This is the first of several posts about our personal collection of vintage Christmas ornaments. We have a lot of Christmas ornaments in our family! Some of the few ornaments that Jonathan and I have purchased ourselves are vintage Shiny-Brite ornaments. Five years ago when we first began visiting Memphis antique malls, we kept seeing these lovely faded glass ornaments that also happened to be very affordable. We learned these ornaments were called Shiny-Brites and were marketed as such on their original boxes and metal caps. We bought several boxes of Shiny-Brites that year. After doing some research, we learned that Shiny-Brites were the original American glass Christmas ornaments. According to our research, all glass ball ornaments came from Germany prior to World War II. Shortly before the war began, a savvy American businessman named Max Eckardt (who had previously been importing the ornaments from Germany) decided to make American-made ornaments. The ornaments were proudly marketed that way and were all decorated by hand. The age of the ornaments can usually be determined by the hanger. The WWII-era balls didn't include the metal cap because of the metal shortage, but the ornaments that were made following WWII did.
Sadly, the company closed in the early 1960s when plastic ornaments and artificial trees increased in popularity. Fortunately, thanks to their mass appeal during the '40s and '50s, today they can be found at estate sales and antique malls. As you can see, we are quite addicted to their faded charm!
This was the first box of Shiny-Brites that we purchased. They are cute mini ornaments.
The boxes are as charming as the ornaments themselves. I think this box is from the '40s.
We bought this green ornament by itself. You can see "Shiny-Brite American Made" on the cap.
The colors are amazing...
...as is the graphic design on the boxes. Notice the price. Lowenstein's was a popular Memphis department store back in the day.
Pink ornaments were really popular in the '50s and '60s. I bet these were some of the last ornaments Shiny-Brite manufactured. I love the crackled look they have.
More pink ornaments with a beautiful patina.
Lovely vintage Shiny-Brite boxes.
Do you have Shiny-Brites hanging on your Christmas tree?