Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wonderful Mid-Century Christmas Lights!


I have these, a wonderful, beautifully graphic box with a set of these. One of what I consider one of my best Thrift store finds (I never find and Heywood-Wakefield or fiberglass lamps or anything cool in the thrifts around here).


But I looked inside my hall closet, filled with holiday boxes of "stuff" and knew it would be an event to try and get that boxed light set out to photograph, so you will have to imagine a really cool 1950's designed box of Christmas Sno-globe light set ha ha.

Meanwhile, here is a little interesting history about Christmas lights:

The tradition of using small candles to light up the Christmas tree dates back to at least the middle of the XVIIth century. However, it took two centuries for the tradition to become widely established first in Germany and soon spreading to Eastern Europe.

Candles for the tree were glued with melted wax to a tree branch or attached by pins. Around 1890, candleholders were first used for Christmas candles. Between 1902 and 1914, small lanterns and glass balls to hold the candles started to be used.

In 1882, the first Christmas tree was lit by the use of electricity. Edward Johnson lighted up a Christmas tree in New York City with eighty small electric light bulb. It should be noted that Edward Johnson created the first string of electric Christmas lights that were then mass produced around 1890. By 1900, department stores started using the new Christmas lights for their Christmas displays.

Edward Johnson was one of Thomas Edison's muckers, an inventor who worked under the direction of Edison. Johnson became vice-president of Edison's electric company.

Safe Christmas Lights
Albert Sadacca was fifteen in 1917, when he first got the idea to make safety Christmas lights for Christmas trees. A tragic fire in New York City involving Christmas tree candles inspired Albert to invent electric Christmas lights. The Sadacca family sold ornamental novelty items including novelty lights. Albert adapted some of the products into safe electric lights for Christmas trees. The first year only one hundred strings of white lights sold. The second year Sadacca used brightly colored bulbs and a multi-million dollar business took-off. Later, a company started by Albert Sadacca (and his two brothers Henri and Leon) called NOMA Electric Company became the largest Christmas lighting company in the world.

And here are some lights from 1927:


Ahh, it's no wonder we see a lot of "Noma" brand light sets. The boxes were so beautifully designed.


No wonder they were a big hit. And much safer on your tree than lit candles.


A couple more 1920's boxed sets with lovely graphics:


Then we transition to Mid-Century boxed set designs:

You can get these at very reasonable prices, because so many were made and kept over the years.


I display them right in their boxes and use modern lights on house and tree (for safety).


So if you don't have any of these wonderfully designed box sets of Christmas lights, be sure to buy at least one to display in your mid-century home!