UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Powered By Google Custom Search Vintage Radio Service Data

Go Back   UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum > Specific Vintage Equipment > Other Vintage Household Electrical or Electromechanical Items

Notices

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.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 4th Jun 2010, 10:20 pm   #1
petertheorgan
Hexode
 
petertheorgan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Bromley, Kent, UK.
Posts: 302
Default Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I am sure I am not the only person on this forum who likes collecting, and getting to work, vintage Christmas lights. I, for one, was delighted to see a thread a few months ago showing 1950s and 1960s televisions in snap shots showing the family Christmas tree.
I Digress. A week ago I was given, by a patient, two very dirty sets of lights and a number of spare bulbs, most of which were working. Both sets had been cut short so I thought the best thing to do was to make one complete set with a couple of extra lampholders to reduce the running voltage on the bulbs. Anyway, two evenings later, this is the result!
I hope you like the vintage mains connector. Next year it will join the electrical Christmas tree, under the real one.

cheers, Peter.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00546 (Medium).jpg
Views:	1473
Size:	83.7 KB
ID:	36649   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00549 (Medium).jpg
Views:	1520
Size:	51.6 KB
ID:	36650   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00550 (Medium).jpg
Views:	1435
Size:	87.8 KB
ID:	36651   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00551 (Medium).jpg
Views:	1390
Size:	67.1 KB
ID:	36652  
petertheorgan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th Jun 2010, 10:29 pm   #2
KeithsTV
Nonode
 
KeithsTV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: South Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK.
Posts: 2,272
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I'm sure my mother still has the set of lights we used to hang on the Xmas tree. These must date from the 50s and I'm sure some of the bulbs are original. they look similar to the lights in the pictures.

Keith
KeithsTV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th Jun 2010, 10:42 pm   #3
Sideband
Dekatron
 
Sideband's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Croydon, Surrey, UK.
Posts: 5,576
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

This is similar to the old 12 light set we had when I was a child. I seem to remember that the bulbs were made by Vesta and came in a variety of shapes including a Father Christmas head, lanterns, snowflakes as well as the traditional pointed ones here. We had them for years until it became difficult to get replacement bulbs.

SB
__________________
On Spike Milligan's headstone......I told you I was ill...
Sideband is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 4th Jun 2010, 11:45 pm   #4
Steve_P
Dekatron
 
Steve_P's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Bolton, Greater Manchester, UK.
Posts: 6,617
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Olive Cone Bulbs they were called when I was a lad. I would love a set myself, as Christmas Tree Lights (or Fairy Lights) are partly responsible for me being here now....

Not all cone shaped though. There were some interesting designs.

Cheers,

Steve P.
__________________
If we've always had it, why is the Car Boot open? You're not sneaking another Old TV in are you...?
Steve_P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Jun 2010, 12:02 am   #5
Ian E G7OLT
Pentode
 
Ian E G7OLT's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Watford, Hertfordshire, UK.
Posts: 103
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Sadly, I collect Christmas lights too.

I usually run a 6' tree full (8 or so sets) at 180V through an isolation transformer each Christmas. Attached a picture of 1 set.

Regards,

Ian
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Dsc00032.jpg
Views:	1388
Size:	83.9 KB
ID:	36654  
Ian E G7OLT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Jun 2010, 2:40 am   #6
repairman 1234
No Longer a Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear, UK.
Posts: 749
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Quote:
Sadly, I collect Christmas lights too.
We used to have the santa's head lights when i was a tot, would be nice to see a picture of them again if anyone has them.
repairman 1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Jun 2010, 8:53 am   #7
fidobsa
Banned
 
fidobsa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Zala, Hungary
Posts: 418
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I would have thought the series connected lights represented the ultimate in frustration when a bulb has blown! There are probably some '60s sets up in my mothers loft I can dig out when I'm down south. I will offer them FOC on this site rather than bin them.
fidobsa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Jun 2010, 8:59 am   #8
Darren-UK
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Blackpool, Lancashire, UK.
Posts: 4,046
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

They did indeed. You had to grab a spare bulb and try each position in turn until you found the duff one .

In searching for a picture of the originals I discovered Santa lights are available from here. No doubt if these people do them, so do others.

I remember my parents having a set of Santa lights forty or so years ago. Santa was the familiar red and white, no other colours, had a stout body with 'proper' - albeit dumpy - legs, but the arms were merely raised parts of the body moulding and didn't protrude like the legs did.

My parents also had a set of lantern lights around the same time. All very charming, far more so than the 'cold' looking LED stuff you get these days.
__________________
Darren.
Darren-UK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Jun 2010, 9:38 am   #9
Ian E G7OLT
Pentode
 
Ian E G7OLT's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Watford, Hertfordshire, UK.
Posts: 103
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

See the picture below for instructions on how to find a defective lamp! I should point out that this is an early American 120V set. Do not do this at home. Today's Health and Safety people would go ballistic.

