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Tiki Central Forums » » Collecting Tiki » » The Tiki Table Lamp Thread
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The Tiki Table Lamp Thread
Tattoo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 24, 2005
Posts: 296
From: Los Angeles
Posted: 2015-03-29 2:37 pm   Permalink

Some of my favorite Tiki items are the actual Tiki table lamps.




From the Montreal Kon Tiki

Given that they were the centerpiece of the table, they were often very ornate and super cool. Another nice aspect of them is that, thanks to all of the TC members, they are very well documented, They’re always well featured in many postcards and pictures - unlike the mugs unfortunately. And unlike most mugs, they’re very rare which is due to the fact that there was a limited number made and not souvenirs to take home. It would be hard not to be noticed missing from a table as you’re leaving (and a hard item to hide in a purse ). And my guess is that during any remodel, the tired old lamps were just thrown away. Luckily, some have survived and hopefully more people will share them. I’ve been fortunate to somehow have acquired a few of them but always had trouble finding info on them. So I thought it was worthwhile to do a thread dedicated to these wonderful lamps.

I have liberally used pictures from all over Tiki Central but two names again and again kept popping up - Dustycajun and Bigbrotiki (Sven). It is their unrelenting effort to share their collection and knowledge that really makes this kind of thing possible. Thank-you!

Probably the most common and well known lamp is the Trader Vic’s Janus lamp. Although it has gone through many incarnations of the years, the basic design has changed little. The real early ones seem to be a little bit smaller, use a spring loaded candle mechanism and have a different top on them with a shade. Here are a few pictures from 1955 from the Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s:







Some more BH pics but not sure from when...





And nicely featured in this still from “I Am Cuba” from the Trader Vic’s in Havana:



And here are a couple that were rescued by Billbot:





And a couple from Tikiskip with very cool shades:



Amazing!!!

I have a modern one that I believe is from the defunct Trader Vic’s LA that uses a votive candle. Not quite as exciting but it makes me happy



Another common and elaborate lamp is from one of Trader Vic’s main competitors of the time - Steve Crane. The ones used at his restaurants were the super cool three Tiki table lamp with the green ceramic tiki center pole and rope shade.



From what I remember after talking to Bob van Oosting at Oceanic Arts, OA made the rope shades and the ceramic center posts were made by Stella Bodey from Spurlin. There are many variations of this lamp in the many different incarnations of the center post as well the different bases which helps place the lamps. The only pictures I could find of the above lamp with that particular base were from the Cleveland Kon Tiki.



Super cool to know that that is where it was used

The Tiki is based on Steve Crane “thumbs up” tiki.







Although very small in these pictutres, you can see the green three tiki lamps on the tables at the Beverly Hills Luau:





And more from the Montreal Kon Tiki:





However, this particular lamp also found itself into other non-Steve Crane restaurants including the Detroit Mauna Loa:





It being used at the Mauna Loa is not surprising since Florian Gabriel and M. George Nakashima who designed the Mauna Loa also designed Steve Crane’s Luau.

What is surprising is to see them appear just a hop and a skip away from The Luau at their competitor the Los Angeles Islander (note the different shade):


(you can see the lamp in the lower left corner)



The reason why the Islander had these lamps was probably due to the fact that Stella Bodey designed their mugs and made the ceramic lamp posts. However, other pics from the Islander show a wooden double Ku lamp (maybe they were forced to change their lamps):



Here is another version I own that has an added top to it that looks a bit like a top hat.



I only had the ceramic center and rebuild the whole lamp with a new base and top. I even made a rope shade myself which was a messy affair. In trying to rebuild some of these lamps, it’s quite apparent that the brass bases were made from ceiling lamps covers - which would explain the endless variety in bases. In general, I have found that a lot of restaurants decorations from this era were made from creative hardware store visits.

Here’s a similar ‘top hat’ version from Tiki-Kate’s collection (R.I.P. ) that still has the original base and chimney holder.



I would venture to guess that these came later since the added top fixes a design flaw to help the glass chimney holder sit on more straight. The Mauna Loa used this version although not sure that it was exclusive to them. But I have not found other pictures from other restaurants with this version.

Another variation of this lamp is the Tahitian Bumatay Tiki version.



This green one I believe was used at the Tahitian in Pasadena:





And the pink one was used at the Tahitian in Studio City.







It seems that the pink version might also have been used at the Tropicana bowling lanes in Inglewood:





Thanks to Bigbro for his astute eye on catching these lamps in this postcard.

Not to be outdone, the Kahiki also had a very cool lamp with a particularly nice lamp shade



And here’s an amazing one from the Mai Kai that uses their logo cannibal carving for the center post.



WOW!

Oceanic Arts themselves sold many different variations of table lamps and outfitted many restaurants with them.





The Marquesan Lamp was used at the Tonga Room.





Here is another amazingly beautiful wood Tiki Lamp from 8ft Tiki that I unfortunately cannot place.









Orchids of Hawaii also got in the game and created two slightly more common table lamps. A regular Tiki and a Kon Tiki Lamp.







Here’s a great picture of the Kon Tiki lamp used at the Marie Antoinette in Canada next to that amazing vicious virgin bowl.





