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Tiki Central Forums » » Collecting Tiki » » What was the first Tiki mug?
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What was the first Tiki mug?
bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11197
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2 days ago; 1:34 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2014-10-19 18:32, Atomic Tiki Punk wrote:
Let's not forget about those ceramic Coconut Mugs that we have seen in
many of the tropical Pre-Tiki clubs & restaurants from the 1930s etc.



We did not forget, it's just that those are…COCONUT mugs. Tiki mugs are mugs that depict Tikis. Just like Tiki style is the part of Polynesian pop that features the Tiki as the main icon - (not the usual Hula Girl/palm tree/pineapple/ukelele/tropical fish/lei/outrigger/native hut.)

As far as the New Zealand mug goes: Tiki style is defined as an American pop culture happening in the United States in the mid-century. It was certainly INSPIRED by Polynesian and Hawaiian art, but became its own pop culture genre which went far beyond the original art forms. THIS is what makes it unique.

Tourist items from Polynesia were certainly brought back to decorate home bars, but they are not considered an intrinsic part of American Tiki pop. When we look at the initial post by Tatoo that opened this thread, all the mugs and bars that are mentioned are within the Tiki style genre. This thread is really asking the question "What was the first Tiki mug used in American Tiki bars".

All the the fringe items mentioned earlier are certainly of interest, but they do not address the core question here.

DC, the Seattle Kahlua Room Tiki Mug is certainly a good contender. The bummer is that again, the date of the menu is not known. Just judging by the style of modernist marker-pen graphics, I would peg it to be late rather than early 50s.


 
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Club Nouméa
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 03, 2010
Posts: 349
From: Wanganui
Posted: Yesterday; 01:49 am   Permalink

Hmm, that's some major hair-splitting going on over on the other side of the Pacific regarding that 1949 Crown Lynn tiki mug from New Zealand.

New Zealanders are not particular about what they put in their mugs and that item could easily have been used for any number of different varieties of alcohol. In a country where people used to (and still do) drink alcohol out of jam jars, anything goes. lol

I recall a similar initial reaction of disbelief when I posted those pics of the Wanganui Savage Club on Tiki Central a few years ago; a Polynesian-themed social club founded by European New Zealanders in the early 1890s, where they dressed up like Maoris, sang Maori songs, followed Maori meeting protocol, and addressed each other using Maori ranks. Tiki carvings featured prominently therein decades before they were adopted by Polynesian style bars and restaurants in California.

It looks like once again we have a Kiwi precursor that is upsetting some established theories, although I doubt whether that NZ mug had any influence on US tiki mug design.

I now have a hankering to see if I can actually track down a photo of someone drinking from a Crown Lynn tiki mug in the Wanganui Savage Club circa 1949....






 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11197
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: Yesterday; 04:13 am   Permalink

That's all good and fine, folks, and as I voiced earlier, I LOVE the Wanganui Social club - it's just not American Tiki Pop.

From "About Tiki Central":

>>>Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop
Tiki Central is a place to celebrate the classic Tiki Bars of the mid-century and the design aesthetic they established. This movement grew in popularity after World War II when America had a new fascination with the South Seas and Hawaii. Tiki Bars sought to bring an idealized tropical paradise into the concrete jungle of the Modern World. Very little of it was genuine -- born mostly out of the likes of Hollywood art directors and modern architects -- but it all seemed real to a then-naïve public’s eye. The Tiki style started in bars and restaurants but soon spilled over into all forms of popular culture, including music, food, dress, TV and movies, and other forms of architecture.

The Tiki that Tiki Central focuses on is a mid-century American invention that is Polynesia-inspired. We’re here to discuss classic Tiki, what made it great, how to celebrate it and preserve it today, and how to create and influence new Tiki that isn’t generic, watered down, or misguided.<<<

This is NOT saying that all those finds are not of interest here, of course they are. But the delineations for what makes something mid-century Tiki style and what not are important to define the genre. To call any and all 20th Century depictions of Tiki "Tiki style" creates the same confusion that caused Tiki style to not be recognized as a genre in its own day!


 
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tikigreg
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Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 1164
From: ClubTiki
Posted: Yesterday; 12:47 pm   Permalink

Thanks, yet again, Sven for the clarification. Hope it sinks in this time.

 
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Club Nouméa
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 03, 2010
Posts: 349
From: Wanganui
Posted: Yesterday; 2:47 pm   Permalink

That's all good and fine too BigBro, but the starting question for this thread was quite simple: "What was the first Tiki mug?"

Not "what was the first tiki mug served in an American Polynesian-style bar or restaurant". And discussion on this topic is not even strictly limited to US-manufactured mugs, as we know that a large number of early "American" tiki mugs were actually made in Japan.

