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On the Porch

The aluminum Christmas tree is a type of artificial Christmas tree that was popular in the United States from the 1950s to the mid-1960s. The tree is made of aluminum, featuring foil needles and illumination from below via a rotating color wheel. The museum has a couple of aluminum Christmas trees in its collection along with a color wheel. The photograph featured this week shows one of the color wheels in the museum’s collection.

Aluminum Christmas trees were first commercially manufactured sometime around 1955. The largest manufacturer of aluminum Christmas trees were produced in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, by the Aluminum Specialty Company. In that decade the company produced more than one million aluminum trees. The trees, including the company’s flagship product the “Evergleam”, retailed for $25 and wholesaled for $11.25. The trees were either left undecorated or decorated with sets of brightly colored glass ornaments made by manufacturers such as Shiny Brite.

The first aluminum trees could not be illuminated like real Christmas trees or other artificial trees. Fire safety concerns prevented lights from being strung through the tree’s branches. The common method of illumination was a floor-based “color wheel” which was placed under the tree. The color wheel featured various colored segments on a clear plastic wheel; when the wheel rotated a light shone through the clear plastic casting an array of colors throughout the tree’s metallic branches.

The annual Holiday Home Tour is Sunday, December 5. The tour is noon-4 p.m. The Lyon County Museum is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Refreshments and holiday cookies and other goodies will be at the museum for home tour participants. Homeowners for the 2021 Holiday Home Tour include: Camden State Park-Redwood Lodge (Tour Time 2-4 p.m., enter at the main entrance, home tour tickets will allow you to enter the park for free), Steve Fredrickson, Charlie and Dawn Deutz, and Jason and Paula Klein. Tickets are $20 each and are available at the Lyon County Museum, Hy-Vee, and Coco Avenue.

We are hosting a Holiday Open House at the museum on Thursday from 4-7 p.m. Enjoy complementary cookies, hot apple cider and coffee. Make and take crafts will be available. Howard and Linda Dahlager of Granite Falls will demonstrate how to make lefse and samples will be available. 30% off total gift shop purchase during the open house.

The Lyon County Historical Society (LCHS) is a non-profit, member-supported organization. LCHS operates the Lyon County Museum at 301 W Lyon St in Marshall. The Lyon County Museum is open to visitors. To contact us, visit our website: www.lyoncomuseum.org, call: 507-537-6580, email: director@lyoncomuseum.org, or on our Facebook page.

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