Trees and Homes

Indoor Electric Lighting of Our
Trees and Homes
In the 1940s, candles were not abandoned, especially in many rural parts
of our country, which not only clung to tradition, but many times did not
have the electrical power available in their homes to electrify their trees. In
fact, many reverted to using candles during the war in an effort to conserve
ener~ which could be better used in the war effort. Little hints, such as
blowing out the flames of the candle upward so as to not cause smoke and
removing candle drippings by immersing a cloth into cold water to facilitate
the removal of such meddlesome drippings, were welcome. If candies were
too large, they were not to be cut down. Softened under hot water, they were
then pinched and pressed into the holder.
One interesting addition was the imitation metal candle with tinsel
“flame,” sold in assorted colors of red, blue, green, gold, and fuchsia, which
tit into standard-sized candleholders for those who wanted candles, but
didn’t want the danger of a lit flame.
At the start of the war, Americans still clung to the notion that lights
were essential to their Christmas celebrating and American-produced light-
ing was available. House Beautiful, in December 1940, described miniature
candelabra and intermediate lamps which were wired in series, parallel,
or multiple. Series lamps continued to be most popular in strings of eight
lamps, wired so that each lamp was dependent on the other for its supply
of current. Therefore, we continued the practice of searching for the one
burned-out lamp on the entire darkened string. Series lamps (miniature)
were available in the familiar tapered end, a larger one which resembled a
candle, and a tinny’ one about the size of a flashlight bulb. All of these series
lamps were rated at 15 w~Its, could be used interchangeably in the sarne
string, and operated on any 110-220 volt lighting circuit.
Candelabra, the next sized lamp, was used in indoor parallel or mul-
tiple strings. Rated at 120 wolts and operating on 110-220 volt lighting
circuits, they were attached to parallel strings along which the current
flowed without interruption. Quite simply, that meant that each lamp
burned independently; when one lamp burned out, the others stayed lit.
Tapered or candle-shaped lamps were available for strings which range
from 7 to 25 lamps.
The last size, intermediate, was designed primarily for outside use.
This tapered lamp, which consumed 10 watts, had an intermediate base
and was attached to a heavier and more durable wire. Weatherproof, the
bulbs were inside-colored for protection against rain and snow (a practice
later abandoned). Easily recognized by its candle-flame shape, this bulb
was the best of its time and is still considered by collectors to be valuable
coday due to its inside painting.

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