Monday, December 6, 2010

A Hand-Me-Down I Can Get Behind

Last year, i started trying to build a collection of select Shiny Brites and other Christmas tree ornaments from yesteryear. I had my parents on the look out for a never know what they'll find along their travels between the NW US and BC.

They were successful in finding a few non-coated ones at a shop for me. Then my mom mentioned that i needed to exercise caution, as she had some things in the attic that might be what i was looking for.

During the spring clean, she found what she was looking for. My grandma's Christmas ornaments. Everything in there was in decent shape for the most part, aside from a few broken bulbs that were causalities of a trip from CT to ID, via their brief interlude in AZ. Some of the tops are rusty, some of the finishes are flaking. For me, that just adds to their charm.

So this year, rather than pull out all our Christmas trimmings, we are keeping it simple. We've erected our Fake Fir and Cookie and i decked it out this week. Here are a few samples of the eye candy hanging from our tree.

An ornament depicting the town i'd love to call home...maybe it's in Vermont.
Vermont would be nice.
What can you say bad about a place with fresh maple syrup and Bernie Sanders?
These grapes are great...we have some in blue also.

This is one of the Brites that isn't coated with the silver on the inside. Curiously, there was another one that's an exact replica that is coated, so Cookie decided it was a good idea to hang them together for the chance to give her friends a quick history lesson when they see our tree. :)

Incase you don't know, there was a businessman named Eckardt in the early 1900's that started importing handblown glass ornaments from Germany, as it became popular here in the States to bedeck your trees. In the 30's, knowing a war was on the horizon that could damage his importing business, he teamed up with Corning Glass Co.'s lightblub division to make Shiny Brites. Once WWII's rations took effect, the silver lining and lacquer for the Brites where in short supply, thus leaving bulbs translucent glass.
Some of the Brites were sold plainly, straight off the assembly line at Woolworth's. Other's were taken to the businessman's factory, where they were hand painted.

One thing i've read is that toward the latter part of the war around '43, the bulbs were actually made with paper tops or cardboard as the metal caps and hooks were victims to the war's needs and stock had ran out.
One way to tell if you have pre-war or during the war or post-war Brites is the stamp on the cap.
"Made in the US of A" = pre-war/war era
"Made in the USA" = post-war
And of course, if the stamp reads Germany on it, then that is definitely pre-war. :)
I was afraid to combine any of this set with our ornaments, for fear of not remembering what's who's. However, seems the frugality of Grandma's generation will help me decipher who's are who's--she used bent bobby pins and old wire to fashion many of her ornament hooks. Some of the ornaments have simple string on them for hanging.
Makes me like this even that much better.

I wonder what my grandma would have had to say about her great-granddaughter hanging her collection of ornaments on our tree this year?
One thing is for sure, i am very thankful that my parent's saved these treasures!


  1. Love your tree, well mainly the ornaments. We have a bunch of the blacksmith's grandmothers ornaments. I even have one that still have the paper tag where it ws made. IF I ever get my tree up, I will try to do a post on it.
    Happy holidays!

  2. I'll bet she is looking down on you with a huge smile on her face!



Thanks for taking the time to read my silly lil musings. Hope you have a wonderful day!