Baubles24th November 2011
On a recent trip to St Christopher’s Place, London I thought the Christmas decorations looked great and very effective. Huge colourful baubles suspended across the narrow street and square. It got me wondering where did the bauble come from and, before you go to wikipedia, here is a shortened version:
The first decorated trees were adorned with apples, strings of popcorn, white candy canes and pastries in the shapes of stars, hearts and flowers. Glass baubles were first made in Lauscha, Germany, by Hans Greiner who produced garlands of glass beads similar to the popcorn strands and tin figures that could be hung on trees. Other glassblowers in Lauscha recognised the growing popularity of Christmas baubles and began producing them in a wide range of designs. Soon, the whole of Germany began buying Christmas glassware from Lauscha.
On Christmas Eve 1832, a young Queen Victoria wrote about her delight at having a tree, hung with lights, ornaments, and presents placed round it. In the 1840s, after a picture of Victoria’s Christmas tree was shown in a London newspaper decorated with glass ornaments and baubles from her husband Prince Albert’s native Germany, Lauscha began exporting its products throughout Europe.
In the 1880s, American F. W. Woolworth discovered Lauscha’s baubles during a visit to Germany. He made a fortune by importing the German glass ornaments to the U.S.A.