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Other Vintage Household Electrical or Electromechanical Items For discussions about other vintage (over 25 years old) electrical and electromechanical household items. See the sticky thread for details.

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Old 7th May 2011, 8:29 pm   #121
julie_m
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I remember a set of those (Pifco?) lantern lights - alternating big and small lanterns, 10 of each in 5 colours - on my parents' tree many Christmases ago.
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Old 7th May 2011, 9:01 pm   #122
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

that is correct

Pifco London Lights !
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Old 11th May 2011, 10:17 am   #123
broadgage
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunts smoothing bomb View Post
So then, mini fun quiz!!
20 volt, 3 watt for 12 light sets.

3.5 volt, unknown wattage, for 70 light sets, made by Pifco, never very popular.

14 volt, 5 watt, S.E.S. for 20 light sets, European

15 volt, wattage unknown, for 8 light sets, American, for 110/120 volt mains.

5 or 6 volts, 8 in series for 32 volt supply in places without mains electricity.
I presume that the 5 or 6 volt lamps were torch bulbs and only run at about 4 volts each to give a reasonable life.
Other 32 volt Christmas lights used 32 volt lamps, in parallel.
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Old 12th May 2011, 3:46 pm   #124
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Hi
In post 112 and a little further on on this page mention was made of some bulb types and voltages. One type I forgot to mention was the 30 Volt type for 8 light sets, once again I am not sure what wattage these would be.

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Old 14th May 2011, 3:27 pm   #125
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Hello,

I found today these Christmas lights- Empire Brand, light bulbs are Vesta.
Not sure if they are working, haven't tried yet. I have seen that some people have same/ simillar one)) Are they from 20's?
Should I try to see some electrician to help me with them?

Many thanks, Alexandra
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Old 14th May 2011, 3:50 pm   #126
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Hi Alexandra,

Your lights are no older than 1954; Vesta lamps didn't appear until then. Vesta was a Thorn brandname, used for products sold through the now-defunct Woolworth stores.

"Empire" probably means 'Empire made', so your lights were likely made in Hong Kong in the 1950's for sale at Woolies.

Regarding getting an electrician to look at them, you can probably check them over yourself. The wiring is the now-obsolete single insulated type, so check it very carefully for any damage, exposed conductors and loose connections. Pay attention to that 13A plug too; is the cable properly secured by a clamping arrangement? Make sure, too, that the plug has a fuse of no greater rating than 3A. A 1A ceramic fuse would be better, if you can get hold of one.

Although obvious, be aware these lamps run directly off the mains - especially if they're to be used in the presence of children, who love to fiddle with anything Christmassy.
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Old 14th May 2011, 4:16 pm   #127
sashacaky
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Hi Darren,

thank you so much for you reply))
Interesting to know about history of the lights. Very interesting.
I will ask my friend to look at them. Don't know much about electricity.

Many thanks!

Alexandra
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Old 14th May 2011, 4:57 pm   #128
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

As Darren says, that's a late 50s/60s Hong Kong 12 light set. They were very, very common at one time.

As with much electrical equipment from the 50s and 60s, they aren't actually unsafe but don't comply with modern electrical safety standards. You shouldn't leave them on unattended, and certainly shouldn't let children fiddle with them. I prefer this style to modern LED lights though, and they can be used safely if you take care.
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Old 14th May 2011, 11:57 pm   #129
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

At the very least, get rid of the horrible taped up joint on the extension from the light set itself to the plug.

If the extra length is necessary, use a proper inline connector or at least get someone to do a tidy job with soldered joints and some heatshrink tubing.
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Old 15th May 2011, 1:35 am   #130
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I have lots of old sets like those, im in the USA.
I wouldn't worry about them running on the mains, there quite safe, as long as your cord has no cracks in it. Please take the tape off and put your plug where the splice is though, that makes me nervous :O
-Chris
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Old 3rd Dec 2011, 7:52 pm   #131
Sean Williams
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Well, the Midwinter Solstice is fast approaching, so tree lights are back out again....

Ive been busy!

Piccys to follow - I have lights everywhere.

So far 6 working sets, dating from the 50s to the 70s, another 70s set are a work in progress.

I have just collected a nice bundle of cotton covered wire and mixed holders, along with a few nice painted bulbs - sadly not enough to make a full set up - I will keep these, in the hope that I can get some more holders, and some slightly better wire to make a set up.

Ive also got a nice set of German candles, sadly the bulbs have seen better days - need to source a set of replacements!

Seems replacement bulbs are getting much harder to get, even for comparitvely modern stuff

Cheers
Sean
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Old 3rd Dec 2011, 8:50 pm   #132
mrmagnetophon
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Sean= i'd like to see your German candles, never seen them before.
-Chris
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Old 3rd Dec 2011, 8:59 pm   #133
Phil G4SPZ
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

It's nice to see these vintage lights coming back into use as the festive season approaches.

I wish I had saved my wife's grandparents' lights that I fixed for them in the late 1970s. I managed to convert two death-traps into one working 20-light set for them, but these were lost as time went on.

Keep 'em glowing! Merry Christmas.
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Old 3rd Dec 2011, 9:23 pm   #134
Sean Williams
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Piccy of the German Lights - sadly not working due to multiple bulb failures.

The white section of the "candle" is actually part of the bulb.
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Old 3rd Dec 2011, 9:33 pm   #135
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Replacement 20V bulbs for 12 light sets are available from eBay sellers, though they don't seem as attractive as the originals to me.
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Old 3rd Dec 2011, 9:37 pm   #136
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I bought some for one of my sets and they are very good indeed - well certainly from the seller that I used.
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Old 3rd Dec 2011, 9:47 pm   #137
Sean Williams
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Yes, Ive been looking at some of those currently available - will probably order a set up for next year - 6 working sets of lights, and another 4 on the way is probably enough for this year!
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Old 3rd Dec 2011, 11:13 pm   #138
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Come'n Sean let's see your display.

Lawrence.
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Old 5th Dec 2011, 8:23 am   #139
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I remember my Dad fitting ordinary round mes bulbs to our sting of lights when the original decorative ones blew, he painted them with red or green paint. Looked a little odd but allowed the others in the chain to work. They were held together with ceramic thimbles that you screwed the wires into to join the cables. Dangerous or what, and Dad was a MIEE.
I remember at the time when I was about 7 or 8 years old, I was confused why, when you fitted a lower voltage bulb it would often be dimmer than expected. ( I know now it is to do with the current)

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Old 5th Dec 2011, 5:04 pm   #140
Dave Moll
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Williams View Post
a few nice painted bulbs - sadly not enough to make a full set up - I will keep these, in the hope that I can get some more holders, and some slightly better wire to make a set up.
Could you make up a partial set with a suitable dropper - or even run from a variac? Obviously the latter would need to be protected against accidentally being turned up.
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