Titanium - The Rainbow Metal
If you can't wrap your head around it, you are not alone! These innovative Living Color Tumblers are colored not by paint, not by dye, but only by light itself!
What some people think...
The funny thing is, some people, to check if this "color-by-light-itself" thing is true or not, take the tumblers into a dark closet (you see where I am going with this here ) and no, they will not see the colors in the dark closet, because there is no light...in fact they will not see anything in a dark closet! But in the light, oh, how they shine! Joyful! Light is a truly amazing phenomenon, and this unique quality is what makes these Tumblers special and the only tumblers in the world that reflect light's colors naturally - But how? Read on!
The Rainbow Metal
It all started with the Rainbow Metal, titanium, a unique alternative material for tumblers quite different from common stainless steel, glass or plastics. Though commonly used in the medical and other industries, other creative uses for contemporary life and enjoyment were not yet well explored...that would require imagination and ingenuity.
Titanium metal not only has amazing light reflective qualities but other benefits as well. It is an ideal, new material, for tumblers because:
Craftsmanship - Engineering Skills
It may seem an unlikely combination, but craftsmanship, design and engineering skills all came into play to create these unique tumblers. From Japan, meet a veteran, metal man, and tumbler designer, Takuji Horie, whose curiosity, determination, and specialized metal-work skills combined to create vivid colors from titanium. Titanium itself has unique properties, but to know what to do with it and how to do it would take expertise, skill and persistence. Enter Mr. Horie.
Mr. Horie's chance encounter with the rainbow metal all began one day when a cheeky neighbor came by his shop with an odd sheet of titanium metal and a request for a garden planter. But titanium was an unfamiliar to him. "To be honest," Mr. Horie admits, "at the time I didn't know anything about titanium!" But, Mr. Horie's curiosity was piqued. He produce that planter and, in the process, discovered a very unique, untapped, underappreciated, and extraordinary quality of titanium: The ability to take on amazing color only from light itself.
Antibacterial, Lightweight - Great for Craft Beer!
A garden planter was one thing, but Horie wondered, how could colors be consistently and reliably produced each and every time and for what use? The truth is, it was his own desire for a good, cold beer, that helped him make the connection to the rainbow metal!
Yet, producing these unique tumblers was a challenge as titanium was not willing to divulge its secrets too easily. Mr. Horie found the surface of this metal to be stubborn, quirky and highly unpredictable. Yet, he and his dedicated team were not easily discouraged. So, they worked for more than three years to develop this new technology, improve, master and perfect until they were able to reliably and consistently produce vibrant living colors.
The Technology of Titanium Colors
But what about titanium? Titanium, one of the most common metals on earth, reacts with oxygen at high temperatures naturally producing a very thin oxidized film on its surface. It is that film, titanium dioxide, that is important for producing colors. According to Mr. Horie, by carefully and precisely controlling the thickness of that film, colors can be created. The film thickness is controlled by applying a precise strength of electrical voltage for a precise amount of time. In the end, when light hits the film - COLORS! As Mr Horie explains, "the color from titanium materializes by controlling the thickness of the titanium oxide (TiO2) film. This is same principle by which rainbow colors appear on a soap bubble."
The technology is innovative.
The execution is precise.
The results are fun and amazing!
Mr. Horie continues to be the only metal-craft company in the world to have mastered this difficult, color-by-light technology. As Mr. Horie himself often says "the only one!"
Off to the Olympics!
For Mr. Horie, titanium for manufacture and metal design holds tremendous, aesthetic opportunities in addition to the Living Color Tumblers. Eager to explore other designs for the rainbow metal, Horie was quite receptive when approached for a new and exciting project across the ocean: The 2012 London Summer Olympics.
The 2012 Summer Olympics in London presented a fantastic opportunity for Mr. Horie to showcase years of effort and work to perfect capabilities for design and coloring with titanium.
Known as the “Stratford Shoal Sculpture”, the glittering forest of titanium "leaves" was a collaborative effort of designers and manufacturers including Mr. Horie, to create a captivating, visual greeting to the tens of thousands of visitors heading to the Olympic Park in the summer of 2012.
The 250-meter sculpture is a spread of steal branches topped with 73 giant “leaves” of titanium that change as the light passes, shines bright and fades in the passing day reflecting to warm reds, yellows, blues and greens. The changing effects of the colors in different light, in fact, were one of the reasons the designers chose titanium as this reflective and changing color quality gives the effect of movement - as if the large leaves were blowing in the wind. This large, colorful sculpture still greets visitors to the area today.
Mr. Horie’s own story, together with his company in Tsubame City in central Japan, is intimately entwined with the history of an area where metalworking dates to the Edo Period back some 400 years. Here metal work began long ago in the area starting with the production of nails. This area is known as a center for metalware production in Japan. It is also world-renowned for metal craftsmanship such as hand-hammered copper work, hand-forged products and the manufacture of products using state-of the art-technology.