Mah Jongg is not just a game. It has become a part of my life that allows me to entertain my Mah Jongg-playing friends, cook great meals to serve to them and test my mental skills during our game play (which, hopefully, is often).
I have the same set from France, which I snapped up as a Buy It Now at a very reasonable price, as I’d never seen one like it before. Like Mark, I’m not sure if this was produced before the Pung Chow factory was set up, or after it folded; either is possible… The box measures 290x155x90mm, made from finger-jointed wood stained red, with a slide top, a separator for the celluloid counting sticks cut-out to assist removal of the 4 trays solidly made from the same stained wood. The gorgeous tiles measure 30x22x10mm with 45/55 white/red Pyralin (celluloid), sharp corner on top and rounded on the red – there is some colour variation on the red. The designs are fairly standard; simple Circles, complex wan Craks, separated rod Bamboos, swooping crane Bambird. There are a few tiles missing; 1-7 Cracks + 2 Craks; 1 Bamboo; 1 Red + 1 Green Dragon; no Flowers. I’m not sure if the flowers were deliberately omitted, emulating a Chinese set, or if they got lost.. but my friend Johni sent me pics of the Flowers if I ever try to re-create them..
Tony – thank you so much for chiming in…I KNEW you would have information on this gorgeous set!
I received an email from our friend Mark who had just scored big time with this amazing L.L. Haar set. I am drooling over this set and would give anything to own one like this! Check out these beautiful photos but first, I will tell you what Mark had to say about it…
I wanted to pass along some photos of an unusual set I purchased recently. It came in a wooden box with a slip-in top. There is a brass name plate with “Harr Products, Inc.”, so I’m assuming it was produced by L.L. Harr. Mr. Harr also was responsible for Pung Chow sets, so why the different name, I’m not sure. I have seen that Pung Chow went out of business in 1925, and Mr. Harr passed away in 1931, so I’m at a loss on when, where and why this manufacturer produced sets.
It is a two tone (Ivory white fronts and cherry red backs) set that appears to be a Pyralin-like material. It has the flipping crane one bams that are common on Pung Chow sets, but the flowers are completely different.
I noticed your request for unusual set photos when researching the similarity between Coronet and Pung Chow graphics. I’m sure you’re aware the flipping crane one bam and flowers are almost identical between the two, but I can’t seem to find out why. If you have any information on this similarity, I’d love to hear.
If anyone knows the answer to Mark’s questions, please let us know! But for now, enjoy these photos!
Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am over the moon for Pung Chow Mah Jongg sets. Pung Chow was a company based in Worcester, Massachusetts (with another factory in New York) and only in existence for 3 years from 1922 – 1925 before declaring bankruptcy. But in those three short years they manufactured some very unusual and very beautiful Mah Jongg sets. Although they made sets out of wood, I am crazy about the two-toned pyralin tiles with their ivory colored fronts and shiny black backs. And the Flowers are just too fabulous – the little men, sometimes just outlined in black but every once in a while beautifully colored. Here are three identical sets in sweet black boxes with four small drawers holding the counters and other accessories and then one large drawer holding the tiles.
These three sets have the black outlined Flowers. But of course, the trademarked Silver Dragon can be found in any and all Pung Chow sets. And the shiny black backs are part of the Pung Chow two-toned look.
The Dots are beautiful and the One Bam is the swooping crane that I have discussed previously – with just a hint of a smile on its face. The pyralin substance really does simulate the color of ivory and it maintains its color over time.
Whenever I pull out one of my Mah Jongg sets, I always ooh and aah and declare that particular set to be my favorite. I feel fortunate that I love all of my sets so much. But, i do think this pyralinPung Chow set is really and truly my favorite. I love everything about it. Those silver Dragons! Those 1-Bams! The beautiful black backs! Those amazing Dots! The bold Craks! Are you getting the feeling that I am over the moon about this set?
Every three or four months our Mahj group – made up of six very good friends (alternatively known as “The OMs” for original Mahjettes…or “Mahj Chicks” by Jim) – take off for parts unknown. Well, not really unknown…we have gone to S’s home in Sag Harbor, K’s home in Buck Hill, a home in Old Chatham and most recently, a home belonging to X’s relative in upstate New York.We spend three days and two nights really never leaving the host’s home, just playing Mahj from early, early morning to late, late night and cooking up a storm.