The History Of The Electric Christmas Light
Everyone loves the bright colorful lights at Christmas time. Whether they’re sparkling on a tree, shining on a wreath, or glowing from a window, these lights have become a real symbol of what the holiday means to Americans. Originally, lights at Christmas time were used in Germany starting around the 17th century. By the 19th century, America had been founded and Thomas Edison’s assistant, a man named Edward Johnson, decided that electric lights would be a terrific decoration. He decided that candles were too dangerous, and electrically illuminated lights were more beautiful and more practical. The first set of Christmas lights were 80 small bulbs that were placed on a tree in New York City. This began a tradition that has now become one of the most commonly recognized symbols of the holiday.
After Mr. Johnson’s invention, stores started to sell electric Christmas lights to consumers. General Electric was one of the first companies to sell these lights, and they cost around $12 for a set. Considering the time, which was around 1903, this was quite a hefty price. Each small bulb had to be screwed into the socket individually, and the kit usually came with one or two extras in case of breakage. Because of the cost, most homes did not use electric lights until the 1950s, when they became much more common and more affordable. Originally, however, the earliest light sets up until 1920 were small bulbs made of glass, but some countries like Europe made fruit and plant shaped bulbs, and Japan created animal shaped bulbs. In 1945, however, Christmas lights called bubble lights became a huge success.
Essentially, bubble lights are Christmas lights that have a long stem resembling a candle that contains a liquid inside. The heat from the light causes the liquid to move and bubble, thus creating an animated effect from within the bulb. A man named Carl Otis was the inventor of these unusual lights, and they were a huge success until around the mid 1960s, although one can still find them on trees around the country today. People still love to collect old, antique Christmas lights because it reminds them of a time gone by, when the world was still new and innocent, and the spirit of Christmas rang through the neighborhoods, accented by bright lights.
Christmas lights have evolved into an old time tradition that bring joy, excitement, and serenity throughout the world in many variations. From Johnson's original electric lights evolving into animal lights in Japan, fruit shaped lights in Europe to bubble lights and many others. For the next holiday season, when you are placing the final Christmas lights on your tree you may be more thankful for the beauty they give you and your family for the holiday season.