Polynesian Pidgeon Mug

Front - Polynesian Pidgeon Mug - Mauna Loa - Open Edition

First sold in 1967

Holds 8 fl. oz.

3” wide x 6” tall

Designed By: Gabe Florian

Manufactured By: HF Pottery/Steve Crane Associates

Location Sold: Mauna Loa

    While tropical birds have been incorporated into the design of many ceramic cocktail mugs, the Polynesian Pidgeon was one of the first tiki mugs to use a bird to form a handle. The mug depicts a stalk of weathered bamboo being climbed by a Polynesian Pidgeon. It made its first appearance in 1967, where it was was served with a cocktail of the same name at the Mauna Loa in Detroit, Michigan.

    Mauna Loa was a famous and short-lived restaurant. It operated for just a few years at the tail end of the 1960s and it was a lavish Polynesian-themed restaurant with an expansive budget of just under two million dollars. The restaurant was described in the book Detroit: A Young Guide to the City as “the Disneyland of Detroit restaurants.” The book further stated “Every inch of its enormous interior is splashed with colors and shapes … catamarans slung from the ceiling, palms, giant blowfish lanterns, streams gurgling past the tables … a pool where girls dive for pearls.” The exact reason for the Mauna Loa’s closure is uncertain, but it is possible the overhead for the restaurant was too great to overcome. Regardless, tiki mugs from the Mauna Loa are quite rare due to its short life, including the Polynesian Pidgeon Mug.

    The Polynesian Pidgeon Mug is an incredibly durable mug thanks to its double-walled construction. Steve Crane Associates, who produced the mug for the Mauna Loa through HF Pottery, used a double-walled construction in most of its mugs. Mugs from Steve Crane Associates often feature beautiful glazes and, because of their high quality, have stood the test of time. The Polynesian Pidgeon Mug is no exception.

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