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Victor coffee mugs--Yes!
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CSG
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Posted Mon Sep 17, 2012, 6:35am
Subject: Re: Victor coffee mugs--Yes!
 

I think the story I linked earlier in the thread said they started stamping USA in addition to their name during the final years of production so there was no doubt they were Victor mugs.

As I brew cup at a time (Melitta), I find I'm not using the smaller sized mugs.  One of these days I'm going to have to get the gear for a bigger batch of coffee and a thermal carafe because I prefer the smaller mugs.

I'd love to find definitive info on the whole counterfeit story.  I've got a set of four larger, plain white Victors as well as two Mil-Art decorated ones of the same size.  The Mil-Art and smaller mugs use the same small logo but the set of four plain white ones have a slightly larger stamp.  You can tell they are made in the same fashion as the smaller mugs and the logo does not look like the ones victormug.com claimed were Chinese counterfeits (no serifs) but they are indeed different than the other mugs in my collection.
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CraigA
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Posted Mon Sep 17, 2012, 6:45am
Subject: Re: Victor coffee mugs--Yes!
 

It does Chris, & here's a partial quote from Porcelain Insulator News by Elton Gish, Reprinted from "Crown Jewels of the Wire", February 2004, page 12:
  • "In the spring of 1990, Victor Insulators shut down production of its famous diner mug, a unique cream-colored cylinder with convex sides and a solid handle. It was produced in several varieties and held less than 8 oz. of coffee, but its shape lent itself to warming one's hands. The company needed to sell 25,000 to 30,000 dozen mugs annually to make the business profitable, but only had orders for about 60% that amount. They blamed the drop in orders on Ultima China, a company in China, which started making a look-alike mug about five years earlier that sold for less than half the price. In July 1996, Victor Insulators added "MADE IN U.S.A." to the "VICTOR" stamp on the bottom, but they could not compete with the China-made lighter weight version, which only had "CHINA" stamped on the bottom."

 
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CSG
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Posted Mon Sep 17, 2012, 7:34am
Subject: Re: Victor coffee mugs--Yes!
 

Craig, I remember that section of the article which never claimed that Ultima or any company was counterfeiting their mugs (with a counterfeit logo as the victormug.com site claimed).  The article states that Ultima copied their design but Wallace, Shenango, Syracuse and a couple other companies based in the US made very similar diner mugs for years and competed with Victor for market share.   I have four HLC USA mugs which are also quite similar.

And interestingly, the four mugs I referred to in my earlier post are actually heavier per mug than the Mil-Art Victors although they hold the same quantity.  It's just the stamp on the bottom is a bit different.  However, the handles look hand applied in the same tradition as they did them for years.

Tired of the speculation, I just called Victor Insulators and spoke to a fellow named Ira who's been there for ages.  He just told me he'd never heard of anyone, Chinese or otherwise, counterfeiting their logo.  He told me the story of Ultima and that they simply were branded Ultima China on the bottoms.  The bottom line is if the mug is incised with a Victor logo, it's a Victor mug.  He said their stamp changed over time as they were rubber stamps with "Victor" in one block of letters and the stamps would wear out in time.  So while most mugs had the stamp we see most commonly, others may have the stamp with the serifed letters (he couldn't say for sure).  He also told me the story about how the gals would alter the logo slightly with their own mark after they were stamped.

For me, that puts the "counterfeit" story to rest.  BTW, he seemed genuinely delighted that there were a few of us out there that admired these things.
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CraigA
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Posted Mon Sep 17, 2012, 7:50am
Subject: Re: Victor coffee mugs--Yes!
 

Thanks for all this additional info Chris!

 
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lifeandpeace
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Posted Mon Sep 17, 2012, 12:45pm
Subject: Re: Victor coffee mugs--Yes!
 

Chris and Craig,

Those are great tidbits. Thanks for posting them.

It appears that, though the name doesn't appear to have been hijacked, that famous shape has been reproduced a lot. Online auctions, etc. have a lot of these look-alikes, but the shape usually gives them away. Most of the look-alikes I see have an exaggerated curve, while the Victors' curves are very slight.

If you intend to buy any, it would be best to get the dimensions and the weight from the seller. The look-alikes are lighter in weight.

