Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Retro Christmas Tree

This week I displayed and decorated my Christmas tree. This year I opted for something a little different – a retro silver tinsel tree that is reminiscent of the aluminum trees from my childhood during the 1960’s. I call my tinsel tree a somewhat monochromatic Christmas tree with the ornaments being all black and the tree’s foliage being silver tinsel.

The aluminum trees from my childhood were first produced in Manitowoc, Wisconsin during 1959 during the height of the ease-of-living space-age era and became an instant hit, with hundreds of thousands being sold and displayed in homes until 1969. The trees later were available in colors other than silver, including green, red, blue and even pink.

The Evergleam aluminum trees produced by the Aluminum Specialty Company of Manitowoc and trees from other manufacturers were locally sold through stores like Ben Franklin and Western Auto and ranged in size from a 2-foot miniature to an 8-foot tall deluxe model.

As it was extremely dangerous to string lights on such metallic trees, there was the color wheel that came in many varieties. The silver tree would be illuminated with these revolving color wheel placed on the floor, changing the tree’s glistening color from reds, oranges and greens to blues, golds and purples. An additional accessory for the tree was a rotating tree stand.

The trees featured a wooden trunk painted silver and bored with many holes for the aluminum branches. The branches were stored in paper sleeves.

Today the vintage aluminum trees are a hot item and highly collectable. With my little non-metallic silver tinsel tree I am paying homage to the silver tinsel trees from my childhood during the early 1960’s.

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