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The Depression Years
Page Three


Date Manufacturer Notes Outside of Box Inside of Box
ca 1935 Polly

The Leo Pollock Company of New York produced these lights in about 1935. The Company produced only very high quality outfits that have survived the years well. This set uses the candelabra base C-7 120 volt lamps.

An attempt to solve the burnt out lamp problem in series wired sets came to us from Japan. Patented in 1929, the XL lamps contained a shunt device that allowed the rest of the light string to remain lighted should one or more lamps burn out. While the invention worked to keep the string lit, it was not successful from a practical point of view. When a bulb failed, the remaining seven on the string would receive considerably higher voltage, shortening their life. If the failed lamp was not replaced quickly, the stress on the remaining lamps soon took its toll. Genuine XL lamps are so marked on the glass envelope at the base of the bulb. There were also regular lamps made with the distinctive heavy embossed flame design, but they do not say XL on them. The Reliance company distributed the all of the XL named light sets, although the Reliance name is seldom found on the boxes. Incidentally, the "XL" nomenclature referred to the lamps having "Xtra Life", as some of them were rated at 16 volts instead of the more common 14 or 15. Operation on normal household current of 110 volts resulted in the lamps lasting just a bit longer. XL lamps were used by other manufacturers as well, and sold under differing brand names. Also see If One Goes Out, They All Go Out on this website.

1929 XL Lamp Patent
1935 Reliance The first offering of the newly-introduced shunt type lamps by Reliance features an interesting presentation in a very atypical box. Much deeper than most, the box has the lamps standing upright in the insert, and the typical thin, braided cotton covered cord is hidden except for the plug. Later this year, Reliance switched to the less-expensive box pictured directly below. Sorry, we don't have any larger photos of this unusual box.
1935 Reliance

Inside and outside views of the late 1935 edition of the XL lighting set.

1936 Reliance

Inside and outside views of a circa 1936 XL outfit. Also pictured here is a close-up of the distinctive XL lamps.

1936 Royal A set of lights using imported XL lamps and sold under the EverLite name by Royal Electric.
1936 Amico An offering of XL lights under the Amico brand name. This outfit is uncommon, and has kindly been shared with us from the collection of David Neely.
1936 General Electric General Electric introduced their new candle shaped lamps. These lamps had a major disadvantage in that the filaments often burned quite close to the glass envelope, creating a circular burn spot in the paint of the lamp. 
1936 Reliance

The hard to find XL Candles set was first offered in 1936, the same year in which General Electric offered their own version of candle lamps. These bulbs also have the XL shunting device as described above.

1936 NOMA Selling under the StayBrite name, this is NOMA's set of shunted lamps, also imported. Most companies would use brand names differing from their major line in sets utilizing imported lamps.
1936 Peerless A C-6 miniature based outfit from Peerless, the set has an unusual and attractive fan-shaped presentation of the light set inside the box.
1936 NOMA The most commonly found NOMA box style, due to the fact that it was used for many years-even after World War II. Both C-6 miniature based and C-7 candelabra based lighting outfits were offered in this book style box. the earliest versions of the box, issued prior to the War, say "with Mazda Lamps" on the cover.
1936 Paramount The introduction of Textolite, a new heat resistant GE product, which was essentially a fabric-based laminate, allowed for new products to be offered in connection with Christmas lighting. Shown here are light covers from Paramount, featuring the Katzenjammer Kids.
1936 NOMA These NOMA plastic bells are similar in shape to the other NOMA products pictured below, but are undecorated. The back of the box specifies that the bells may be used either facing up or down on the tree.
1936 NOMA In an effort to appeal to children, NOMA produced and marketed this set for both Christmas and party use.
ca 1936 NOMA A set of Disney licensed decals for the NOMA Mickey Mouse bell set. This is NOMA manufacturing overstock.
ca 1936 Reliance This particular Popeye outfit was offered by Reliance, but an identical outfit was sold by The Leo Pollack Company and the Raylite/Paramount company as well.
ca 1936 Paramount Paramount offered this "Scrappy" licensed outfit, based on the popular cartoon characters  
ca 1936 NOMA Another outfit from NOMA featuring a Walt Disney theme, this set is from their Silly Symphonies cartoon series and features popular characters from that series.
ca 1936 NOMA This set was intended for birthday and other children's parties, and was not marketed for Christmastime use.
ca 1936 NOMA Here is a unique outfit from NOMA, called their Miro-Star set. The cardboard stars have individually set mirrors on each of the star rays, giving a brilliant and beautiful effect on the tree. This is a very hard to find outfit.

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