In the mid-20th century, Christmas trees weren't needle-laden conifers that represented a bit of nature right in your living room, but a plantlike form encased in an aluminum shell.
Tinsel dates back to 17th century Germany, when little strands of silver were used to make trees sparkle from the light of flickering candles attached to it. Covering a tree with silver wasn't the cheapest decorating solution in the world, so tinsel was usually reserved for folks with enough coin to throw away precious metals every year.
That all changed as cheaper materials were introduced in the early 20th century. The good news was that boxes of tinsel became ubiquitous and could turn any tree into a sparkling crystal centerpiece. The bad news? Some of that tinsel was aluminum mixed with lead that helped it hang better on tree branches, but also exposed generations of children to lead poisoning and brain defects.The aluminized paper that followed was slightly safer and far more ubiquitous, but had the nasty habit of catching fire when it came into contact with the high-wattage C6 lights of the time. By the time the tinsel formula switched to the far less flammable polyvinyl chloride, tastes had changed and a buying public tired of constant hazards such as poisoning, fire and pet intestinal blockage had moved on. Though still used in some homes today, tinsel has become as obscure of a shimmery holiday item as one of its mid-century contemporaries ...
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV