News

History of Christmas lights: From candles to LEDs

History of Christmas lights: From candles to LEDs

SHINE BRIGHT: Christmas decorations used to be a lot more dangerous. Photo: clipart.com

Christmas decorations were simpler before electricity. And more dangerous.

For centuries, people used candles to light their homes in the dark days of winter. When they started putting up Christmas trees, they lit those with candles, too. Which led to a lot of fires.

That began to change once Thomas Edison created the first practical light bulb. Edison also was apparently the first to put electric lights outdoors at Christmas. The Library of Congress says he strung some together and hung them outside his Menlo Park, N.J., laboratory during the Christmas season of 1880.

Two years later, Edison’s friend and partner Edward Johnson wired 80 red, white and blue light bulbs together and wound them around his Christmas tree. For added drama, he made the tree revolve.

In 1895, President Grover Cleveland ordered mutli-colored electric light bulbs for the White House family tree.

But electric Christmas lights were expensive and remained a rarity until 1903, when General Electric began to offer pre-assembled Christmas light kits. Their popularity grew after a novelty lighting company owned by Albert Sadacca and his brothers began selling strings of lights to the public. Their company cornered the Christmas light market until the 1960s.

Today China is the primary producer of Christmas lights, particularly the energy-saving LED variety, because of its plentiful cheap labor and large supplies of the necessary raw materials.

What's On 'KLH?

Help the Kids!

MirMar2015_int_wp

Dave & Carole’s Miracle Marathon LIVE at Children’s Hospital! Donate now…

Hire Me MKE

HireMeMKE_620x400

Looking for a job around the Milwaukee area? Check out some openings>>

Wanna Play DJ?

HEYMOM

You can host your own show Sunday night at 6 on ‘KLH!

Recent Headlines

in Sports

Aaron Hernandez has a new, mystery tattoo

Fresh
aaronhernandez

There were two "appearances" from former NFL player and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez in court yesterday.

in Music

Roger Daltrey stops The Who to scold pot smoker

Fresh
rogerdaltrey

The Who star Roger Daltrey lost his cool at a gig in Long Island, New York on Wednesday and halted…

in Sports

NFL: Another lawsuit filed against the league

Fresh
nfl

Hundreds of former players allege that team doctors provided painkillers as part of a decades-long conspiracy to keep them on the field.