Oh, Shiny Brites....you really are the grand daddy of all the Vintage Christmas decor, aren't you, you little devil!?!?
The popularity of these have exploded again. And thank God for that. They are stunning. I am absolutely loving all the creative things that folks have been doing with them.
According to Wikipedia, Shiny Brite ornaments were first founded in 1937 by a man named Max Eckardt out of New Jersey. Mr. Eckardt had been importing the undecorated glass ornaments from Germany. But reading the writing on the wall for the supply disruption that would be caused because of the World War I, he reached out to Corning Glass company to mass produce the undecorated ornaments here in the US. All Corning had to do was alter their methods of making light bulbs to make the glass clear ornaments. They were shipped to New Jersey to the factories and decorated by Shiny Bright.
According to the The Cavender Diary (loving this blog yall, totally check it out) most all of the glass ornaments on Christmas trees before World War II were actually made in Germany. So this transition to having them made in America was not only a big deal but a really big selling point for the company, especially during the height of nationalism of World War II.
Once these ornaments were delivered to the factory in New Jersey, they were sprayed with silver nitrate and lacquered which made them look Shiny and Brite (clever, huh?). As the popularity of these grew, so did the colors and designs that adorned the ornaments. (You start seeing all kinds of different styles in the later years!)
Dating the Ornaments
As you can imagine, during the war, the use of silver for ornaments was considered "nonessential." Therefore, they had to do away with the silver nitrate and silver caps. Most of the ornaments during the WWII era were the clear ones that had a cardboard top to replace the silver cap.
With the introduction of plastic ornaments and fake trees (that don't have big holes that need to be filled) the popularity of these declined and the company closed their doors in the early 60's.
Examples of Ornaments
There are SO many different styles and types of these ornaments. Below is a small sample of what is available!
Silvered Stripes, Christmas Songs and Deer Stencils
Indents (the two on the very top) and UFOs (or Atomic Ornaments)
Do you collect Shiny Brites? What are your favorites? I am DYING to make a wreath with them but always seem to run out of time. Next year, maybe I'll just see if Santa will buy me one!?