When the German tradition of decorated Christmas trees made its way to America in the 1800s, the trees were lit with candles.
Imagine the fire hazard! Luckily this all changed when Edward Johnson, a former boss and then employee of Thomas Edison, invented electric Christmas tree lights in 1880 – just a few years after the invention of the light bulb.
Almost thirty years later, the Wisconsin history books first documented “the illumination of College Ave” from the lights of the Christmas tree in Appleton. Seems fitting for the town that lays claim to the first residence powered by Edison’s hydroelectric station.
– Margot Calmar, The 100 Companies