Posted 5 months ago
This Toyo cast iron ashtray is 8.25" long x 6" wide x 1.5" high and is signed in the mold and labeled on the bottom. I think it is dressed up to look like bronze or brass with its green patina and brass inlay lettering in the ash holder. This piece pushed a couple of my buttons. First is the Toyo association. I have seen a lot of Toyo Japan marked pottery and metal pieces. I don't know if Toyo made stuff or just distributed housewares, but I suspect they were a distributor since their product line was pretty varied. The fact that this piece is signed in the mold supports that, I think. I have also seen quite a few house ware items marked Toyo Taiwan, China and Korea but do not know if that is the same company. The labels are different so those were/are probably different companies. I think Toyo Japan was active 1950s-1980s. My research into the Toyo company of Japan is ongoing and I welcome any input into this investigation.
Secondly is the claim that this is Nambu Tekki cast iron which I am not sure that I believe.
"The name “Nanbu” or “Nambu” has its origin from a feudal clan called Nanbu-Han. This clan ruled the northeastern part of Honshu for over 700 years. The Nambu clan established the cast iron industry in the region, and since the area had easy to access resources to make ironware, the industry quickly established.
However, Nanbu-Han leaders in the 17th century had bigger plans, and they wanted their lands to grow economically and culturally. So they invited well-respected artisans across Japan to help make and improve what would later be called Nanbu Tekki.
The plan worked, and the ironware became a local specialty. And the ironware became treasured gifts among feudal lords and the ruling classes. The ironware was also very expensive, with very few being able to afford such a luxury item.
It’s still expensive today for the bespoke kettles and teapots from local artisans. But fortunately for us, technology has advanced, and we don’t need to be a Lord to be able to afford a Japanese kettle."
If I can decipher the maker's mark on the bottom, that may prove of disprove if it is Nambu Tekki cast iron. I have my eye on a couple of pieces which definitely are Nambu Tekki and may add them to my pile next month.
Finally, this cost quite a bit less than similar pieces are selling for and it is a big chunk of cast iron as well with free shipping.