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Mosca Design & Christmas History with The First Electric Christmas Tree Lights in the 1880s

September 10, 2010

Mr. Johnson rigged up a Christmas tree with electrical lights in 1882, and, in typical style for the Edison companies, he solicited coverage in the press. An 1882 dispatch in the Detroit Post and Tribune about a visit to Johnson’s house in New York City may have been the first news coverage of electric Christmas lights.Two years later, the New York Times sent a reporter to Johnson’s house on the East Side of  Manhattan, and an astoundingly detailed story appeared in the edition of December 27, 1884. Headlined, “A Brilliant Christmas Tree: How an Electrician Amused His Children,” the article began:
A pretty as well as novel Christmas tree was shown to a few friends by Mr. E.H. Johnson, President of the Edison Company for Electric Lighting, last evening in his residence, No. 136 East Thirty-sixth Street.  The tree was lighted by electricity, and children never beheld a brighter tree or one more highly colored than the children of Mr. Johnson when the current was turned and the tree began to revolve. Mr.  Johnson has been experimenting with house lighting by electricity for some time past, and he determined that his children should have a novel Christmas tree. It stood about six feet high, in an upper room,  last evening, and dazzled persons entering the room. There were 120 lights on the tree, with globes of different colors, while the light tinsel work and usual adornment of Christmas trees appeared to their best  advantage in illuminating the tree. An Edison Dynamo Even Rotated the Christmas Tree, Johnson’s tree was quite elaborate, and it rotated thanks to his clever use of Edison dynamos:
Mr. Johnson had placed a little Edison dynamo at the foot of the tree, which by passing a current through from the large dynamo in the cellar of the house, converted it into a motor. By means of this motor, the tree was made to revolve with a steady, regular motion. The lights were divided into six sets, one set of which was lighted at a time in front as the tree went round. By a simple devise of breaking and making connection through copper bands around the tree with corresponding buttons, the sets of lights were turned out and on at regular intervals as the tree turned around.  The first combination was of pure white light, then, as the revolving tree severed the connection of the current that supplied it and made connection with a second set, red and white lights appeared. Then  came yellow and white and other colors. Even combinations of the colors were made. By dividing the current from the large dynamo Mr. Johnson could stop the motion of the tree without putting out the lights.
Johnson’s tree was considered a marvel, and Edison’s company tried to market electric Christmas lights, they did not become immediately popular. The cost of the lights and the services of an electrician to  install them was out of the reach of the general public. However, wealthy people would hold Christmas tree parties to show off electric lighting. And Grover Cleveland reportedly ordered a White House Christmas tree that was lit with Edison bulbs in 1895.  Today Holiday Christmas Decorations has come along way; Computer generated LED Holiday Lights with Digital Santa Claus Animation is just the start with Mosca Design Inc. We have over 4000 Holiday  Decorations to meet every type of Commercial business owner today; George Mosca founder of Mosca Design Inc makes a valid point that Holiday Decorations in retail mals has been proven to affect both  traffic and sales. One of the most tangible ways to track consumer response to a center’s seasonal decor is through the volume of photo sales in the Santa Grotto or Santa Chairs. Centers that introduce a new  decor after a few years often see an increase in their Santa visits.”That is probably the best way of gauging how decor effects shoppers, George Mosca has worked with clients that have seen Santa visits
jump by 17% to 25% after introducing new seasonal decor! For more information on Commercial Holiday Decorations with Mosca Design call us today 1-800-332-6798.

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