Where Did It Comes From?
Everyone knows what they are. What many might not know is where did they come from. They didn’t just magically appear on a tree covered in ceramics or metal and wood. They didn’t begin this way.
The First Incarnation of the Christmas Ornament
Ornaments began as something much simpler. They began as things like apples, pastries, and even white candy canes. They were in images of stars and flowers.
The creation of the glass bauble actually began in Lauscha, a village in Thuringia in Germany. It was from 1550 – 1609. Two guys by the name of Hans Greiner and Christoph Müller started out with small, hand-made glass beads and figures for the Christmas tree. It started to grow from there. Originally the glass beads formed a chain. Even today, this village produces glass Christmas ornaments.
The artisans at that time started taking these ideas to the next level. Through their skill, they took something as simple as an apple or pear and molded it into a clay formation. They even did this with the glass bauble. Taking the bauble and making it bigger and rounder. They also began adding fire into the mix and making it more glass-like. Designs soon followed. Once they began realizing what they had, they knew they had to export it.
Later on, in the 19th century, the glass baubles were treated with silver nitrate and painted by hand afterwards.
It’s Export Time
It all happened one Christmas Eve, back in 1832. A young woman wrote about how her tree was adorned with all of these really cool things. She even showed it in pictures. As people saw them in London, more inventors took notice. They decided it was time for a mass production and ship out.
A man by the name of William Demuth got the ball rolling in 1870. Ten Years later, in 1880, Woolworth’s began selling the ornaments. By the 19th century, other stores took the lead. By as late as 1910, over 1,000 stores got in on the ride.
After WWII, most of the production ceased on the baubles and other glass ornaments. As of 8 or 9 years ago, the only remaining ones are privately owned. They still produce these Christmas Ornaments, it’s just not as prevalent as it was before World War II.