It's not that, down here in New Zealand, we don't get the whole North American sub-culture that you have discovered and outlined, it's just that it is not as unique as you would have us believe.

I find this Crown Lynn item fascinating, as tiki mugs are what are presented to us as being a unique hallmark of Californian-style tiki culture. Yet when a tiki mug is presented that appears to predate all of them, it is ruled out of contention because it was not used at Trader Vic's or wherever. Curious....

That Crown Lynn mug is not a traditional Maori artifact; it is a mid-century design from 1949 that appears to predate the first American tiki mug (which seems to date from 1953, judging from the beautiful pieces shown by Dustycajun).

Tikis were integrated into popular iconography and everyday items in New Zealand decades before they were in the US, and this Crown Lynn mug is just one example. Others could be pointed to in terms of items such as ashtrays, beer bottles, postcards, postage stamps, book covers and so on. Such items may sit uncomfortably with theories regarding the primacy and uniqueness of US tiki pop artifacts, but they continue to exist nonetheless.

So we now have a tiki mug from 1949 and it happens to come from New Zealand. Are there any earlier ones out there from the US? Or Japan?





_________________

Toto, j'ai l'impression que nous ne sommes plus au Kansas !


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11197
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: Yesterday; 3:14 pm   Permalink

Once you write a book or two that delineate New Zealand Tiki Pop as a coherent art form that rivals American Tiki I'll buy the claim of its importance. For now, I can't see its spread and pervasiveness in New Zealand to be anywhere near that of American Tiki Style in mid-century America, sorry.

 
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Club Nouméa
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 03, 2010
Posts: 349
From: Wanganui
Posted: Yesterday; 3:24 pm   Permalink

That's a fair point - there is no such book on New Zealand, and it is a gap in our cultural history. A book on the topic of pop tiki culture here would be an eye-opener on various levels and it is a topic that has not been explored by New Zealanders. Discussion of use of tiki and Maori iconography in popular culture here has been limited by considerations of political correctness, and even the term "plastic tiki" still has inferences of cultural exploitation and colonialism here.

But you should know I love your books - they changed my life.

_________________

Toto, j'ai l'impression que nous ne sommes plus au Kansas !

[ This Message was edited by: Club Nouméa 2014-10-23 15:25 ]


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4355
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: Yesterday; 5:58 pm   Permalink

Back to our originally scheduled program - the first Tiki Mug used in American Tiki bars.

Obviously, the mug will predate the OMC mugs that came from Japan.

How about the early Tiki mugs from Sam's Seafood as seen in this postcard from the gift shop?





One way to date these would be to find a used postcard with a postmark. Unfortunately, the ones that I own are unused. The same can be said for the Kalua Room mug theory I posted earlier.

Anybody got a postmarked card from these locations?

DC


 
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Tattoo
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Sep 24, 2005
Posts: 232
From: Los Angeles
Posted: Yesterday; 7:13 pm   Permalink

I started this thread with the definition of a Tiki mug to be not only an actual mug from a tiki bar meant for Tiki Drinks (a good first qualifier would be - “Would I serve a Mai Tai in this?”) - but also to me, the charm being that the mug in itself is in the shape of a Tiki. Not just server-ware (or a tourist item) with a Tiki print or motive on it. And it’s quite obvious that nzbungalow's 1949 Crown Lynn “tiki mug” is a simple coffee mug, a tourist item, with a Tiki design on it and does not belong in this thread. No offense, but it doesn’t.

Our Tiki passion here on Tiki Central is all rooted in one thing - the Tiki Bar. A wonderful and unique movement where restaurants and bars became a tropical escape. Unique in its lavish decorations and passion to create a complete faux tropical get away - often in areas that were anything but. And one of the most unique items from this very American movement was the addition of serving the tropical drinks in tropical mugs. Eventually actually serving them in mugs that were the form of miniature Tiki's.

And when we talk of Tiki mugs, we always mean one that was used at one of these establishments and meant to serve… Tiki drinks. The fun and passion of tiki mug collecting is to find mugs with restaurant names imprinted on them and see the exotic mug listed with an exotic drink on an original menu. So when I asked “What is the first Tiki mug,” it was to find the first mug in the shape of Tiki that was used at a Tiki Bar. The Tiki Bar connection is the most critical and relevant aspect in this thread.

That is what this thread is about: what was the first Tiki mug made for a Tiki bar used to serve a Tiki drink in.

[ This Message was edited by: tattoo 2014-10-24 07:22 ]


 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6189
From: Costa Misery
Posted: Yesterday; 7:56 pm   Permalink

That is the criteria I am also using, would you agree to "Must have it's origin in
a Polynesian Club/Restaurant/Bar"?

And further defined for this thread as having a direct "Tiki style" design.


 
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