BY: 1000 Bulbs Blog, http://History.com
Christmastime! It sneaks up on us just about every year, but at the same time, there is just something special about the crisp and colder temperatures, the festive music always on the radio, a crackling fire by the warm hearth and the aroma of hot-out-of-the-oven sugar cookies mingled with the scent of fresh-cut pine trees. And nothing makes the holiday’s as the beautiful twinkling of Christmas lights, strung from end-to-end on neighbor’s homes, throughout the town square, and around trees big and small in homes, yards, and stores just about everywhere in America.
Thomas Edison may be famous for the light bulb, but it was his partner and friend, Edward Hibberd Johnson, who had the bright idea of stringing bulbs around a Christmas tree in New York in 1882. By 1914, the lights were being mass-produced and now some 150 million sets of lights are sold in the U.S. each year.
While Christmas lights have been one of the most popular decorations in the last century, it wasn’t until 1882, three years after Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, that Edward H. Johnson created the first Christmas lights in his home in New York City. He hand-wired his tree with 80 red, white, and blue globe lights that blinked and twinkled while the tree slowly revolved.
But Christmas lights weren’t made available for commercial sale until 1890, and their cost was prohibitive for most families. They were more a symbol of status among the wealthy and many people rented lights instead of buying them outright. One set of 24 Christmas lights could sell for $12.00—considering the average person made about $9 a week, this was far too extravagant for the typical family. In addition, the service of a wireman was required and, if the house was not electrically powered, a generator was needed.
Outdoor Christmas lights did not become mainstream for the average family until the 1930s. By then, twinkling electric lights also adorned stores, community Christmas trees, and government buildings. General Electric began to sponsor community Christmas lighting competitions in the 1920s, and by the 1950s it was commonplace to see rows of houses bedazzled by bulbs of many colors. Mini Christmas lights, invented in the 1970s, diversified the landscape by offering clear and white Christmas lights, which have become a favorite, particularly with city parks and businesses who desire color consistency across their displays.
In 2021, the places to experience Christmas lights are as numerous as the types of lights available. Driving around recommended neighborhoods with everyone jammed into the car has become a beloved tradition for many families.
You’ll often see mini string lights and micro light stringers because of their versatility. Available in either incandescent or LED technologies and in a wide range of color options, these Christmas lights are the perfect addition to almost any Christmas lighting design. Micro light stringers are ideal for door wreaths and mantle decorations.