Wednesday, December 24, 2003There's a wonderful website dedicated to the surprisingly long history of Christmas lights and lighting at oldchristmaslights.com. When I was a kid we had this beautiful set of Italian minature lights that I've never seen anywhere since - so I dropped a note to the site's owner asking if he knew anything about these:
..."I do have a question about an unusual and attractive set of Christmas lights my family used when I was a child, but that I have not been able to find any reference to so far. The lights were purchased in 1971 at the Two Guys discount chain in central New Jersey. They came packaged in the standard "Genuine Italian Miniature Lights" two-piece cardboard box with cello front window (similar to the type shown here - the Chris Cuff collection from the early 1960's).Did you ever own or see a set of lights like the ones in the drawing? If you do - or did - let me know!
The lights came in five colors: a deep ruby red, golden yellow, magenta pink, green, and blue, and each push-in lamp had a matching colored transparent plastic "reflector" that consisted of three concentric, increasingly angled rows of "petals" that looked like "crowns" with small circular points on their tips (I've included a small rough .gif sketch, from memory). If I recall correctly, the smallest (inner) ring had 6 points, the center ring had 8 and the outer ring had 12. Each light was about 2-1/2 inches both in diameter and height, and while the sets were the "one burns out, the rest stay lit" variety, the material the plastic reflectors were made of had the unfortunate quality of softening with the lamp's heat, and the rather fragile tips would fold down over the hot bulb - making replacement almost impossible without breaking the light. I don't think they were UL listed!
We used the set for about 10 years; unfortunately, we discarded the lights back in the early 1980's. I was wondering - have you ever come across a set of lights like this in your travels, or perhaps you might know someone who has?