Soon after Thomas Edison developed the light bulb that could be used for commercial use, the idea of Christmas tree lights was one of the first applications. Before the discovery of electricity candles were used as Christmas lights. The dangers of this were of major concern at the times.
As time evolved the candles had glass covers, or metal lanterns with small wicks and were hung on the trees like ornaments on Christmas trees. Think about doing that in this day and age: a recipe for a burning house.
Even with the dangers it took many years for holiday tree lights to become commercially available. It’s said that the idea of these lights came from Edison’s assistant, Edward Johnson: he had the bulbs made specially for his house and he displayed them his Christmas tree lights at his home on New York City.
From these humble beginnings the Christmas tree lights went through many changes before General Electric introduced them commercially. The early days of lights on Christmas trees was night lights strung together to make long stings of lights. You may have seen these in some old pictures. Those large bulbs that would shatter into a million pieces when they hit the floor.
Christmas mini lights were introduced in the mid to late 1970’s. There have been many changes to the original Christmas lights but for the most part they are the same. Sales have climbed as application for these lights have changed to not just decorating the tree but also used as outdoor Christmas lights. Icicle lights are the most popular and are seen on most homes that use outdoor lighting at Christmas time. Outdoor decorative lighting has become one of the most popular types and can become somewhat of a competition among neighbors. Many people will use animated Christmas lights that can create a spectacular scene and some are even animated.
Many of the lights used now are led lights. They are long lasting and if one light goes out the whole string will still work, not like the old days, if one light was out you had to go through one by one to figure out the bad bulb. And with some holiday light strings of 100 or more, it was not a fun task. So make sure before you purchase your next set of Christmas lights that it says on the box that you don’t have to replace a bad bulb to make the whole string of lights work.