Monday, May 17, 2010

Shiny Brites Tell a Story

Last Saturday when I went to the neighborhood garage sales I spied these on a table in the back of a dark garage under some Christmas pillows.

I couldn't believe my eyes, one box was a dollar and one was $1.50.

Shiny Brites are an American story.

Shiny Brite was established in 1937 in anticipation of disruption of the importation of popular German-made glass bulbs during the war.

Foresight told the
entrepreneur, Max Eckhardt, that he could order clear glass bulbs from Corning and have a factory where they would be hand-painted!

They became popular and they are dated by the type of hanger and hook they have.

As artificial trees became more popular, and plastic ornaments flooded the market, Shiny Brite was in less demand, and went out of business in 1962.

During peak production, there were four factories, on the east coast in New Jersey, and New York with corporate offices and a showroom in New York City.

(Christopher Radko has been reissuing the most popular Shiny Brites since 2001.)

I like to imagine the stories they could tell, if they'd had little bitty cameras inside them.

Newlywed Christmases
Newborn Christmases
Toddlers opening sweet toys
Preschoolers with their first bikes
Lots of good food eaten at a loaded table
Stockings full and hanging from the mantle
The quiet, snowy Christmas eves
And the loud and boisterous Christmas mornings
Puppies snuck in under the tree, right before dawn on Christmas
Bee bee guns in their long boxes, slid onto the tree skirt with a smile.

And then Christmases where the kids were all grown up
When Mom might have shed a tear or two
Those in between years that were quiet
With a daughter married and gone
The soldier son gone off to faraway lands, yet
Surprising mom and showing up unannounced at the door
Right on Christmas eve just as they were leaving for church
Surprising her and making daddy get teary-eyed
Mom receiving the biggest hug she'd ever had.

IF ONLY they could tell us what their celebrated Christmases were like!

I just can't resist doesn't matter one bit to me what kind of shape they are in.

These have seen their better days, not as SHINY or BRITE as they once were: but they've survived and earned our respect and we know that they're at least as old as 1962 would make them: 48 years are the youngest they can possibly be!

So they deserve a chance to shine again, and take their place on our tree...
A real one.
One with old-fashioned lights and tinsel...
Sitting in the window of an old farmhouse,
A house that has also seen better days
That once was brighter and more shiny.

A house that has seen the life of more than one family,
Through quiet and boisterous days,
Sad days and full and happy ones, too.

They will be on our tree.
To tell new stories.
To shine again.

After all,

Christmas has a way of making
everything seem bright again:

Shiny Brite.


Faith said...

What a find.....I have some, which belonged to my parents. There are a few which are in good shape, but they all still shine for me...they are my special ornaments, and they go on last, and get taken down first and put in a special place, don't have the original boxes anymore. These are my favorite ornaments. Thank you for sharing the story of the Shiny brights,

★Carol★ said...

I love Shiny Brites, and they make me think of all the Christmases they've seen too! And I love the image of Uncle Sam shaking Santa's hand so much that I use one of the boxes as decoration!
Happy Monday!

Unknown said...

These ornaments are perfect for Christmas sparkle and hope! Even in May they bring up feelings of family and God's love!

Anonymous said...

I'm so jealous. Not really, happy that you found such a great bunch of ornies. Loves these things. Most places as 4 to 5 dollars EACH for them. Nice find.

Unknown said...

I have some of these! And had no idea of the story behind them. Thanks for sharing. Some of the ones you bought are the ones I have--given to me by my favorite aunt when she no longer needed a huge tree. I'll treasure them even more now.

Hollace said...

You make me want to go and rescue my parents' ornaments. These look so familiar!

Barbara Pask said...

You sure find some treasures. I love the idea of a little camera being inside to record wonderful Christmas memories. Once again your blog made me smile. Thank you

kega said...

My husband loves these ornaments, we go to Bronner's every year looking for a modern bulb that reminds him of Shiny Brites. It is a tradition with us now, everybody fans out in the bulb department and searches for one we think will pass the test. We grab it and take it over to Rob to see if we get the nod. What a thrill to get the nod! Some years we leave there with nothing and some years with four or five. None of them are as pretty as the Shiny Brites we remember as a child, but they are shiny and bright! Rob has hand picked every shiny bulb on our tree. He read this blog and was quite jealous of your find!
Linda C.

mary your sis said...

OOOoooh, what a find, you lucky ducky! I love the Shiny Bright ornaments, too and their boxes are nearly as cute as they are! They could probably tell some very good stories, as you said!