Vintage Shiny Brite Christmas Ornaments
If you are looking for vintage christmas ornaments to give your Christmas tree a unique look this year, vintage Shiny Brite Christmas ornaments are some of my favorite decorations to be on the look out for at thrift stores, antique shops and online at sites like Ebay.
The original Shiny Brite ornaments were conceived of by Max Eckardt. Before World War II, Eckardt, an American businessman, had already been actively importing Christmas tree decorations from Germany. Most decorations for American Christmas trees were imported from Germany at the time and Eckardt's company specialized in hand-blown glass ornaments. These small glass globes were colorful and fun and extremely popular.
Photo credit: TW Collins
With some foresight, Max Eckardt determined that as the likelihood of
war drew closer, his supply of ornaments from Germany would dry up
rather quickly. So he decided to start making glass Christmas ornaments
in the United States, rather than continuing to import them.
The Corning Glass Company was approached as a possible supplier and soon a business agreement was struck. Corning Glass was soon making Christmas ornaments in their light bulb manufacturing plants, after a handy adaptation of their own light bulb making methods.
Once the ornaments were made, Corning shipped some to Woolworths and the rest were sent on to Eckardt's own factories, where the unadorned glass ornaments could be decorated by hand after under-going a machine lacquering process.
Wartime shortages soon made both silver and lacquer scarce, so Eckardt began decorating his ornaments in bright colors and pastels instead.
This turned out to be a serendipitious move on his part because the uniqueness of the new Shiny Brite ornaments made them very popular. If you had Christmas tree in your home back in the 1940s, it was mostly likely decorated with many Shiny Brite Christmas ornaments.
By the time World War II ended, Shiny Brite was the largest manufacturer of Christmas ornaments in the entire world, and their popularity lasted well into the Fifties.
The original glass ornaments stayed in manufacture until 1962, when, due to production issues and other business changes, Shiny Brite started manufacturing plastic ornaments. They failed to capture the public's imagination however and never achieved the popularity of the original Shiny Brite glass ornaments.
Today, Shiny Brite is just as popular as ever with collectors of vintage Christmas decorations. Demand for the original vintage Shiny Brites is quite high, but supply is fairly decent as well since they were a hugely popular item for over a decade.
There is really only one thing to be wary of when you are shopping for authentic vintage Shiny Brite Christmas ornaments.
If you are using Ebay to shop, many vintage ornaments are misnamed. I think some sellers think that shiny brite is a catchall name for any vintage glass ornament, but it is actually the trade name for ornaments manufactured by a specific company.
So to make sure you are getting authentic ornaments, I would look to purchase items that come with their original packaging material. It doesn't matter if the box is battered, it just needs to say Shiny Brite on it. That's your assurance that you are getting what you expect.
I think the Shiny Bright ornaments look really great on vintage Aluminum Christmas trees as well, so be sure to take a look at some of those while you are at it. They are quite striking and don't need a lot of ornamentation to really shine.
Christopher Radko's Shiny Brite Ornaments
Also, the Christopher
Radko company bought the rights to the name Shiny Brite several years
ago and his company now makes reproductions of the original ornament.These are some beautiful looking ornaments and of course they look extra nice because they are brand new, shiny and bright. :)
These are a great option for buyers who just want the look of a more old-fashioned Christmas ornament and don't want to worry about caring for delicate vintage ornaments. If the cat knocks one off the tree, you can always replace it.. So if you want new Christmas ornaments, look for Radko's Shiny Brites. I've listed a few here that you can probably order from Amazon and have arrive before Christmas.
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