If you can't read the text on the picture, I have typed it out below . . .



TO LOCATE A DEFECTIVE LAMP.

1. Turn on the electric current and make sure the lamps are screwed in tightly.

2. Take out the lamp and insert a piece of metal into the socket, either a screwdriver or nail. If upon inserting this piece of metal, the other seven lamps light, you have located the defective lamp.

3. If the outfit does not light, screw back the first lamp tightly and remove the second lamp, perform the same operation until you get seven lamps to light.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	old xmas lights instructions.jpg
Views:	1010
Size:	71.5 KB
ID:	36656  
Ian E G7OLT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Jun 2010, 9:46 am   #10
AndiiT
Octode
 
AndiiT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Saltburn-East, Cleveland, UK.
Posts: 1,634
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Hi,
I too have a number of "vintage" Christmas lights in my collection. Like a lot of vintage equipment some have been obtained form car boot sales and others from the likes of eBay. In a similar fashion to Steve P, Christmas lights are also partly resposible for my love of vintage elctrical stuff!!

Recently I have obtained a couple of non - working "lilliput bulb" sets which are identical to some that we owned when I was a youngster. Whilst not wishing to upset the purists too much, due to a number of factors, I have considered either converting them to LED, or in the case of the set which has detachable shades, just purchasing a cheapo set form the 1 shop and finding a method of securing the shades to them.

As a child, I recall one of my friends parents having a set of Bubble lights, these were a sort of candle shaped affair, with the glass tubes that represented the candles flame filed with a (coloured?) liquid that bubbled as the heat from the lamps increased as they warmed up.
There were only eight 30Volt bulbs in these lights so they ran rather hot.

One of the most interesting sets that I recall as a child was the set of "Sputnik" lights in on of our major towns (Redcar) butchers window, these lights flashed in what seemed like a controlled sequence, but they may have just been two seperately intertwined series sets with a flasher bulb in each string, I do remember that there was definetely four plaited wires in the string so they must have been manufactured like that.


When I get round to it I'l post some pictures of my sets, it might be closer to Christmas though!!

Regards
Andrew
AndiiT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Jun 2010, 11:00 am   #11
repairman 1234
No Longer a Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear, UK.
Posts: 749
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren-UK View Post
In searching for a picture of the originals I discovered Santa lights are available from here. No doubt if these people do them, so do others.
Thanks for that,

The santa lights i remember were just the head (no body or legs at all i think)
They are my earliest memory of the first Christmas that i can remember (maybe '74 ish)
repairman 1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Jun 2010, 11:01 am   #12
Radio_Dave
Nonode
 
Radio_Dave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK.
Posts: 2,465
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

I've got some broken ones, in my loft, that are shaped like Father Christmas, snowmen and houses etc. IIRC there's even some shaped like budgerigars

David
Radio_Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Jun 2010, 11:29 am   #13
Darren-UK
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Blackpool, Lancashire, UK.
Posts: 4,046
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Quote:
there's even some shaped like budgerigars
Cheep to buy, presumably.
__________________
Darren.
Darren-UK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Jun 2010, 12:30 pm   #14
russell_w_b
Dekatron
 
russell_w_b's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Penrith, Cumbria, UK.
Posts: 3,245
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndiiT View Post
As a child, I recall one of my friends parents having a set of Bubble lights, these were a sort of candle shaped affair, with the glass tubes that represented the candles flame filed with a (coloured?) liquid that bubbled as the heat from the lamps increased as they warmed up.
Some friends of ours have some of those - still in use every Christmas!

The fairy-lights I remember were the cone-shaped translucent coloured glass lamps, about 2" long, with a regular MES thread on them.
__________________
Regds,

Russell W. B.
G4YLI.
russell_w_b is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Jun 2010, 1:52 pm   #15
Roger-M0TDM
Pentode
 
Roger-M0TDM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK.
Posts: 167
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Hi,I beleive i've got some of the santa head ones,lurking at the back of the loft,will dig them out when i get the chance...
Regards Roger.
Roger-M0TDM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Jun 2010, 2:58 pm   #16
evingar
Octode
 
evingar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Newbury, Berkshire, UK.
Posts: 1,738
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren-UK View Post
All very charming, far more so than the 'cold' looking LED stuff you get these days.
Funny how things change. When blue LEDs first appeared, I managed to get X20 that were built into prototype equipment at work when it "hit the skip". I constructed a set of lights and they were hung onto a tree decorated solely with silver tinsel. They were a real talking point and stood out from all the multicoloured stuff everyone is so "dewy eyed" about now.

