Know about the history of electrical Christmas Tree Lights

The little illuminating lights that go up on the Christmas trees for decoration needs no introduction. Before the invention of electricity and light bulbs, Christmas trees were illuminated with the help of the soft glowing lights of the candles. It takes a no brainer to know that any invention involving electricity will be related to Thomas Edison. And, the Christmas tree lights do not fall behind. However, when in 1880, Edison invented the strands of little lights, they were not for decorative purposes.

In order to elaborate on the display of his invention, Thomas Edison hung the strings of lights outside his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

A misconception about the discovery of electric Christmas tree lights

There is a lingering legend circulating that credits Ralph Morris as the inventor of these illuminating electric Christmas tree lights. It all begins when Morris witnesses his son accidentally push a candle over the Christmas tree and setting the tree almost on fire. Seeing this horrifying incident, Morris came up with the idea that involved the pulling of the lights from the old telephone switchboard while wiring them on the Christmas trees. Thereby inventing the Christmas tree lights. The whole incident did take place, but it was nearly more than a quarter-century later, in 1908, after the actual invention of the electric Christmas light bulbs in 1882.

What exactly happened? The actual story.

It was not until two years later, after Thomas Edison’s invention of the strings of lights, were used in decorating a Christmas tree for the very first time. Edward Johnson, a friend, and colleague of Thomas Edison, particularly hand-wired 80 blinking electric Christmas light bulbs in red, blue and white, and wound them around the evergreen tree of his house to decorate it. Hence, showcasing the use of the strings of lights for decorating the Christmas trees.

A teenager popularized the Christmas Tree Lights

A fifteen-year-old teenager, Albert Sadacca, is solely responsible for popularizing the lighting for Christmas trees. The continuing use of candles on the highly flammable trees lead to a horrific, tragic incident in 1917 in New York. The disastrous fire incident gave the teenager an idea. Albert’s family was from Spain, and they happen to be in the novelty business where they sold wicker cages with imitation birds in them, being lit up. Whether this is just a mere coincidence or not is a debatable topic for another day, but Albert suggested his parents to start making electric light bulbs for Christmas trees, which were affordable.

In the first year, only a few hundred strings of lights were sold and making barely any profits. But from the next year, Albert had the idea of painting the tiny bubbles of lights into different colors, which instantly became a hit amongst the common people. The use of electric Christmas tree lights made Christmas a lot safer than the use of candles.

A few more miscellaneous historical facts about the Christmas Tree Lights

  • Initially, most of the Christmas tree lights burned extremely hot. They were equally as dangerous as the candles, that were being advertised to replace. 
  • A majority of the lights were figural lights in the beginning. The figural lights were painted by the toymakers, and these figural lights were made from glass molds, which were also used to make small glass ornaments. Fruits, flowers and holiday figures were mostly used. 
  • There was a superstition in the earlier days that the electric bulbs which are upright burn for a longer duration of time. Therefore, the earliest decorators of Christmas trees spent enormous hours of their working time making sure that the lights were in an upright position. 
  • In the early days, liting up a Christmas tree was considered as a symbol of social status. The cost of illuminating a Christmas tree was not cheap. In fact, it included the cost of a generator along with the services of a wireman and the electric lights. The whole costing adds up to $300, in today's time it is nearly $2000. And this isn’t cheap for the common man.


And the Christmas saga continues…

Even after decades, Christmas is still very special. It is the season to feast, spend vacations with family, and indulge in gifting the loved one. And how can one not mention Santa Claus when Christmas is mentioned.    

So take out your Christmas tree light sets and decorate your family Christmas tree. If you are in need of need sets of Christmas tree lights, then check out for a wide range of Christmas light sets. Find the most expansive and the brightest collection of Christmas tree lights along with other Christmas decoration. And, now that you know the history behind the Christmas tree lights, share it with your family while decorating the Christmas tree and the hallways.


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