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Christmas ornaments began in the early 1800s simply as fruit hung on trees, mostly apples and some nuts too. Paper streamers and other fruits soon were added along with pieces of tin foil to catch the light in the room before electric lights were added to the Christmas tree. Different countries all had their variations of decorations as well: In the USA people strung popcorn and cranberries together; In Germany they baked cookies and other goodies in the shapes of bells, fruits, and stars; and in the UK people cut designs from newspapers and magazines, mostly in a lace pattern to adorn the tree. In the mid-1800s German glass blowers discovered that they could mass produce Christmas ornaments with the same technique they were already experts at. Beginning in the 1880s, American company, F.W. Woolworth, imported Christmas ornaments from Germany for his stores all over the USA called Woolworth’s Five and Dime Stores. By the time the 1890s hit he was selling millions of dollars worth of Christmas ornaments. Czechoslovakia and Japan began to export their ornaments to the USA to compete with Germany in the early 1900s but World War I put an end to most importing for a few years. German imports remained stopped when the war ended as no one in the USA wanted anything German, not even a hot dog!

In the 1930s Max Eckhardt and the F.W. Woolworth company saw a great business opportunity as well as a way to boost the American morale from the great depression that they went to the Corning Company in New York to pitch their idea to make American made glass Christmas ornaments. The Corning Company usually manufactured regular light bulbs but by 1940 they were producing 300,000 Christmas ornaments daily and then sent them off to various companies to be decorated individually; a talented German glassblower could only produce 600 a day.

One vintage tree topper ornament from roughly the 1960s. The box is marked with one very hard to read stamp of ‘Made in West Germany’ as well as a sticker from The Emporium. Germany was very well known for their hand blown glass ornaments throughout ornament history. This appears to be one of those imported from around the 1960s as West Germany took that name in 1949 when it separated from Berlin. The Emporium was a large department store based out of San Francisco that operated from 1896 to 1995 – 99 years! Most ornaments beginning in the 1970s were made of plastic and this is definitely hand blown and hand decorated. The overall condition of this piece is excellent. The colors are extremely bright and there are no scratches or fading. If you are looking for that piece to make your tree really shine this is definitely it! Please see pictures for current condition.

12”L x 2.5”W (ornament)
2.75”W x 12.25”L x 2.75"H (box)

Please note that we have several other vintage Christmas items for sale. If you are interested in more than one please contact us so we can make you a package deal and combine the shipping to save you money.
Rachael and Matthew Kirkland

Tree Topper Extraordinaire (reserved for BRILLEAUX)

Overview