This post is a brief history of Christmas lights, chronology taken from Christmas: A Very Peculiar History by Fiona MacDonald. Photos, as always, by me.
Macy’s department store in New York, USA, pioneered special Christmas window displays in the 1870s.
Edward H. Johnson, of Edison Electric Light Company, USA, was the first to decorate his tree with electric light bulbs, in 1882.
In 1904, Christmas lights were first used to decorate outdoor trees, but they were not yet electric.
In 1927, the first organised outdoor Christmas light displays were held in the USA, called ‘Festivals of Lights’.
In 1956, electric lights were first used to decorate outdoor Christmas trees.
Despite the relative safety of electric lights over their predecessors, the US Fire Prevention Authority reported that between 2003-7 fire-fighters were called out to around 250 Christmas tree fires every year.
Christmas light displays have become ever more spectacular over the decades but, with concerns about global energy supplies growing, perhaps their days will soon be numbered?
Beautiful photographs, I have noted a rise in the Christmas outdoor lights, especially private house and garden ones, in the UK over the past years.
I enjoyed reading about the history of lighting displays alongside your photos. We just got back from Christmas in NYC and I found the department store window displays and lights just as magical as they were the last time I was in NYC 40 years ago! ~ Kat
Each one of these photos are wonderful ! A truly fantastic collection.
magnificent photos Rachael.. being a bit green in nature I do always wonder about the lights but there has to be some colour in life too and these certainly provide colour !
Here it seems that switching to LED lights has decreased the electric requirements, but then it seems the number of lights rise to fill the void. But they are beautiful and cheery at a dreary part of the year.