Saturday, December 18, 2021

Happy Birthday to a 63 Year Old Christmas Tree

aluminum christmas tree

63 Year Old Christmas Tree

I first shared the story about this Christmas tree a few years ago. It is not a family heirloom or any thing of the like, at least not my family heirloom. I bought this from an ad on Craig’s List some years ago. One of those situations where a senior family member passed and there were some things that no one wanted. Little did I know what history would unfold.

As best as I can determine, the tree is 63 years old this year. It has no great monetary value. It does have a lifetime and history of hopefully happy times with family and social gatherings – none of which we will ever know. Perhaps history is best seen through the sparkle still within this tree and the spirit of Christmas wherever its destiny may lead it next.

In my 2019 post , I mentioned that the original carton had a date stamp that appeared to be either 1953 or 1958. The condition of the carton and disintegration of the carboard made that a challenge. So, this year, I took it a little further and checked the patents. Based on a patent filing approved in 1959, and some historical research about the company, 1958 can best be assumed the correct year. I learned something about patents too as it was not unusual to go into production while the patent was being registered.

aluminum christmas tree box

Most of what follows in a repost of what was in my 2019 article about this tree….

The tree was manufactured in Wisconsin by the Evergleam Company. There is a great article about Evergleam written by Dave Hoekstra (1) and another by the Manitowoc County Historical Society (2). It goes back to a time when manufacturing in America was the norm and aluminum Christmas trees have a history of their own in that era – more can be found in Wikipedia (3). Aluminum trees were “the rage” for quite a while in homes across America and the American spirit of competitiveness kicked in creating a market for trees having under 100 branches to those with over 400 branches and everything in between depending on the height of the tree. There was an appliance - furniture retailer in Chicagoland known as Polk Brothers (now gone) and it’s leader, Sol Polk known for his marketing savvy who popularized aluminum trees and plastic Santa’s that were about 5 feet tall (4)– by making either available for $5 with a purchase!

Aluminum tree popularity continued, and folks tried hard to make theirs “different”. The trees came with a warning not to use string lights that were so popular on “live” trees – and some folks were “shocked” to find out that was good advice!

The lighting of the day was typically a flood light. The flood light was either white, a static color or even more popular was a rotating wheel that caused the tree to change color in a slow continuous cycle. Today, I create that effect with a low energy led.

And then there was the pink aluminum Christmas tree – check an article by WUWM (5) from Milwaukee. You can buy aluminum trees today on eBay (6) and Esty (7).


The tree is still not for sale! But the challenge is on to find a new home and someone who will care for it for at least the next 37 years and share the story on its 100th birthday!

Hope y’all have a very Merry Christmas – just about a week to go!

Aluminum Christmas Tree Pictures 2021

None of the links below are monetized. If you want to read more, these are a start. If you are curious and research leads you to discover any other cool information, please share it with me.

And, since I never ever want to do the patent research again, sharing screen captures from that...


1 comment:

  1. I received an email from a gentleman who was President of a company I worked for some years ago. Actually, he was President of two of our companies - one specifically in consumer foil products (think foil turkey pans, cake pans and the like). We still keep in touch all these years later. With his permission, sharing his comments....

    Al, fun tale of your 63 year old aluminum foil Christmas tree !!!

    More backstory: in the early '60s, my first job was with Kaiser Aluminum as a salesman selling industrial aluminum foil, among other products, in the Chicagoland market.

    Foil Christmas trees were all the rage, then, as you know. Almost all the trees were manufactured by small job shops on Chicago's south side. I was the "Foil Tree King" since they were all in my territory. I think I sold over 80% of the market (perhaps seven manufacturers) partly because Kaiser the best slitting equipment to provide the very narrow eighth inch wide foil coils that they used to spiral wind around the individual branches. I got promoted before the foil tree market collapsed !!

    Another backstory: Kaiser's PR department decided to make a nine inch foil tree, collapsed into a mailing tube, the Corporate Christmas card. So. I had the task of getting all the secretarys organized to insert, type addresses, and mail 4500 foil tree Christmas card tubes !!

    Happy, happy Holidays, Al.....................Joe

    And, in closing we say THANK YOU JOE with our best wishes for a Happy and Healthy 2022.