Thomas Edison was very smart guy.
We know him as the inventor of the first practical (able to be used in everyday ways) light bulb. But that’s not the only thing Edison did in his lifetime.
He also created the first strand (string of connected things) of electric lights – Christmas lights.
At Christmas time in 1880, Edison made strands of lights and hung them around the outside of his laboratory (scientist’s workplace) in New Jersey. People traveling on the railroad trains passing his laboratory got the first look at this new light display (presentation).
But it took another 40 years before people started using electric Christmas lights in their homes.
Part of the problem was that people didn’t trust electricity. They didn’t know what this new invention was and didn’t know if it was safe.
Ironically (seeing things in a funny, reverse way; unexpectedly), before electric lights, families decorated their Christmas trees with candles (sticks of wax that burned for light), which was of course much more dangerous and caused a lot of fires!
It was actually President Grover Cleveland (1837-1908) who helped make electric Christmas lights more acceptable to Americans.
In 1895, President Cleveland asked that the White House family Christmas tree be illuminated (able to see using lights) by hundreds of colored electric light bulbs.
And on Christmas Eve 1923, President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) began the American tradition of lighting the National Christmas Tree with 3,000 electric lights at the White House.
While Thomas Edison may have been the first to create strands of electric light in 1880, it was actually Albert Sadacca who made electric Christmas lights available to the public.
The Sadacca family owned a lighting company. In 1917 Albert Sadacca, a teenager at the time, suggested that its store sell brightly colored strands of Christmas lights for customers to buy.
It worked (was successful). By the 1920’s, the Sadacca company was a top seller of Christmas lights in the U.S. and continued that success through the 1960s.
Growing up, my mother used to create her own “Santa’s village” (small town) at our house. She collected and made a lot of miniature (small size) homes, people, and decorations and created her own village celebrating Christmas.
She decorated it with lights. The display became bigger each year. It began on a small table in the living room and by the time I was in college, it had taken over our entire front porch (enclosed patio).
And it wouldn’t have been the same without Christmas lights.
Needless to say (it’s clear without me saying it), my mother really likes Christmas!
P.S. Looking for a great holiday gift this year, for yourself or a loved one (someone you love)? Give the gift of English with one of our Unlimited English Memberships!
Get access to 1800+ English lessons on (almost) every possible topic known to homo sapiens (humans).
Go here: https://tv.eslpod.com
P.P.S. Like this short English lesson? Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!
Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!
We hate spam, too! We will never sell, rent, or give your information to anyone – ever!
What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?
Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:
- What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
- The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
- Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
- What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
- What a social secretary is . . .
- The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
- How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .
And much, much more!