Christmas Decorating Ideas – History of Christmas Lights

Christmas Decorating Ideas - Christmas lights

by Kristina Keller-Wilczek on July 31, 2010

in Christmas Decorating Ideas

2000 Capitol Christmas Tree, Architect of the Capitol Web Site

2000 Capitol Christmas Tree, Architect of the Capitol Web Site

Christmas Decorating Ideas – a History of Christmas Lights

As you can imagine, the use of candles attached to a cut Christmas tree for decoration and lighting was hazardous and resulted in many house fires.  The invention of the electric light and the creativity of many inventors eventually led to the widespread availability of prepared Christmas tree lights, but in it’s early days, electricity was not so readily accepted.

In one of the original Christmas decorating ideas, Thomas Edison hung electric lights outside of his Menlo Park Laboratory during the 1880 Christmas season.  They could be seen by passengers in the railroad cars that passed.   An inventor working under Edison named Edward Johnson fashioned a string of these lights with red, white and blue bulbs to wind around his own Christmas tree indoors.  According to the Library of Congress, his tree also revolved.
General Electric Christmas Tree Lights, circa 1903-1904 The Antique Christmas Lights Museum

General Electric Christmas Tree Lights, circa 1903-1904 The Antique Christmas Lights Museum

Later a young man named Albert Sadacca, who‘s family sold ornamental novelty items including lights,  convinced his family to modify some of their products into brightly colored Christmas tree lights.  From the 1920’s to the 1960’s the NOMA Electric Company, which he later formed, held the market on Christmas tree lights.

Thanks to these early creative minds, today we find Christmas tree lights in endless colors, configurations, LED and even solar with equally endless possibilities for decorating.

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