Library to host lecture about Edison inventing Christmas lights

WEST ORANGE, NJ — On Thursday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m., West Orange Public Library will host a lecture about Thomas Edison, who invented — among many other items — Christmas lights in the 1880s. Lecturer Mike Brick will go into detail about how Christmas lights came into being and about the first-ever Christmas lights, which were strung in 1882 on the indoor Christmas tree of Edward Johnson, president of the Edison Electric Company.

Brick is secretary of the Downtown West Orange Alliance, chairman of the West Orange Environmental Commission and a board member of the Friends of Edison.

Interested parties of all ages are welcome to attend the lecture, at which they will see examples of early lighting. Brick will discuss how LED lighting evolved from Edison’s light bulb. The Bulb Beam on display at the library was built by Brick from a 175-year-old, hand-hewn, restored, hardwood beam; it has six iron pipe electrified arms holding six historical bulb designs from the 1880s to the 1920s. 

A reproduced strand of 10 original Edison colored bulbs, showing how the original Christmas lighting appeared 130 years ago, will also be on display; this strand will be raffled off after the lecture to a lucky attendee.