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Old 7th Jun 2010, 8:24 pm   #41
geofy
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Post Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

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Originally Posted by newlite4 View Post
Brilliant thread this, I thought that I was alone in this field of collecting, here are some of my unusual lamps, enjoy!

Very colourful, cheers you up just looking at them! I have found it next to impossible to get the translucent 20V MES bulbs for the set I have.
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Old 8th Jun 2010, 7:33 am   #42
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I noticed the mention of Bubble lights further up, I actually went and bought a set about 10 years ago, the American ones (110v) I use a transformer with them.. didn't think of the bulb trick, Doh!

They are the same Lantern type I remember from when I was a kid, but the tubes are secured in the lanterns and the tubes simply bubble in coloured liquid.
Our original set used to have clear and coloured oils in each tube which gave a 'lavalamp' type display as the coloured oil 'bubble' was carried up the tube with the gas bubble then slowly fell back down, it was mesmerizing.

The new ones are quite boring by comparison, and 'er indoors won't let me put them up anywhere. :-(

For you Collectors there is a shop Mablethorpe a real Aladins cave with a car (Yes a Moggie Minor) in the shop Piled high with old Christmas lights etc.. Formerly Sue's Emporium, now Ye Olde Curiosity Museum.

60 Victoria Road, Mablethorpe on Google Earth streetview....

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Old 8th Jun 2010, 10:05 am   #43
Ian E G7OLT
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Talking of bubble lights, see . . .

http://web.archive.org/web/200802242...le_lights1.htm

The www.oldchristmaslights.com website was a wonderful resource for those with an interest in such things. The site owner, George Nelson, sadly appears to have passed away. The site is still available through the 'waybackmachine'.

Go to . . . . http://web.archive.org/web/

Then enter . . . . http://oldchristmaslights.com

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Old 10th Jun 2010, 12:31 pm   #44
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Ah yes, old Christmas lights. However did we manage not to electrocute ourselves? We had some with coloured shades. I seem to remember that originally (1950s) it was only possible to buy white bulbs. The coloured ones were a "modern" invention. One of the shades broke but nothing seemed to stick it back together again so they weren't polystyrene. No idea what they were made of. They're probably still up in the attic somewhere.
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Old 10th Jun 2010, 5:36 pm   #45
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I don't think anyone has mentioned that you could also buy a "flasher" lamp for these lighting sets. I only ever saw the flasher lamps in red with a white tip on the end, I think that was so you could easily locate it if you wanted to remove it and go back to none flashing.. The lamp cost a bit more than a regular spare, but once fitted all the lights would flash on and off being a series circuit. I imagine it had some sort of bi metallic strip inside which heated and cooled with the lamp filament and open and closed the circuit. I know when flashing they gave plenty of interference on the MW wireless.
Seeing the pictures of these lighting sets on this thread brings back childhood memories. How I wish I had kept a set.
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Old 10th Jun 2010, 6:29 pm   #46
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Ah yes the flasher. The set my parents had had one of these but it was rarely used as it became annoying after a while. It was red and was larger than the other bulbs and I'm sure you're right about it being a bimetal strip. I wonder if the constant on/off cycling would have shortened the bulb life.

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Old 10th Jun 2010, 8:03 pm   #47
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Once upon a time I had a Pifco produced flasher for the 12 light sets.

Ian
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Old 10th Jun 2010, 9:13 pm   #48
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

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Once upon a time I had a Pifco produced flasher for the 12 light sets.
Presumably it was a 20V version of the sort of lamp that went beneath the red dome of those 'Pifco' motorist's lanterns? You know the thing I mean: tilting handle, white light at the front, slidey switch at the back to have beam, dome, beam 'n' dome...

Sorry: gone O/T a little there...
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Old 12th Jun 2010, 5:19 pm   #49
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Hi,
There was indeed a 20 Volt version of the 'Flasher lamp', regularly available in Woolworths around Christmas time. The only version of a flasher lamp I have not seen was for the 7.2Volt 35 lamp sets; I used a 12 volt flasher in my set of 35 Pifco 'Candle Lights'

Some years later the company Noma produced an 'Electronic' flasher unit, which was in a bell shaped enclosure and had an SES screw connector on the end for fitting to sets which used lilliput bulbs, the advantage of this flasher unit was that it was compatible with both 20 and 40 light sets.

I have also seen (and think I have one in my plug box) a flasher unit which fitted in between a bayonet light fitting and the associated BC plug which Christmas lights were often supplied with.

Can anyone recall all the different names, and styles, of Pifco light sets that were available in the 70s? The ones I remember are Glitter Lights, Candle Lights (as mentioned), Cinderella Lights and Jewel Lights.

