Friday, November 18, 2011

Shiny and Bright!

I love sparkly and shiny things, especially at Christmas!

Vintage Shiny Brite ornaments at Lisa Luby Ryan's Vintage Living in Dallas, Texas

This year I'm on the hunt for silver and blue Shiny Brite vintage Christmas ornaments.

Take a look at Grandma's ornaments this year and I'll bet you'll see some Shiny Brites in her collection. The most frequently found ornaments are plain silver, blue, and pink round ball shaped ornaments.  Glittery bands of mica decorated some balls and  others were silk screened in white with seasonal motifs such as sleigh rides, carolers, poinsettias and seasonal greetings such as "Merry Christmas."

Less frequently found Shiny Brite ornaments have "indents" (see the detail of the two ornaments above) which is a decorative indentation that reflects light and adds detail to the piece.

The rarest Shiny Brights are intricately detailed ornaments in the shapes of various items - teapots, bells, santas, pine cones and other assorted figurines.

Here's a brief history of Shiny Brites! In 1907, American businessman Max Eckardt introduced Christmas tree decorations imported from Germany. The ornaments were typically small hand-blown glass balls that were colorfully decorated. With the war seemingly imminent in the late 1930's and the probable disruption in imports, Eckardt arranged with the Corning Glass Company to produce Christmas ornaments in their light bulb plants! These ornaments were sold at Woolworth's stores where your Grandma probably purchased her own Shiny Brite ornaments! They were also sold to Eckardt factories where the plain ball shaped ornaments could be further hand decorated.

By the end of the war, Shiny Brite was the largest manufacturer of Christmas ornaments in the world and the popularity of the ornaments continued on into the 1950s. Shiny Brite stopped making these whimsical ornaments in 1962 due to production disruptions.  At this time, Shiny Brite switched to the production of plastic ornaments.

To identify Shiny Brite ornaments, simply look for the words "Shiny Brite" imprinted on the metal cap of the ornament! Many collectors also hunt for the original Shiny Brite ornament boxes. These boxes show where the ornaments were made (USA, Japan, New York) and many bear the name Max Eckhardt on them!

Whatever you collect this Christmas season, I hope they bring back memories of special, joyous times and make you smile.

Au revoir, Mitty

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mitty,
    I have stumbled upon your blog site and I absolutely love it. You have outdone yourself. What wonderful things you are doing. You have found your niche I do believe. Your "refinished" pieces are beautiful (Dad would be completely impressed), your writing is divine and I just thoroughly enjoy all of it. You are, without a doubt, very blessed and talented. I have one of these old ornaments that Granny (Shrewsbury) gave me that I still add to our tree each year. Love seeing the pictures of you and John. May God bless and you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Cindy Shrewsbury Robinson