Not all lamps were per se Tiki in style and often had a more flotsam motive. This is of course especially true with the pre-Tiki and pre-Polynesian Pop establishments. Here’s a great one I got from Marty Proser’s Beachcomber. The center post has a great driftwood feel to it.









Here are some cool pics which showcase the lamp quite well.







And while doing research for this thread, I discovered that this same lamp, but with a different shade was also used at the Beachcomber Chicago:



From a June 1948 Look Magazine article:



It seems that Marty Proser really copied everything from poor old Don…

I feel that this is a good start. I hope other people can chime in with their lamps and more cool post card images of lamps.






[ This Message was edited by: Tattoo 2015-03-30 18:14 ]


 
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Or Got Rum?
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 29, 2009
Posts: 507
From: Wisconsin
Posted: 2015-03-29 2:48 pm   Permalink

WOW Tatto! Thanks for the smokin' lamp overview! OGR

 
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Tattoo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 24, 2005
Posts: 296
From: Los Angeles
Posted: 2015-03-29 3:14 pm   Permalink

Thanks OGR!

Trying to piece together some of the info on other restaurants, I found some great stuff from the Kona Kai. From an early interior post card from the Kona Kai Philadelphia, it seems that they used some sort of OA rope shade lamp.



Other than the rope shade, it’s impossible to tell though what the rest of the lamp looked like.

A later photo from 1974 shows the Orchids of Hawaii Kon Tiki lamp.







Here’s an early picture from the Kansas City Kona Kai that shows that great OA Moai based lamp:





Also known as the Aku Aku lamp from Oceanic Arts



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[ This Message was edited by: Tattoo 2015-03-29 15:25 ]


 
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Dustycajun
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Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 5047
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2015-03-29 3:25 pm   Permalink

Tatoo,

Excellent work, I recognize a lot of those images!

Here is another one I did not see posted from the Outrigger Monterey. A lamp made from the famous Tiki mug.









DC


 
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Humuhumu
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Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3691
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2015-03-29 3:32 pm   Permalink

This is wonderful, simply wonderful! Thank you so much for taking the time to pull this together, this must have been a lot of (fun) work. Very cool, very interesting stuff.

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nui 'umi 'umi
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Joined: Feb 21, 2011
Posts: 2444
From: La Mirada Atoll
Posted: 2015-03-29 4:13 pm   Permalink

Tattoo, Great thread! Mahalo.


 
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ErichTroudt
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Joined: Mar 27, 2002
Posts: 624
From: SoCal
Posted: 2015-03-29 4:47 pm   Permalink

good thread. Nice work

 
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uncle trav
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Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 2255
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2015-03-30 4:57 pm   Permalink

Fantastic research. Thanks for all of the hard work out into the post. A treasure trove of information!

 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 5047
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2015-03-30 5:14 pm   Permalink

Ok, here's are a few more not identified yet. Table lamps from the pre-Tiki and then Tiki phases of the Hawaiian Room at the Hotel Lexington in New York.

Pre Tiki with tapa shade.



Full Tiki with tapa shade.




I love this thread, lets find some more!


DC


 
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A Frame
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Joined: Apr 16, 2009
Posts: 328
From: Mr. C's on the Coast Highway
Posted: 2015-03-30 5:20 pm   Permalink

"Great stuff Tattoo!"

And DC!

[ This Message was edited by: A Frame 2015-03-30 17:21 ]


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 5047
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2015-03-30 5:36 pm   Permalink

Here is another view of two more lamps at the Hawaiian Room in New York, one Tiki and one not.



AND, another one for your consideration, the black Moai table lamps from the Aku Aku in Las Vegas.





DC


 
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8FT Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 30, 2003
Posts: 1398
From: Kansas City, MO
Posted: 2015-03-30 5:48 pm   Permalink

Lots of work to put this threads opening salvo together Tattoo. Well done. I appreciate you including the pictures of my lamp. However, I do not own the pair in photos 9 & 10.
My lamp is correctly noted in 4 photos later down the post. Thanks for compiling this.

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[ This Message was edited by: 8FT Tiki 2015-03-30 17:50 ]


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 5047
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2015-03-30 6:02 pm   Permalink

Peanut mug lamp from the Lanai Restaurant in San Mateo.





DC


 
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Tattoo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 24, 2005
Posts: 296
From: Los Angeles
Posted: 2015-03-30 6:23 pm   Permalink

Cool pics DC!!! And thanks everyone for the compliments When I have some time I'll see if I can up with more. I love the Lanai table lamp picture. I do however find making a lamp out of a mug to be a little bit of a cheat. I am curious if the Aku Aku lamps were just re-purposed mugs or real uniquely made.

PS I fixed the credit to the TV Janus lamps. Thank 8'ft Tiki for pointing that out.
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 5047
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2015-03-30 6:48 pm   Permalink

From north of the border, a Bumatay looking mug that was used at the Outrigger in BC and the Tropic Isle in Surrey.

These are from Taboo Dan who found a stash of them from the Tropic Isle.









And here is my postcard from the Outrigger showing a lighter version with the lamp shades on.





DC


 
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