Saturday, December 13, 2008

Daryle Lambert: Antiques Question [Did you know ?]


Did Christmas trees start out as trees? What do you think? If your answer is yes then you’re wrong. In fact, people first decorated what looked like a tree made of feathers with all types of decorations. These were replaced by the real thing. People even placed candles on the trees which proved a real fire hazard and many homes were lost this way. Remember, in the 18th and 19th century, families didn't just up and go to the store to buy what they needed. They simply used what they had. Strings of popcorn plus ornaments carved by the family made each tree a personal joy.

Just like many other things in this country, many states claim the first Christmas tree. Pennsylvania in 1774, Massachusetts in 1832, Illinois in 1833, Ohio in 1838 and Iowa in 1845. Even back then we didn't seem to be able to agree on much. But the one thing that we did agree upon was that Christmas was important to this country and we were founded upon Christian principles that were the backbone of the earliest day of America. I still remember the laughter and joy of the whole family pitching in to make the tree as perfect as it could be.

The progression of the Christmas tree to where it is at times today, a totally artificial expression of what it once was, reminds me that perhaps things aren't better than they were. The family has definitely changed. Decorating the tree used to be a family event but today the women often do most of it while the children watch TV or work on the computer. Dad occupies the couch watching his favorite sports channel and usually no neighbors are to be found. The hard times that are upon us today may make these events popular again and I surely hope so.

The first glass ornaments came from Germany in about 1860, followed by electric lights in 1882. One of my favorite new decorations were the twinkle lights of the 1950’s. A string of Queen Victoria, Puce, by Hearn Wright and Co., 1890 may bring $1800 today. The most collected decorations for the tree are ornaments of course and a Bicycle built for two made by Dresden in 1890 could fatten your bank accounts by as much as $10,000. This is an area where the collectors number in the thousands and they are eager to purchase anything that isn't yet a part of their collection. Let’s help these collectors by searching our those pieces that they are searching for and by doing so move ourselves up the path to personal success.

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