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The Roaring Twenties
Page 3





Outside of Box

Inside of Box

ca 1925 Rudges Produced by Rudges circa 1925, this outfit uses machine made pinecone lamps, with no exhaust tip. The color is flashed onto these bulbs, rather than being hand painted. Rudges made lighting outfits for a very short time.
ca 1926 Woodwin
(C.D. Wood Electric Company)
This outfit by the Woodwin Company has beautiful box art that was done by Worth Brehm in 1921, originally for General Electric and used by Woodwin by 1924. Entitled "His First Christmas", the picture depicts the wonderment of a child looking at his first Christmas tree while his parents peek from behind the parlor curtain. This is a very hard to find outfit, that includes the patented "Tatchon" connector, the patent for which revolutionized the Christmas lighting industry. See Lester Haft and his 1924 Patent on this site for more information. 1926 was the last year of Woodwin's christmas lighting operation. After this date, the company merged with several others to form the NOMA Electric Corporation.
In 1926, Eugene Kukla invented a small wooden bead, usually painted red (and sometimes, but rarely, found in green and even blue) that was attached below the outfit light sockets and served to hold the lamp upright on tree branches. It was a common but incorrect belief that Christmas light bulbs would burn longer in an upright position. The C.D. Wood company licensed the manufacturing rights to this invention, and some circa 1926 Wood strings indeed have the bead on them. NOMA became the owner of the rights to manufacture the beads through the 1926 merger with Wood and other companies, and trademarked them as "Berry Beads". These beads were used on the majority of NOMA outfits until well after World War II.
Patent Drawing

The Berry Bead
ca 1926 Decorative Products Corporation Although this box pictures and contains ordinary C-6 cone style lamps, they are strangely referred to as "Decorative Ornaments", apparently a creative marketing ploy.
1926 USALITE In 1926, several companies formed a trade association which was named the National Outfit Manufacturer's Association, or NOMA, for short. Two of the companies, USALITE and Deal Electric, used identical box art for their outfits when they joined the association. The USALITE version is pictured here. The company stayed in the association for just a few short months before dropping out.
1926 Deal Electric This Deal Electric set of lights uses box art identical to the set above, and is from the year that Deal Electric joined the NOMA Association.
ca 1927 NOMA The classic NOMA box, from that company's first full year operating as NOMA Electric Corporation, 1927. The outfit has ribbed cone tungsten filament GE MAZDA lamps. This year (1927), NOMA copyrighted the box art, which, previous to this time, was used by other companies in the NOMA trade association as well (see notes above). Later versions of the outfit (after 1929) are in a box of the same design, but with less color. This box design was used well into the 1930s.
1927 NOMA Compare this set with the earlier Starlite set on the previous page. Except for the reflectors, this outfit is identical in almost every way. The box is now marked as a NOMA brand, however, and inside carries a threatening message about infringement on NOMA-owned patents. The Starlite name was originally owned by the Tinsel Corporation of America, who later merged with other small Christmas lighting companies to form NOMA. This box is an example of how NOMA used up the stock of the companies that merged in its formation.
1927 NOMA This outfit from NOMA is identical to the set pictured directly above, but features smooth-cone Japanese carbon filament lamps instead of the more expensive Mazda lamps. Many variations of this set are available to today's collector.
ca 1927 American While the box art on the outside cover is identical to the outfit pictured directly below, the companies that sold the two are completely different. This set from American Decorative Lighting features a colorful inside flap, a duplicate of the outside cover that was used on earlier versions of this outfit.
ca 1927 Good Lite A circa 1927 outfit by Good Lite, featuring typical GE Mazda fluted cone lamps.
ca 1927 Propp

In 1927, Propp reworked their box art, with this result. Boxes like this were issued well into the mid 30s even after their merger with NOMA, with the later boxes not being as colorful.

In 1927, General Electric first used the large, intermediate size base for their new outdoor Christmas light bulbs. The outfits that lighting manufacturers sold consisted of 7 lamps, and were wired in parallel so that the failure of a single lamp would not affect the rest. The earliest of these lights are round (center), but by 1928 they were the familiar swirled or flame shape. Also, the early lamps were painted on the outside (right), but later issues feature a scratchproof inside color (left). These lamps are still made today, although they are once again smooth rather than textured, and the color is on the outside. It is interesting to note that General Electric and the various Edison Electric distribution companies sponsored many neighborhood "decorating with color-light" contests in an effort to induce sales of the new outfits. Their strategy worked quite well, as within several years communities all over the United States held friendly decorating competitions at Christmastime. 

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