Christmas lights were invented in 1882, by Edward H. Johnson.
Today’s post is written by Ivy Ray, Senior Procurement Specialist at SafeSourcing Inc.
We have all come to look forward to and enjoy the beautiful displays of lights which have become one of the bright traditions of the holiday season. We have certainly come a long way from when Christmas trees were lit with actual candles. These were later replaced by lanterns and glass bulbs, which were still considered a fire hazard, so they were usually not lit until Christmas Eve.
The tradition of string lights was not a thing until long after the first string of Christmas lights were invented in 1882, by Edward H. Johnson, who was a friend and associate of Thomas Edison. The first electric tree lights were displayed in New York. This was actually displayed in order to win a bid on a contract to power all of Manhattan with electricity. President Grover Cleveland requested lights on the White House Christmas tree in 1894, but the tradition didn’t take off until President Calvin Coolidge started with the lighting of the National Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve 1923.
The first-string lights were considered pricey and too expensive for the average person to afford. A single set of lights cost $12.00 to rent for the holiday season which would run you more than $300 in today’s dollars. There have been many types of bulbs and string lights created since the original, but none really took hold until over 80 years later, when General Electric developed its new Merry Midget mini lights in 1966. These lights were smaller, cheaper, and more outdoor-friendly, and more people began lighting their Christmas trees and houses all over the country.
In recent years, tube lights, track lighting, and LED Christmas lights have become popular for decorating both indoors and out. These lights take up less power, and really show the advancement of Christmas lights. Today an estimated 150 million light sets are sold in America each year, and they light 80 million homes and consume 6 percent of the nation’s electrical load each December.
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