A Christmas Tradition: Artificial Christmas Trees

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brush tree Artificial Christmas trees have always fascinated me.  By the time I was crawling around, aluminum trees were considered passe and it was to be a couple of decades before the fiber optic and recycled plastic trees would become accepted stand-ins for the real deal.  Owning a nice vintage aluminum job with a working colorwheel is one of my lifelong aspirations.  Of course this goal is completely within my grasp but for some reason or another it has eluded me.  Kinda like watching The Godfather or eating at Mike's Hockey Burger.  Anyhow, I'm insisting that this spring we track down a nice 6-foot pom pom with said colorwheel once and for all.  I figure that interest in vintage Christmas goodies is probably at a nice low point in late May and I should be able to score a good one.  Maybe even a turquoise model!  This year I decided to dig in a little regarding the history of the A.C.T. and found it to be rather interesting. It seems that the Germans first came up with the idea of an artificial Christmas tree.  By the mid 1800's deforestation due to Christmas tree harvesting was a big problem.  Larger trees would have their tops cut off, creating a perfect little triangular tree but leaving behind a damaged & dying tree.  To combat this issue, feather trees were introduced and their popularity quickly grew.  Their popularity soon spread to the States, where they began replacing the traditional due to their improved safety and tidiness benefits.  In the 30's the Addis Brush Company began manufacturing trees assembled from their toilet bowl brush parts.  These trees were a huge hit in the U.S. and the U.K.  The beloved aluminum tree was a late 50's/early 60's sputnik-era hit.  Many came in the same aquas, golds and pinks that the cars of the era sported and ranged in size from 3-7 feet.   Due to short-circuiting concerns, the color wheel was used instead of the then tradition c7/c9 strings of lights. Color Wheel Aluminum trees' popularity waned in the late 60's and production ceased in the early 70's.  It seems that widespread interest in fake trees did not recover until the 90's, when green plastic trees came into vogue.  The upside models are quite interesting as are some of the fiber optic styles. Funny thing is, this year we decided to get a real tree and decorate it with hand tied bows and sleigh bells.  Oh well, we'll make up for that next year...

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