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 Archive: 2001 Version of this Site


This archive is courtesy of Fred Fox, proprietor of Noel-Kat a Vintage Christmas Light and Decoration Store.
Click to visit Fred's Noel-Kat store.

All destinations in blue are hyperlinks-just click, and away you'll go...

Home Page-  Introduction and an overview of what this site is all about.

A Brief History- Information about how the electric Christmas lighting industry got started, a picture of the first electric Christmas tree, and information about the earliest days of electric Christmases.

An Illustrated Timeline- A listing and description of many of the major events in the history and development of electric Christmas lighting.

  • Page 1- Events from 1881-1921

  • Page 2- Events from 1922-1970

Hints and Helps on Dating your Lights- Here is a compilation of much of the information presented elsewhere on this site that will help you to assign an approximate date of manufacture to your vintage lighting collectible. This feature has been requested by many of this site's visitors, and is now available! 

Manufacturer's Histories- This section provides information about many of the major Christmas lighting manufacturers, and is illustrated with vintage photographs of some of the early factories and shops.

  • Page 1- A chart of many of the pre-1925 companies in business and a discussion of the formation of NOMA Electric.

  • Page 2- Post-1930 companies and some interesting facts about some of the major companies.

  • Page 3- Pictures of early electric lighting dealers. (Functional, but still under construction).

The Patent Pages- Here you'll find information on a lot of the patents for early electric Christmas decorations and lights, as well as tree stands and a few other Christmas related inventions. Also images of Edison's patent for the first practical light bulb-the one that started it all! Each of the patents has a clickable image of the inventor's drawing with it. Very interesting and informative.

  • Page 1- Patent numbers      72,506 to 1.350,710

  • Page 2- Patent numbers 1,351,562 to 1,895,656

  • Page 3- Patent numbers 1,905,500 to 2,174,446

  • Page 4- Patent numbers 2,248,117 to 2,453,178

  • Page 5- Patent numbers 2,453,695 to 2,569,078

  • Page 6- Patent numbers 2,683,210 to 2,936,144

The Pre-Electric Era- This section is devoted to some of the devices used to light Christmas trees before the dawn of the Electric Age. Some very interesting devices here!

Vintage Advertising- A lot can be learned from old advertisements, and this section presents images of ads for some very early lighting outfits as well as some of the many wonderfully-colored offerings from the 1940s.

  • Page 1- Starting at 1898, advertisements for the earliest outfits and lamps.

  • Page 2- Colorful advertisements from Propp and NOMA.

  • Page 3- More from NOMA, and ads from Edison and Sylvania.

The Light Sets-Picture and Information Galleries- By far the largest division of this site, this is the place to come to date and identify the lighting outfits in your collection. Profusely illustrated and constantly growing, the lighting outfits are presented in the approximate order of their arrival on the market. The pages and sections are divided into specific time periods for your convenience.

       Gateway to the Lights!

  • 1900-1920, page 1- The earliest lighting sets, rental outfits, and wooden boxed light sets.

  • 1900-1920, page 2- The National Ever Ready Company, Battery outfits, and the earliest figural lights

  • 1900-1920, page 3- More on figural lights, carbon light bulbs and colors, and various socket styles for lighting festoons. More on early sets.

  • 1900-1920, page 4- (reserved for future expansion).

  • 1920-1930, page 1- Cardboard boxed lighting sets of the early 1920s-with many pictures. 

  • 1920-1930, page 2- More boxed sets, with pictures, descriptions and dates.

  • 1920-1930, page 3- Still more boxed sets, the earliest twinkling lights, and the first outdoor lamps and outfits.

  • 1920-1930, page 4- Celluloid lights, NOMA Dresden lights, and early electric tree toppers.

  • 1930-1940, page 1- A bit on Matchless Stars, Kristal Stars, NOMA Detecto outfits and hints on dating your outfits

  • 1930-1940, page 2- Lots of 1930s era boxed sets with pictures and descriptions, and ornament lights.

  • 1930-1940, page 3- Lots more boxed sets, and Mazda Bells.

  • 1930-1940, page 4- Plastic Character bell lights, Mickey Mouse, Popeye, etc.

  • 1930-1940, page 5- (Learn More About: Matchless Wonder Stars) The history of Matchless Stars.

  • 1940-1950, page 1- Christmas lights and World War II, NOMA wooden toys, Wartime box variations and Paramount Star Lites.

  • 1940-1950, page 2- NOMA bubble light sets, fire retardant chemicals and Christmas lights, lots of pictures. 

  • 1940-1950, page 3- Rare NOMA bubble light colors, Paramount oil bubble lights, Goodlite and Peerless Shooting Stars, Royal Bubble Lights.

  • 1940-1950, page 4- Sylvania Fluorescent Christmas light bulbs, Royal and Miller fluorescent sets, NOMA Glo Ray outfits, and lots of boxed light sets from the 1940s. 

  • 1940-1950, page 5- (Learn More About: Bubble Lights) The history behind the invention of bubble lights.

  • Vintage Novelty Lights and Lighted Figures  Here you'll find pictures and information on the myriad lighted figures, wall plaques and novelty lighted objects available during the years 1930 to 1950. This section also covers the highly popular bubble light trees!

  • Vintage Novelty Lights, page 1- Treetop angels, the bubble light Santa and Snowman figures, and other lighted hard plastic figures.

  • Vintage Novelty Lights, page 2- Lighted wall plaques, lighted churches, and a wonderful lighted cardboard musical Nativity scene by ClemCo.

  • Vintage Novelty Lights, page 3- This page covers the highly collected lighted tabletop and bubbling light trees.

  • Vintage Novelty Lights, page 4- You'll find pictures and information about lighted tree stands and the popular Royal bubble light stands here.

The "Learn More About:" Pages- These special pages, accessible at the end of their appropriate sections, will help you to learn more about two special and highly collectable types of Christmas lights:

Interesting and Related Links- Did you know that Christmas lights are still manufactured under the NOMA name? The links page will help you get to NOMA's websites in both the United States and Great Britain, as well as to other companies who sell lights. You'll also find links to antique dealers specializing in antique Christmas lights, other collectors, and to some of the authors of well known Christmas collectibles books! 

Frequently asked Questions- Here are the answers to many of the questions I've been asked since the previous version of this site went online on September 7, 2000. This section is updated frequently, so check back often.

  • Page 1- Here's help with values of your old lighting sets, parts, and a large section on fixing (or relamping) your bubbling lights.

  • Page 2- The continuation of the bubble light repair information, plus some general bubble light questions and a few more technical issues, including determining base sizes of your lights.







Note: This is an archive of the late Bill Nelson's "Antique Christmas Light" web site as it existed in 2001. Except for contact information, link updates, and some information that has been lost, we have attempted to keep the text and illustrations as Bill presented them. However, the original pages included much outdated HTML code and graphic conventions, so we have done a lot of work "behind the scenes" to bring you this archive. Consequently:

  • The original subject matter content and illustrations on the product description pages are Copyright (c) 2001 by Bill Nelson.
  • All updated HTML code, editorial comments, and reformatted illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 2010, 2011, 2013, 1014 by Paul D. Race.
Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically forbidden.
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