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.

Recent Headlines

in Music

Miley Cyrus defends weed photos

Fresh
Miley Cyrus performing live on stage on 'The Bangerz Tour' concert at Forum di Assago.

Miley Cyrus has defended her decision to publish pictures of her cannabis habit online, insisting she does not promote drug-taking to kids or feature it in her songs.

in Entertainment, Lifestyle

Kirsten Dunst criticizes Apple over naked photo leak

Fresh
Kirsten Dunst arrives at the 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Kirsten Dunst was among a number of celebrities targeted by a hacker who published reams of explicit personal pictures on the Internet.

in Entertainment, Sports

Carrie Underwood expecting her first child

Fresh
underwood

Singer Carrie Underwood and her pro hockey player husband Mike Fisher are expecting their first child.

in Music

Dozens arrested at Made in America music festival

Fresh
made

The two-day festivals in Philly and L.A. kept police busy.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: Boy’s hilarious reaction to baby news

Updated
19-overlay3

This little boy is NOT excited about being a big brother again, but his reaction is priceless.