I assume that either:
A. Dynasty didn't care about the info imprinted on the mugs/molds and didn't bother to change the molds till they had to. They are, after all, in the business of selling to practical business owners, not collectors. Perhaps they eventually changed because of mold deterioration or, perhaps, some US regulation about goods mislabelled as to country of origin.
B. When Dynasty purchased OoH, there was a significant warehouse stock of old mugs left and it took a few years for these to be exhausted.
The truth is probably a mix.
I used to assume that crazing was an indication of greater age but have learned that it can happen because of less-stringent manufacturing standards, storage and shipping conditions and can even be intentionally produced.
Even when OoH switched from Japan to Taiwan, there is only a general spectrum of quality decline. I've seen some "Japan" mugs that have poor detail and "Taiwan" mugs that are sharp and crisp. I assume that perhaps when many orders were coming in, quality might have slipped on a particular mold and it got used anyway so as not to slow production. Maybe when things slowed down or customers complained, a new mold got made from a master sculpt.
And speaking of master sculpts; there was more than one for some models. I've got two distinct surfer girls (different wave patterns) and two different R-1s (different nose detail).
Welcome to our world, Ribeerguy!
[ This Message was edited by: tikijackalope on 2004-08-12 21:14 ]
Joined: Jun 15, 2004
|Posted: 2004-08-12 8:16 pm  Permalink|
Thanks so much for the replies so far, every little bit helps.
Joined: Jul 24, 2003
From: McKinney, TX
|Posted: 2004-08-12 10:13 pm  Permalink|
Even when OoH switched from Japan to Taiwan, there is only a general spectrum of quality decline. I've seen some "Japan" mugs that have poor detail and "Taiwan" mugs that are sharp and crisp.
I once scored a couple of OoH R-7's made in Taiwan. Compared to the one I have made in Japan, their green color was horrendous. I ended up selling them on Ebay.
Joined: Oct 23, 2003
|Posted: 2004-08-12 10:35 pm  Permalink|
I once scored a couple of OoH R-7's made in Taiwan. Compared to the one I have made in Japan, their green color was horrendous.
I've had that happen with detail...the Japan ones are *usually* crisper. But I have also seen the reverse. I presume that *in general* the quality of the Japan ones is better, but if you could graph the degradation in quality, it wouldn't be an absolutely smooth downward line; it would spike and fall here and there, as molds wore down and were replaced. That would explain why a Taiwan mug from a new mold would look better than a Japan mug from a worn mold made a few years earlier.
You may have nailed the coloration differences; my Taiwan surfer girl lacks the subtlety of my Japan one.
Joined: Apr 29, 2004
|Posted: 2004-08-20 12:56 pm  Permalink|
Some designs of the latest batch of Dynasty mugs (bought from the Honululu restaurant web site, link below) have new, very crisp imprints of their Dynasty catalog number on the bottom. They are in the "to be used" rather than display only area at home so I will pull down some old Orchids o' HI mugs and compare overall crispness side by side.
Joined: Oct 01, 2003
From: Baltimore, Maryland, PNG
|Posted: 2004-09-08 12:58 pm  Permalink|
how about we all work out an informal timeline about the centers of production ~ ? i've always had a general mental picture, but we all collectively could refine it a fair amount.
prior to world war ii, were commercial drinking vessels for the north american market, i.e. "tiki mugs" made in japan? i kind of doubt it.
occupied Japan (1946-1952): i believe that decorative ceramics made in japan for export during this period typically were marked "occupied japan." but tiki bars were operating before 1952... does anyone have a mug marked that? that would be very interesting... i have a trader vic's fogcutter mug that looks easily 50 years old...
the following list is not necessarily a concise timeline, nor is it complete, nor is it necessarily sequential (i.e. all production instantly moves from one region to another) , but if you all could posit general dates - ? before/after ? etc.
"MADE IN JAPAN" 19xx to 19xx
o Orchids of Hawaii
o Trader Vic's / Made for Trader Vic's
o Jard Products
USA? 19 xx to 19xx
o Desert Ceramics, USA
o PP / Polynesian Pottery / Daga Hawaii
o Westwood ?
o Steve Crane and Associates ?
o Royal Haeger ?
"MADE IN TAIWAN"
o Daga Hawaii - Taiwan factory
o Bamboo of China
"MADE IN CHINA"
"MADE IN USA" 2000 to present day
o Tiki Farm started 9 September 2000! *cheers!*
"MADE IN MEXICO"
o a Bosko i have...
[ This Message was edited by: Johnny Dollar on 2004-09-10 06:53 ]
Joined: Mar 28, 2002
From: behind a cluttered desk
|Posted: 2004-09-09 11:55 pm  Permalink|
I especially dig this thread as I've been working on our timeline. Fortunately, we've got an accounting software package that shows us every mug from the date we've made it to the date that I retired it, including every production run and exactly how many we ok'd and how many we destroyed! I'm up to about 600 designs in total (stock to customized) since we started 4 years ago TODAY (we opened our doors on Sept. 9, 2000). I'm making a timeline so this is cool!! Can I say... happy anniversary to the Farm!? Ironically, today is also SCD's birthday! Happy b-day bro!!
[ This Message was edited by: smogbreather on 2004-09-10 00:08 ]
Joined: Jun 09, 2004
From: San Diego
|Posted: 2004-09-10 12:04 am  Permalink|
HAPPY ANIVERSARY Holden! How ya doin?
Joined: May 15, 2004
From: Knoxville, TN
|Posted: 2004-09-10 08:08 am  Permalink|
[ This Message was edited by: TNTiki on 2004-11-06 17:19 ]
|the drunken hat|
Joined: Dec 20, 2003
From: Modesto, CA
|Posted: 2004-09-10 09:15 am  Permalink|
first happy anniversary holden! second, another way to tell the age is not only by place of origin but by the size of the mug. trader dick's moai mug is a prime example of this. the older ones are considerably larger than the newer ones. they shrink from over 7 1/4" to 5 1/2" in hight. i think that bar owners realized how much alcohol they were using in their drinks and they asked for smaller mugs. another possible example is the skinney version of the three face mugs. even the classic omc peanut mugs fell victim to this shrinkage. i have some old ones from the islander and a i have one that is marked bally's reno. the newer bally's example is thinner and a touch shorter. as for putting a date on when the switch occured i have no idea. but i'm certain that the larger mugs are the older versions. has anyone else noticed this?
...liquor in the front, poker in the rear...
[ This Message was edited by: the drunken hat on 2004-09-10 09:17 ]
Joined: Mar 26, 2002
From: Portland, OR
|Posted: 2004-09-13 8:53 pm  Permalink|
I got a Blue Mermaid mug at a NYC restaurant that was stamped Orchids of Hawaii -- JAPAN. This was in the early 90s. Either someone was using the same mold, or there was some massive overstock from the past. Warehouse find? Probably not--someone was just using the same mold or a copy. Can't we do carbon testing on mugs?
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