Tag Archives: Portland Billiard Ball Company

MYSTERY SOLVED!

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Back in March I posted pictures of a Mah Jongg set I had purchased and asked for some help on trying to figure out what the heck it was!  I also asked if anyone had some tiles in their orphanage to replace the missing tiles from this unusual set. Well, all good things certainly do come to those who wait. Dear Tony Watson, Mah Jongg authority and historian extraordinaire, has sent the following explanation. The original post follows Tony’s explanation. Now all I have to do is wait some more and perhaps someone will be able to help me fill in my missing tiles! Much thanks and lots of hugs to Tony!

Sorry this is so late, somehow I missed this blog update…
Zooming in on the pics, it looks like the tiles are made of hardwood with either a slip of printed acetate melted onto the top (either by heat or solvent), or more likely, given the crazing, a thick layer of paint with a transfer applied and sealed with a coat of shellac.
Very similar construction is used in Richter’s ‘stone’ tiles.
Anyway, I’ve not seen these tiles before, but they have shades of the French and Austrian sets that we have seen recently, especially 
the Lizard set.

And here is the original posting:photo 4

A few months ago I purchased this unusual set and am still at a loss at trying to identify it. Perhaps someone out there reading this blog will be able to help…It seems to be very similar in composition to the Portland Billiard Ball Company set that was featured on this blog last month. The tiles are blocks of what I suspect is bamboo with thin pieces of colorful plastic/celluloid glued or somehow affixed to the wood.

The Bams and the Dots are easily identifiable – although I suspect I may have displayed the Bams upside down!

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But it is the Craks that has thrown me way off…Here are two rows of the Craks (1 – 9) and, as you will see, the symbols in the first row are quite different from the symbols in the second row.

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Take a closer look at this row of Two Craks:

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Each Two Crak is unique.  Have you seen this before?

The Flowers are quite beautiful:

photo 3

And the depiction of the Winds is lovely (although possibly upside down again!). Unfortunately, the set is missing the four West Winds.

photo 4

Both the One Bams (missing two) and the Dragons (missing two Red Dragons and one Green Dragon) show different images. BTW, if anyone can supply the missing tiles, please contact me.

photo 1

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So, what do you think? I appeal to you to help explain what this unusual set is all about. I look forward to hearing some opinions from you and I will publish them in an upcoming post which happily will be called, “Mystery Solved!”

THIS AND THAT…

A number of questions and comments have come in to the blog lately and so I thought I would take this chance to answer a few of them as best as possible:

The first question comes from Jill who initially wrote about the enrobed set she inherited from her grandmother:  Hi Ann, Hope you are doing well! Did anyone ever respond to you about my enrobed tiles?  I just picked up what appears to be a vintage Japanese Mah Jongg set. It has never been used. The label on the bottom of the case says “Kimura, Japan”. It is a very compact case with velvet lined trays. There is a booklet of directions which is titled ” Chinese Game of Four Winds”. Might you be familiar with this? Thank you!  Jill

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 One of my favorite Mah Jongg experts, Tony Watson, has taken a shot at this (before he had a chance to see any of these photos):  Without a pic it’s difficult, but I’m guessing it’s a urea resin set, small tiles with thick white top backed with thin bamboo, deeply impressed designs in a tiny suitcase. The booklet is a standard title that comes with many sets. Probably from the 60s/70s. But I’m only shooting the breeze here!

And, after Tony saw the photos, he added: Yes, probably 70s, I have a slide-top set with the same birdbam, but these dragons are very unusual for the Japanese sets, they look like those in Matthew & Johni’s mystery sets. Material is as I said before, urea, and very fine impressed designs – excellent quality, which is why they look brand new. I’m intrigued by the tiles to the top of the dragons… I can’t make out what they are, but they appear to have a 1 on them???

And you have all heard me extol the virtues of the great Mah Jongg teacher, Johni Levene, who wrote: I’m with Tony here – it seems 1970’s ish. I have one and know absolutely nothing about it but they are a nice quality and it’s pretty so I kept it.

And then Johni added more comments: Oh wait, that’s totally not the set I thought it was now that I see more tiles. Still, I think it’s the same time period. I’ve not seen it in that case before though, but it’s probably one of those private label type things. Here is one I have handy with a different bird. Its a slightly different style than hers and a bit later.

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Here is a close up of the bam, not the same as the mystery set.

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I love the Mah Jongg community!

Read on for more questions and comments…

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I LOVE A MYSTERY!

photo 4

A few months ago I purchased this unusual set and am still at a loss at trying to identify it. Perhaps someone out there reading this blog will be able to help…It seems to be very similar in composition to the Portland Billiard Ball Company set that was featured on this blog last month. The tiles are blocks of what I suspect is bamboo with thin pieces of colorful plastic/celluloid glued or somehow affixed to the wood.

The Bams and the Dots are easily identifiable – although I suspect I may have displayed the Bams upside down!

photo 5

But it is the Craks that has thrown me way off…Here are two rows of the Craks (1 – 9) and, as you will see, the symbols in the first row are quite different from the symbols in the second row.

photo 5

Take a closer look at this row of Two Craks:

photo

Each Two Crak is unique.  Have you seen this before?

The Flowers are quite beautiful:

photo 3

And the depiction of the Winds is lovely (although possibly upside down again!). Unfortunately, the set is missing the four West Winds.

photo 4

Both the One Bams (missing two) and the Dragons (missing two Red Dragons and one Green Dragon) show different images. BTW, if anyone can supply the missing tiles, please contact me.

photo 1

photo 2

So, what do you think? I appeal to you to help explain what this unusual set is all about. I look forward to hearing some opinions from you and I will publish them in an upcoming post which happily will be called, “Mystery Solved!”

PORTLAND BILLIARD BALL COMPANY

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Hidden inside this innocuous box is my newest Mah Jongg acquisition – with thanks to X for alerting me to its sale on the Internet – a Mah Jongg set manufactured by the Portland Billiard Ball Company of Portland, Maine. The tiles are thin pieces of colorful plastic/celluloid glued or somehow affixed to a hard and slightly curved black base made of…well, I really don’t know what the base of the tile is – perhaps some kind of very rigid plastic or is it wood? If you know, please contact me!

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