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Christmas Window Display, 1921

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  • Member since
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  • From: Detroit, MI
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Christmas Window Display, 1921
Posted by SantaFe158 on Wednesday, December 29, 2021 1:16 PM

I helped out with this new window display for the Holiday Nights program at Greenfield Village.  It's based on a 1921 photo sourced from Shorpy that depicts a Christmas window display of a Washington DC electric appliance shop which of course featured Lionel trains.  I sourced a decent array of O gauge trains from the period (including an Ives O gauge set for something different) and we assembled a small collection of household electric appliances that were fairly representative of what were offered by electric appliance shops of the time.  Pricing signs were based off of 1921 holiday ads in various newspapers and train price tags came directly from the 1921 Lionel and Ives catalogs.  One locomotive was modified with a modern chassis and operated on a small loop of track.  Overall it was a big hit with the visitors who were drawn into the display just as folks from long ago were likely drawn to the display shown in the reference photo.

 Video Link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3BlvnoKObg

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Posted by trainlivebob on Wednesday, December 29, 2021 2:39 PM

Thanks for the look into the past.  Didnt make it down to the Village this year.  Note the price for electric christmas lights.  $3.50

I belive you can still get a string for something like that today.  No inflation on that product. The marvels of technology and productivity. (unless you want what was made back then- vintage items).

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  • From: Detroit, MI
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Posted by SantaFe158 on Wednesday, December 29, 2021 3:05 PM

trainlivebob

Thanks for the look into the past.  Didnt make it down to the Village this year.  Note the price for electric christmas lights.  $3.50

I belive you can still get a string for something like that today.  No inflation on that product. The marvels of technology and productivity. (unless you want what was made back then- vintage items). 

 

Thanks for taking a look.

As for the price of lights, while the numbers are still the same, it'd take you nearly $55 in todays dollars to pay for that string of lights in 1921.  All that and they generally had just eight bulbs per string on average.

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  • From: Henrico, VA
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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, December 29, 2021 3:39 PM

SantaFe158
All that and they generally had just eight bulbs per string on average.

And if one of those bulbs blew it took the whole string with it, the bulbs had to be replaced one after another until you found the bad one.

I've heard the stories...

Great job on the window, it's a great "Blast from the past!"

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Posted by 8ntruck on Wednesday, December 29, 2021 3:40 PM

Nice display.

I know that building.  Being in the Wright brothers' bicycle shop left quite an impression on me during my first visit to Greenfield Village.  Think I was about 10 at the time.

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Posted by fifedog on Wednesday, December 29, 2021 4:55 PM

I liked your finished product. YesCool

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Posted by pennytrains on Wednesday, December 29, 2021 5:54 PM

Very cool!  Big SmileThumbs Up

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

  • Member since
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  • From: Detroit, MI
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Posted by SantaFe158 on Wednesday, December 29, 2021 10:42 PM

Thanks for the compliments!

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  • From: Henrico, VA
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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, December 30, 2021 9:12 AM

By the way, I asked my father what he remembers about exterior Christmas lights. Growing up in the 1930's he said the only exterior lights he remembered were on the Erie station in town, stores would have lights in the windows.  He said no-one had exterior lights on their homes because they were expensive at the time and the 30's were the Depression years, money was tight.

After the war is when exterior lights on homes really took off.

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Posted by dsmith on Friday, December 31, 2021 3:38 PM

Thanks for all your work on the excellent display and video.  Seeing it during Holiday Nights was so magical, to gaze 100 years into the past.  It was so appropriate to finally see vintage period trains running at the historic Greenfield Village.  I hope to see your display every year during the Christmas season.

  David from Dearborn  

  • Member since
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  • From: Detroit, MI
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Posted by SantaFe158 on Monday, January 3, 2022 6:36 PM

dsmith

Thanks for all your work on the excellent display and video.  Seeing it during Holiday Nights was so magical, to gaze 100 years into the past.  It was so appropriate to finally see vintage period trains running at the historic Greenfield Village.  I hope to see your display every year during the Christmas season.

Thanks!  I'm glad you enjoyed it along with many others (myself included...).  Things sounded positive for a return next year based on the enthusiasm from the crowds, but time will tell.

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