Fun historical facts about Christmas lights.
Christmas lights actually started out as candles. Candles were attached to the tree using wax or pins. During the seventeenth century, Germany began this practice. And it spread over the next 200 or so years and it became an established practice in Germany and spread out into other countries of Eastern Europe.
Fredrick Nash and the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce in Altadena, California is believed to have organized the first outdoor public electric light Christmas display.
It’s no surprise Thomas Edison not only created the light bulb, but he also created the first strand of electric lights. During the Christmas season of 1880, these strands were strung around the outside of his Menlo Park Laboratory. It is said that railroad passengers traveling by the laboratory got their first look at an electrical light display. It was almost forty years later before electric Christmas lights became the tradition that we all practice in our homes and towns.
Thank goodness for electric Christmas lights! When families would use candles to light up their Christmas trees, it was dangerous. Many homes experienced fires with this practice. Edward Johnson decided to do something different in 1882. He put the first string of electric Christmas tree lights together. He was Thomas Edison’s friend and partner in the Edison’s Illumination Company, hand-wired eighty red, white and blue light bulbs and decorated his Christmas tree with them. The lights illuminated his tree with electricity, and it also revolved.
I love bubbling Christmas lights, don’t you? Thanks to Carl Otis of Albany New York, he came up with the idea of a bubbling Christmas light. He sent rough prototypes out to ten companies in the business. Bubble lights are a string of lights for the Christmas tree that contain a fluid-filled base. When turned on, heat causes the liquid to boil giving the appearance of bubbling. The liquid might be water or a lightweight oil but is typically methylene chloride, the same solvent found in paint strippers.
Many towns have showcased a light display for years, and throughout those years, they’ve grown even more spectacular and draw large crowds to enjoy them, along with hot chocolate, carolers, and carriage rides. Since I was little, Springboro, has celebrated Christmas by decorating and lighting a huge tree in the center of town and invited vendors selling crafts and food each year. I’m sure many of your towns have done the same in the past and continue to do so now.
For me, Jesus is the reason for the season, and His birth lights my world each and every day. And I love Christmas, and the lights bring a lot of beauty and joy to the season.
I wish you a very Merry Christmas, and that it brings you much joy! To celebrate, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon card to a winner. So, in the comments below, enter your name, email, and tell me your favorite Christmas cookie to enter for a chance to win! I’ll post the winner in my January historical blog right here, but I will notify the winner before the end of December!
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