The Origin of the Tiki Torches

The longstanding fascination with all things South Pacific first started way back in history, when English explorer Captain James Cook first made contact with islanders in the South Seas starting in 1769. Since that time a wave of Tiki themed restaurants, bars, gambling casinos and resorts around the world have come to depend of the symbolism of Tiki culture to enthrall, and captivate audiences, crowds and tourists everywhere in the world.

Squarely rooted in Polynesian/Hawaiian civilizations the Tiki Empire has stretched across land and sea to arrive in the Americas sometime around the 1930’s. First introduced in the United States by Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt. After spending many years sailing the South Seas and becoming familiar with the rites and customs of the Polynesian people, Ernest wound up living in Los Angeles, California where he remodeled an old tailer he discovered off Hollywood Boulevard. He set up some stools and a few tables, created a menu filled with exotic Polynesian food and served tropical rum drinks to top it off. He names the bar ” Don the Beachcomber ”. He loved his bar so much that he even had his name legally changed to match it.


Word of mouth quickly spread about this one of kind establishment and once the stars of Hollywood caught on, it became an instant success which lasted up until his passing in 1989. Even the New York Times marked his passing with a brief obituary citing ”Don” as the inventor of Tiki Pop culture and he was credited with the concocting of over 84 bar drinks.

Imagine the journey he must have had making all of those magnificent Polynesian Island discoveries. Obviously, Tiki torches¬†¬†originally began being used in the Polynesian islands, where the word Tiki itself means wood, or stone items carved out to look like one of the cultures revered gods. The torches often carried deep spiritual significance and served to symbolize many things such as a bountiful harvest, calm seas, fair weather or even a happy child birth. Tiki torches are still utilized as a part of religious ceremonies which are designed to pay homage to the divine gods of Tiki society. In Polynesian culture, these ” torches of flame” were designated to be the representation of Pele, the Goddess of Flame and Light.

tiki torches

Tiki torches have continued to develop over the decades since their discovery by Western civilization. They have become increasingly modernized and are now being manufactured in a plethora of different styles, materials and light technology. Are you ready for a LED Tiki? Well, you can get as many as you want! Need something more permanent that requires little attention on your part? Connect modern iron Tiki Torches directly to a gas main and install a control switch. Voila! Instant Tiki on demand!! There is literally no limit to the variations of Tiki torches available to purchase.

No matter which way you decide to go, it is almost guaranteed that somewhere in the world the perfect Tiki torch is waiting just for you! Heck, you can even get Tiki torches that burn citronella to help keep the biting bugs away from your guests while they enjoy the Luau. Now, how is that for modern convenience?

So,yeah, Hooray for the Tiki Torch ! It has traveled a long way through time and across borders, just so you and I can enjoy it’s calm, flickering glow as we close our eyes and let the everyday grind of sky-high office towers, bumper to bumper traffic and overpopulated cities slowly melt away in a mirage of sand and surf, sun soaked days and rum drenched nights and the sound of someone softly strumming a ukulele somewhere in our mind.


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