The History of the Christmas Light
December 19, 2012
In 1878, Thomas Edison began the difficult process of perfecting the electric light bulb. Just two years later, during the Christmas season of 1880, Edison displayed a strand of electric lights outside his lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey. Passersby on a nearby train would have been among the first to witness what would become a defining trend in the way America celebrates Christmas.
However, electric Christmas lights did not catch on immediately. In 1882, a colleague of Edison’s named Edward Johnson developed a strand of red, white and blue Christmas lights and displayed them on a rotating Christmas tree. In 1895, President Grover Cleveland displayed electric Christmas lights in the White House, increasing public acceptance of the new trend in electric lighting. By the turn of the 20th century, electric Christmas lights were on their way to becoming the integral part of the season that they are today.
Each year, this Christmas tradition is celebrated at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Join us for our Holiday Nights celebration, or consider indulging in a Holiday Nights Behind the Scenes tour, offered every Tuesday in December (except Christmas day) at 6:00pm. Call (239) 334-7419 for more information or to make reservations.