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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: 11196
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2012-12-02 9:37 pm   Permalink

To sum this all up, I think the Rosebud, the key to the mystery could be finding a living connection to Otagiri Mercantile, as they did the Tiki Bob's mug. But they are a Japanese company that just had reps in the US, and Tiki mugs were just a small side business for them. That's why it burns me to hear that the Spurlin mugs came from the ESTATE of a Otagiri rep - another link died off. I would love to hear how the process of designing a logo mug went - obviously, in many cases, the restaurateur gave the rep something, like a menu, that had the Tiki on it, and the Japanese translated it into a sculpt - yet sometimes Otagiri's designers seem to have came up with the designs on their own.

But I am also not one to be entirely mug-centric in Tiki, I am more interested in the whole picture, the social and historic developments that lead to it happening. I am currently developing a new perspective on Polynesian pop, as I love viewing the phenomenon from new angles: Outsiders always act surprised that I am still at it, after two exhaustive books, but when you delve deeply enough into any subject, it opens up new macro-cosms and facets that you didn't think about yet.


 
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tikicleen
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 11, 2003
Posts: 329
From: ripon: almond capital yet no orgeat
Posted: 2013-01-30 8:11 pm   Permalink

this is a fascinating read, thank you for continuing to re-examine these unanswered questions and reignite that tiki flame that sometimes goes a bit dormant inside of me.

so the objective now is to find a living connection to the otagiri mercantile company. i think i am on the verge of this, but i do not have the detective know-how or time to sink into this.

i have found someone that seems to have some legit info about an older gentleman who claims to have "made the tiki mugs" for the -stockton- islander. as we all know, the stockton islander was a bevy of OMC mugs. and now that i have read this thread, i do see the spurlin copy influence that OMC did with development of their mugs that the stockton islander used -- i never noticed this before! (gasp!) but i digress, this elderly gentleman was an artist and ceramicist according to my contact. he supposedly said that "they" made the tiki mugs in batches of 100 and delivered them on Mondays back in the early days of the stockton islander. i'm not sure how convoluted this information might be, but it is possible that this gentelman was part of OMC since they were based out of SF, and this gentleman now resides in mill valley.
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nui 'umi 'umi
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 21, 2011
Posts: 1114
From: La Mirada Atoll
Posted: 2013-01-30 9:12 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-11-30 12:32, bigbrotiki wrote:
But the lack of reaction to your thread, and not the slightest activity in the advancement of this age-old mystery by any readers here, seem like just another nail in the coffin of Tiki Central.




I am both riveted to and fascinated by this thread. The lack of activity/participation on my part is due to sheer intimidation that overwhelms me as I read the expert sleuthing and analytical displays of logic and research posted here. I have nothing to offer but Mahalo. I'm certainly not alone.


 
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atomictonytiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 14, 2002
Posts: 1278
From: Bangkok
Posted: 2013-01-31 04:30 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-01-30 20:11, tikicleen wrote:
this elderly gentleman was an artist and ceramicist according to my contact.




go speak to him now, too often I've found a good leed on tiki history through an obituary.


 
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Hale Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 19, 2004
Posts: 1798
From: Pittsburgh
Posted: 2013-01-31 06:18 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-01-31 04:30, atomictonytiki wrote:
Quote:

On 2013-01-30 20:11, tikicleen wrote:
this elderly gentleman was an artist and ceramicist according to my contact.




go speak to him now, too often I've found a good leed on tiki history through an obituary.



Yes. Run to him.


 
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nzbungalow
Member

Joined: Sep 23, 2014
Posts: 4
Posted: 5 days ago; 01:52 am   Permalink

In 1949 Harry Hargreaves designed the Wharetana range of Maori theme souvenir items, including a tiki mug known as "Ruru and Weku" for production by Crown Lynn pottery, New Zealand.
Further information search "Wharetana" on the New Zealand Pottery website. Jeremy.


[ This Message was edited by: nzbungalow 2014-10-18 15:01 ]

I have posted individual photos in my collection (nzbungalow) on ooga mooga.

[ This Message was edited by: nzbungalow 2014-10-18 15:03 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11196
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 5 days ago; 8:17 pm   Permalink

Thanks for the photos, nzbungalow, very cool!

