The Billiken Salt Shaker

Pictures of Shakers AGSSSC Members Collect

The Billiken Salt Shaker took first place as the "Ugliest Salt Shaker" at the AGSSSC 2007 Convention. Bob and Carole Bruce had searched the Internet some time before, curious where the name came from and what it represented. They were surprised and amused by the story so they thought it would be interesting to others, especially since it is a relatively rare salt shaker. Study the pictures below of this "amusing character" and then read the Bruces' article that first appeared in Volume xx of The Pioneer.

The Billiken Salt Shaker

The God of Things As They Ought To Be

The Billiken Salt Shaker

The Billiken Salt Shaker

Brief Summary of the Billiken

Bob and Carole Bruce

The design was patented in 1908. It is said that an art teacher and illustrator got the vision of the character in a dream. It was then reportedly named Billiken after President William Taft by the Horsman Dolls, Inc. Company who had earlier enjoyed success with the Teddy Bear named after president Roosevelt. It soon became quite a craze - "Billikenmania".

The Billiken has been described as "a chubby character with pixie ears, fat cheeks and an ear-to-ear grin". It is inscribed with the words "THE GOD OF THINGS AS THEY OUGHT TO BE". Legend has it that the Billiken has three kinds of luck: good, better and best. To buy a Billiken gives the buyer luck. To have one given to you is better luck. The best luck comes if the Billiken is stolen. This was not known of course by attendees to the convention as it remained on the table long after all had parted.

Also of interest is that the Billiken is currently the mascot for the Saint Louis University. There is some controversy why they adopted the Billiken as their mascot. One story is that a sportswriter felt the football coach looked like the Billiken. A Billiken statue is shown on their website that we assume is located in its proper place at the University. If further interested in the story, just type Billiken into Google.

From The Pioneer: Favorite Articles and/or Members' Shakers