Now everybody has such things, I too appreciate the "retro charm" of the older technology though
__________________
Chris
evingar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Jun 2010, 3:17 pm   #17
Dave Moll
Dekatron
 
Dave Moll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: West Cumbria (CA13), UK
Posts: 4,373
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren-UK View Post
You had to grab a spare bulb and try each position in turn until you found the duff one
... or discovered that more than one was duff.

Then someone came up with the bright idea of introducing a "fuse" bulb - simply one which ran hotter than the others and was identifiable as such. Spot the "fuses" in the selection below from my collection.

Click image for larger version

Name:	fusebulbs.jpg
Views:	800
Size:	43.4 KB
ID:	36660

On the subject of santa head bulbs etc - we used to have a selection of santas, snowmen and the like (purchased, as I recall from Woolworths - now also sadly defunct). Over the years since they ceased to be available, they one by one got replaced by the standard oval-shaped bulbs as they blew. This is the only "novelty" bulb still in my possession:

Click image for larger version

Name:	fairylight.jpg
Views:	527
Size:	39.8 KB
ID:	36661
__________________
Mending is better than Ending (cf Brave New World by Aldous Huxley)
Dave Moll is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Jun 2010, 4:48 pm   #18
yestertech
Octode
 
yestertech's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Coulsdon, Surrey, UK.
Posts: 1,571
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Oooooooooooh ! Nostalgia
I remember these on the tree as a Kid. The regular cone shaped lamps and the "novelty" ones. I'm sure I still have them in a box rescued from my parent move 20 years ago. I'm certain there's a father xmas one in there... and the Osram ones with the "bell" shades.
I still recall rigging one of these holders and shade from a defunct set as a "parental alert" ,activated by a pressure switch under the carpet outside...

We also had what we called "bubble lights" - these came from some American friends ( 110v parallel fed ) and had an MES lamp fitted into what looked light an inverted shade. In the top was a hole into which fitted a glass vial containing a liquid, which bubbled upwards when it reached the correct temperature.
They were run with a series lamp fitted out of sight underneath the tree.

Anyone remember these ?

Last time I looked at them, the plastic bases were self destrucitng and twisting out of shape.

Happy Days !!

Andy
yestertech is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Jun 2010, 4:57 pm   #19
Ian E G7OLT
Pentode
 
Ian E G7OLT's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Watford, Hertfordshire, UK.
Posts: 103
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Back in the 1930s, some American manufactured lamps had neon gas inserted. When a bulb failed and the filament parted, the gas glowed dimly to aid identification of the faulty lamp.

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.

Normally, if the bulb is working fine, there will be circa 20V across the anti-fuse, which doesn't conduct. If the filament fails, the full 240V mains appears across the anti-fuse which conducts, effectively shorting out the faulty lamp.

The fuse bulb came next. Why? Because once a lamp fails, the 20V that was dropped across it now appears across the remaining good 11 lamps. A second or third failure means all the remaining bulbs are in danger of failing in a catastrophic chain reaction . . . . BANG!

The fuse bulb has no anti-fuse and the filament is specifically designed to be the weakest in the string, so it blows before a chain reaction can start. Fuse bulbs are clear glass and marked with white painted tip.

The Vesta figural bulbs mentioned further up this thread are highly prized by collectors. I've seen mint sets in the original boxes and one spare lamp sell for over 100.
Ian E G7OLT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Jun 2010, 6:35 pm   #20
AndiiT
Octode
 
AndiiT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Saltburn-East, Cleveland, UK.
Posts: 1,634
Default Re: Vintage Christmas Tree lights

Hi Again,
On the subject of figural and novelty bulbs Woolworths use to sell a large selection of these, usually in packs of three, Santa Heads, Chinese lantern style, Snowmen and "Budgerigars are some of the ones that I can recall.

Pifco also produced a "Jack Frost" set of Olive cone lamps which were clear lamps covered in a coloured opaque "frosting". Over a period of time the frosting used to peel off as a result of the lamps getting hot.

There were also a couple of 16 lamp sets that I recall seeing as a child, one was styled in a similar fashion to some of the 20 lamp lilliput "petal" style shades and the other used a smaller version of the Olive cone type, I seem to recall that the latter type were a Woolworths special; both 16 lamp sets used an ES screw type that fell somewhere inbetween LES and MES dimensions, i.e. it was a non - standard fitting.

As a child one of our neighbours was lucky enough to have two bay windows, side by side, to decorate. He had at least two sets of figural 12 light sets wired together in series across the two bays!

Andrew
AndiiT is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 9:31 pm.


All information and advice on this forum is subject to the WARNING AND DISCLAIMER located at https://www.vintage-radio.net/rules.html.
Failure to heed this warning may result in death or serious injury to yourself and/or others.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2002 - 2020, Paul Stenning.