Talk about vintage Christmas lights

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:38 pm 
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A reader writes:

I found this string of lights. Don't remember where I turned it up. HOWEVER in the first photo is an EARLY set of Haciendas likely prior to 1933 when they stopped using the raffia type fences. It has a string of tiny bulbs in it but don't look like they would work and would be afraid to try it if they did. However this other string (which also has issues) does work. My question is HOW early are either of these strings? The Japanese started using tiny holes in lighted houses in the mid 1930's as best I can tell. Would these have dated to 34 or 35? If so it is reasonable to think the Japanese when they made tiny holes in tiny houses had a good reason to do so as strings like this might have existed? Just a historical question I have been wondering about.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:46 pm 
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We may have discussed this offline, or maybe it was a similar set. I can't help wondering if the lamps themselves aren't indicator lamps from car dashboards or some other piece of equipment. Which doesn't address your question about the houses with the little holes.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:46 pm 
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The reader added:

The working string is marked Paramount if that helps.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 3:26 pm 
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The reader added: [My apologies, but the photos downloaded in the wrong sequence, so when he says "the first photo," etc., you have to look for the photo he's describing down in the list of photos.]

This is mainly going to be a photo montage. First the little lackie house with a normal size hole but demonstrates that an ordinary C6 cone style bulb does not work very well. The dimensions on the oblique building are; base 2 7/8" long and 1 3/4" wide. It is 2 1/2" high and the light hole 7/9" in diameter. Note that the front entrance (replaced roof) has light showing through the front door as it had a hole punched through the outside wall, much detail in this tiny house. The "grass" is a tan ish sort of green coconut, also note that the cone light sticks out too far. The next house is a red white and blue little ornament house with provision for lighting - I am going to use some of Pete's coconut on it I think while I have it out. The base is 2 3/8" long and 1 1/2" wide and 2" tall with a light hole that is 7/16" in diameter. The last is an early type wattle house that is on a piece of corrugated cardboard. Note the early closure and the "sprig of wood" tree as well as a piece of loofha. There was white coconut on the roof (soon to be updated) as well as a greenish yard full of tan and green coconut. I suspect the tan is due to fading. It is 4" long and 2 7/8" wide, it stands 2 3/8" high. The hole in the back is 1/2" in diameter.

The last set of photos is of that string that was in with the set of Haciendas. (That set is complete now as I had one of the sandy houses that matched so I restored it and added it to the set.) The small bulbs in the regular C6 string are screw in bulbs and are somewhat larger than the ones in the string with the Hacienda set and are screw in bulbs. I went to the Christmas lighting book and saw some (as early as 1905) that just had a couple of wires projecting out of them and were pushed into a socket. In this one the bulb (photo 1) has a wire sticking out quite a ways though the other side must have come off. The bulb slipped into a wood and steel carrier that slipped into a Bakelite tube that had wires attached to it. I believe this sting was made up of an old silk cord outfit and used some sort of bulb and socket to make it up. Possibly some sort of model R.R. light. Interesting set but it doesn't work and I doubt it could be made to. Each of the sockets are secured with masking tape. If you need larger photos I can send some as attachments.

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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 4:05 pm 
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Fred Fox added:

The Japanese Houses had holes cut in the backs for lights as early as the late 1920s, pretty much not long after the Miniature Base Series Cone Lamp replaced the Balloon shaped Carbon Lamps. The vinyl series socket set you have is post WW2, late 1940s early 50s and is most likely 2, 8 light series sets that have been spliced together. The Japanese marketed those lacquer colored miniature base lamps as Christmas Lights for use in sets during the 1950s. Although the Japanese Houses were sold in boxed sets, none to my knowledge ever came with a socket set and lamps. Fred


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