While any and all depictions of the Tiki figure are of interest here, the main focus of this site is America's fascination with it in the mid-century. While tourist culture played its part in that, the "Rosebud" we are looking for in this thread would be the first Tiki cocktail mug ever made and used at a Polynesian restaurant in the States.


 
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nzbungalow
Member

Joined: Sep 23, 2014
Posts: 4
Posted: 5 days ago; 9:30 pm   Permalink

Well aware of the intent of this topic.
Thousands of GIs were based in NZ during WWII and would have been exposed to NZ Maori culture while here. The Crown Lynn mug was produced from 1949, after the war, but many servicemen settled here and maintained connections with the States. As they were a souvenir item it is likely that some of these mugs made their way to the States before the appearance of the first tiki bar tiki mugs so they cannot be ruled out as having had an influence in the evolution of the bar mug from skull, Fu Mancu, etc to pure tiki. Jeremy

I guess I should say "cannot YET be ruled out" etc.

[ This Message was edited by: nzbungalow 2014-10-18 21:34 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11196
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 4 days ago; 03:45 am   Permalink

Aaaah! - Unlikely, but I like a good argument

 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6187
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 4 days ago; 10:00 am   Permalink

I think the main criteria that needs to be emphasized
is "Used in a Polynesian Restaurant or Bar" to fall firmly in the Tiki category
otherwise any primitive or south seas influenced ceramics, many predating
the era & aesthetic of Tiki, would just be inaccurately included.

I would also argue that the above Maori themed vessel is a coffee/Tea cup
rather then a Tiki mug.

[ This Message was edited by: Atomic Tiki Punk 2014-10-19 10:03 ]


 
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nzbungalow
Member

Joined: Sep 23, 2014
Posts: 4
Posted: 4 days ago; 4:29 pm   Permalink

bigbrotiki, i too like a good argument and I do so like your choice of words. Working as an architectural historian I have enjoyed watching the unlikely turn out to be the actuality. And as a collector of New Zealand pottery I have identified some very unlikely influences, including, pertinently, an early-1960s-designed Maori tiki mug, reproduced in 1971 by Crown Lynn, and again in the 1980s by Parker Pottery, which I believe to be a remodelling of the Efcco Ku mug, yet which clearly depicts a carved Maori face. The Crown Lynn one can be seen in my ooga mooga collection and the Parker one in that of Paipo.

Atomic Tiki Punk, yes this mug is not a tiki mug in the definition of your sub-culture but is a tiki mug nevertheless, and I believe it is a significant one as I am yet to be made aware of any Polynesian-themed ceramic pre-dating this that makes the shift from a piece of ceramic with themed transfers to one where the Polynesian theme becomes the body of the piece.

As ceramics were not part of the pre-contact Polynesian culture, this could be the first ceramic mug from a Polynesian country (New Zealand), possibly the world, to depict a tiki face in its shape. I look forward to seeing something earlier. Until that appears, your only chance of excluding its influence is to produce a tiki-faced tiki mug in wood or bamboo that predates it. Produce either of those (ceramic or wood) and I will concede that the possibility of influence diminishes.

BTW. I have yet to see the Wharetana mug defined as a coffee or tea mug by Crown Lynn who routinely used definers tea, coffee, or beer, in their mug shape descriptions.
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4351
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 4 days ago; 6:16 pm   Permalink

Nice to see this post active again. After reading through it, I thought of another possible candidate for the answer - the Kalua Room in Seattle. We know from Tikicoma's research that it opened in 1953 and used a Tiki for a logo from the outset.



An early drink menu I have shows this Tiki Tiki mug.





Which was obviously a local production made for the Kalua Room



The drink prices on the menu are also in line with the early Tiki Bob's drink prices seen on this menu.



If not the first, this could have been one of the earliest.

DC


 
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ErichTroudt
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 27, 2002
Posts: 439
From: SoCal
Posted: 4 days ago; 6:18 pm   Permalink

Great mug and an interesting read nzbungalow... Thanks for posting it

 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6187
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 4 days ago; 6:32 pm   Permalink

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.


 
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Freeland
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Aug 19, 2013
Posts: 50
From: Tex
Posted: 3 days ago; 07:18 am   Permalink

As one having such a love for history, this is such a great thread! I would hope there are some members of the forum that are stationed in Japan, and or have business there that can dive in to some local research.

Looking forward to seeing what flushes out.


 
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