Andrew
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Old 12th Jun 2010, 6:04 pm   #50
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

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I have also seen ... a flasher unit which fitted in between a bayonet light fitting and the associated BC plug which Christmas lights were often supplied with.
Here's my one of those:
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Old 17th Jun 2010, 4:00 pm   #51
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

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Originally Posted by Ian E G7OLT View Post
...Later on 'permanent contact' lamps were introduced. They contain an 'anti-fuse' which does the opposite of a fuse. A fuse fails open-circuit and an anti-fuse fails short-circuit. If you examine the base of a bulb closely, and in order to do this you'll have to remove the cap, you can see what looks like three or four turns of wire around the two wire pins where they come through the glass envelope. This is the anti-fuse...
A-ha! I knew what they did but didn't know that they were called anti-fuses.

I also remember as a kid, one of the strings of lights was a 12 olive lamp set. I also remember that the wires used to fracture at the bulb holder and in order (for my dad) to effect a repair, he would have to heat up the plastic around the bulb holder to allow it to pop out and then re-solder the wire.

Another memory is of a mechanical flasher unit rigged up by my dad to three sets of lights using a motor and three sets of contacts. Created a bit of interference on the radio though!

This is a great thread
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Old 11th Aug 2010, 9:37 am   #52
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I can remember a set of lights we had in the 60s through to the mid 70s. They where shaped like icicles. Can't remember what make or where they came from. But it was always the same ritual every year, plug them in, nothing, followed by a game of 'find the dead bulb'.

It's mid August and currently 43C here, what a great time to be reminded of Yule.

BTW would anyone fancy donating some vintage Christmas tree lights to this poor specimen..
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1399/...f38198d8ee.jpg
...found at a local shopping mall in July.
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Old 11th Aug 2010, 11:48 am   #53
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

My mum has a set very much like the set(s) in post 38, that still come out every Christmas.
There are some lanterns, acorns(white/red and a more realistic brown and green-my favorite!!) and some pine cones. We have some conical 70's spares too. There are 12 lamps in a set, so I guess these must be 20 volt.ISTR the holders are Bakelite, wiring is plastic.
These are getting quite old now, but usually work first time. I think they originally belonged to my nan.
I might consider fitting a diode into her plug to prolong life of bulbs.


Cor blimey Mike, that tree could certainly be brightened up a bit!
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Old 11th Aug 2010, 3:38 pm   #54
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

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Cor blimey Mike, that tree could certainly be brightened up a bit!
Tim, you might think that forlorn light-less Christmas tree is a depressing site...

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1020/...4a2c80c3cc.jpg
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1236/...0f0fe3c1ce.jpg
...the whole place is just depressing. Saturday afternoon, and not a customer in sight.
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Old 25th Aug 2010, 1:01 pm   #55
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I tried to bring a set of 20v olive lights back to life several years ago as I found that a local old fashioned "Hoover" shop was still selling spare bulbs. The bulbs only lasted a short time so I grafted on another five holders from another set.The resulting 17 light set still lights up well and I haven't had another bulb blow.

You still see sets and bulbs on E-bay but they bring in some pretty high prices.
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Old 17th Oct 2010, 6:20 pm   #56
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I have just brought a set of Philips Chrismas lamps - got them working (still require 3 olive bulbs - clear).

Don't know if they will be up this Chrismas - it depends on the authorities.

Here they are running on around 170v (three missing and by-passed).

They have nursey rhymes artwork printed on them

SEAN
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Old 2nd Dec 2010, 6:38 pm   #57
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Wow, this post has me excited already, i see your using a vintage extension cord too!
I have a huge collection myself, the oldest ones i own, have a cloth cord, i expect from 1910 or so.
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Old 2nd Dec 2010, 8:46 pm   #58
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

They still sell plug-in flasher units here! Not bayonet ones, but Euro-two pinners. I don't know if they're still bimetallic strip types or electronic ones.
Cheers, Pete
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Old 4th Dec 2010, 9:06 pm   #59
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Hello all,

I have some quite old lights with LES bulbs, they've been nursed for years! All my light strings have had a few more wired in series to lower the applied voltage - I usually add three extra per 20.

I've also made some of the protectors which were in "EPE" some years ago, essentially an opto-isolator so the lights have a few volts dropped but mainly they get zero-crossing switching - I can't say that I've noticed any difference in bulb life though.

For identifying ill-fitted bulbs I use one of those clever voltage-detectors, it lights at the tip so all I need to do is to go along the string 'til it goes out. Saves a good deal of frustration!

Lastly, there's an old set of Pifco lights in Mom's loft. Essentially they're all there but I couldn't swear to it - what should I ask when I've retrieved them?

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Old 11th Dec 2010, 6:20 pm   #60
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Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Simple solution to identifying blown bulbs, fit a 30v DIAC in each holder

Crazy, but it just might work....
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