I went into a historic diner (featured in films, etc.) in Savannah, GA recently. I spotted their mugs when I walked in. I asked to see one, and sure enough, their Victor look-alikes didn't have the same weight or feel--and their curves were exaggerated. Hey, that's understandable. Breakage in a busy diner ain't no thing, but losing Victors would really hurt!

I'm coming into a couple more next month. Love them. The tactile experience (weight, shape, smoothness) must be for me what is for fans of churchwarden pipes. Promotes profound thoughts.  : )

 
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CraigA
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Posted Mon Sep 17, 2012, 1:25pm
Subject: Re: Victor coffee mugs--Yes!
 

lifeandpeace Said:

Chris and Craig,

Those are great tidbits. Thanks for posting them.

Posted September 17, 2012 link

It was nothing as it was at Chris's link anyway., & thanks Chris for that additional info!

If you intend to buy any, it would be best to get the dimensions and the weight from the seller. The look-alikes are lighter in weight.

Yes I did do that Boro (can you post/tell us your real name please?). In my pic above of 4 green stripe & 2 whites, I now have in addition to those., 4 whites from a seller here in Toronto (Aug 15th) & 4 green stripe from the Jay Kravitz's eBay Store on Sept 2nd for a total of 8 green stripes & 8 whites. There were 5 additional eBay sales of 4 each for another 20 mugs for auction that sold out.

I went into a historic diner (featured in films, etc.) in Savannah, GA recently. I spotted their mugs when I walked in. I asked to see one, and sure enough, their Victor look-alikes didn't have the same weight or feel--and their curves were exaggerated. Hey, that's understandable. Breakage in a busy diner ain't no thing, but losing Victors would really hurt!

What diner what it please Boro? {;-)

I'm coming into a couple more next month. Love them. The tactile experience (weight, shape, smoothness) must be for me what is for fans of churchwarden pipes. Promotes profound thoughts.  : )

Yeah you're absolutely right & I love them!

I drink out of a 10oz mug here at home & when CSG (Chris) mentioned the Retro-Planet website that some how I'd never heard of, I'd like to get 6 of those 10 ouncer's lol! Sacrilege of course as they're not Victors, but I'm so used to a bigger mug!

 
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CSG
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Posted Mon Sep 17, 2012, 1:34pm
Subject: Re: Victor coffee mugs--Yes!
 

Even more info.  I got a call from a gal at Victor who is retiring and has, she thinks, a couple, maybe three cases of white mugs.  She was going to look tonight and call me back.  She was one of the gals who did the promotional stuff - you've seen some of the commercial logo'd mugs on ebay and elsewhere.  However, these were not decaled  and they're new old stock.

Not sure what her intentions are but I told her I might want to buy a case, depending.  Maybe we can do a little group buy if it all came together.

The only way to know if you're looking at a Victor mug is to look at the bottom.  If it's incised "Victor" it's a Victor according to the employees who were around in those days.  This gal repeated that no one there was aware of any counterfeit logo mugs out there and that their stamp had changed from time to time.  So the Victor mugs with the slightly serifed letters are authentic according to two Victor employees, not counterfeits.  The Chinese replicas were marked "China" or "Ultima China" and the latter are still being made today.
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CraigA
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CraigA
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Posted Mon Sep 17, 2012, 1:44pm
Subject: Re: Victor coffee mugs--Yes!
 

WoW, that's great Chris!
There's a 1,700 mug lot of factory seconds or "B" grade NOS Victors on Jay's eBay store starting at $250.00. That's better that 35 cases!!, & would work out to 14.7 cents a piece! {:-O

 
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CSG
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Posted Mon Sep 17, 2012, 1:45pm
Subject: Re: Victor coffee mugs--Yes!
 

Yeah, I saw that.  1700 is a few more than I need.  ;)
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lifeandpeace
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lifeandpeace
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Posted Mon Sep 17, 2012, 3:54pm
Subject: Re: Victor coffee mugs--Yes!
 

Clive

CraigA Said:

What diner what it please Boro?

Posted September 17, 2012 link

Clary's Cafe. If you do a Google image search, you'll see some pics with the look-alikes.

 
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