Feather Christmas tree

A feather Christmas tree is a type of artificial Christmas tree that is generally considered one of the first artificial trees used as a Christmas tree. They originated in Germany in the late 19th century and became popular in the United States during the early 20th century.

History

Feather Christmas trees were first created in Germany in the 1880s[1][2] or 1890s[3] and are regarded as one of the first types of artificial Christmas trees.[2][4] These first artificial trees were, in part, a response to growing environmental concerns in the late 19th century concerning deforestation associated with the harvest of Christmas trees in Germany.[2] The tradition of feather Christmas trees was brought to the United States by German immigrants in places such as Pennsylvania and Texas.[1][4]

Feather Christmas trees became popular during the early 20th century,[2] and were sold by department stores in the United States.[4] Benefits touted for feather trees included the elimination of a trip to the tree lot and the lack of shed needles.[3] Today, feather Christmas trees are valued as a collectible antique.[4] One 36 inch German tree sold at auction in 2008 for $230.[5]

Design

Feather trees were initially made of green-dyed goose feathers which were attached to wire branches.[3] The feathers were split and then secured with wire to form the branches.[1] These wire branches were then wrapped around a central dowel which acted as the trunk.[3] The branches were widely spaced to keep the candles from starting a fire, which allowed ample space for ornamentation.[3] Feather Christmas trees ranged widely in size, from a small 2 inch tree to a large 98 inch tree sold in department stores during the 1920s.[4] Often, the tree branches were tipped with artificial red berries which acted as candle holders.[3]

References

  1. 1 2 3 Leiser, Amy. "The Pennsylvania Christmas Tree", Monroe County Historical Association, December 2005, accessed March 28, 2009.
  2. 1 2 3 4 John, J. A Christmas Compendium, (Google Books), Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005, p. 129, (ISBN 0826487491).
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Marling, Karal Ann. Merry Christmas!: Celebrating America's Greatest Holiday, (Google Books), Harvard University Press, 2000, pp. 5862, (ISBN 0674003187).
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Silverthorne, Elizabeth. Christmas in Texas, (Google Books), Texas A&M University Press, 1994, p. 62, (ISBN 0890965781).
  5. Wiggins, Pamela. "Feather Christmas Tree", about.com, accessed March 28, 2009.

Further reading

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