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Author Topic: Christmas Lighting Eras?  (Read 13203 times)

Offline Chris W. Millinship

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Christmas Lighting Eras?
« on: November 02, 2001, 05:44:00 pm »
There`s something always puzzled me about the definition of the different eras of Christmas lighting. As far as I understand it, we have-

Vintage- pre 1946.
Modern- 1946 to 1990.
Current- 1991 to the present day.

Does anyone know why 1946 was chosen as the break-point between Vintage and Modern? Now, I`m sure I`m not the only one who thinks it is a little early (especially when I apply this to my collection and find I have few that I could officially call Vintage)- I for one, would not classify a set of lights made in 1947 as "Modern". 1960s maybe, would make more this is why I`m writing this- who was it that came up with those designations, and why? I`m curious to know.


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Offline Chris W. Millinship

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Christmas Lighting Eras?
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2001, 05:52:00 pm »
BTW Tim, your existing Confused icon doesn`t work against the black background of the forums- his little question marks dissapear against it.

So I modified it- if it works out right, you might like this one in its place, if it`s possible to change it?


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Offline Bousquet

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Christmas Lighting Eras?
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2001, 11:08:00 pm »

I assume that you're referring to the eBay definitions of "vintage," "modern," and "current".  World War II ended in 1945, and many significant social changes began shortly after that (e.g., baby boom, industrial boom, changing role of women, suburbanization).  In the realm of light bulbs, bubble lights -- if I'm not mistaken -- were released in 1946, although they had been invented before that date.

I agree with your reservation, though.  I, too, consider 1950s-era lights "vintage".  Maybe the baby boomers don't want to be called anything but "modern" !

Woody Bousquet

PS  Perhaps the vintage/modern split should be set when C-6 bulbs pretty much disappeared.  When was that?  About 1965?

Offline Chris W. Millinship

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Christmas Lighting Eras?
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2001, 06:27:00 pm »
Yep, I was primarily referring to Ebay`s definitions, but I believe those come from some sort of "official" designation in the Christmas collecting community as a whole- perhaps originating from that secretive little organisation- the Golden Glow, or perhaps from somewhere else.

Your suggestion is a good one- I suppose historically speaking, 1946 is very recent indeed and certainly what with the technomological advances made between then and now, this particular era could quite rightly be referred to as the "modern era". And even though things do move so fast today, in the world of decorative lighting, the last 10 years could rightly be called "current" seeing as though many lights that were first made in the 90s are still made today in exactly the same way. I also believe it was around 1990 that European legislation made all UK light sets change from that nice thin flexible wire, to this thick tangly double-insulated muck that we have to put up with today. OK, it`s safer, but I preferred it the old way.

Anyway, maybe now as time moves on and we are in a new century, the official designations should change? Maybe move it on a bit- I like your idea of using the date C6 lights were discontinued- I believe it was the mid 70s that they were last made, and being only a "little`un", not knowing the 70s myself, that would make much more sense. I think more and more new collectors are younger too, a new generation of collectors are coming along who look back at C6 lights in much the same way as some older collectors look at Bubble lights.

The main thing that got me thinking about this topic, is my web site- please excuse the blatant advertising, but it`s all due for a re-launch which I`m aiming to do on December 1st- a lot of work to do up to that date including the first of my boxed light sets go up in those currently empty galleries. I was thinking about whether to use these official designations to split the galleries into, or whether to use a designation of my own (which I originally thought about doing), much like I do with the light bulbs at present. Well let`s face it, I can count the number of officially antique (ie, 100 years old or more) light bulbs in my collection on one hand.
If 1946 turns out to be an important cutoff point relating to the Xmas lighting industry, maybe I should stick to it. But if it were just chosen arbritarily or due to unrelated factors, maybe I should come up wiht my own date for my galleries.
Also it seems I`ve as much post-1980s lights as I do pre-1980, and hardly any pre-1946, so the galleries would be more balanced.

What does everyone think? I`m open to suggestions- do I stick to convention, or do I make my own rules?

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