Vintage Yule decor delights Ligonier Valley Library visitors
One man's collection of vintage holiday decorations is enchanting visitors to the Ligonier Valley Library this season.
To kick off the exhibit of his carefully collected items, Don Lachie of Youngwood gave a talk on the history of Yuletide lighting — from candles first in use on trees about 1890 to bubble lights made popular in the 1950s.
“These unique vintage items are completely different than the lights and tree trimmings available today,” Lachie said. “New bulbs are more energy efficient, but they don't have the same charm as the older ones.”
Lachie's collection includes strands of Christmas bulbs more than 100 years old, electric window candles and wreaths, tree tops and stands and “fairy lights” – small decorative glass vessels filled with lamp oil and illuminated with a floating wick.
Lachie shared his knowledge about how the first Christmas lights worked and discussed the various decorative light covers that were popular over the years and the attention to detail used when creating them.
“Don is so knowledgeable,” said Shirley Iscrupe, the library's Pennsylvania Room archivist. “We're thrilled to have him and his collection here with us at the library.”
Lachie said he has been collecting vintage Yuletide lights, decorations and memorabilia for nearly 30 years.
“Everyone has happy Christmas memories,” Lachie said. “I began collecting because of the appeal of past traditions and their connection to happy times and memories of the holidays.”
Lachie said he has spoken with many individuals about their fond memories pertaining to Christmas lighting — such as a woman who shared the story of how she and each of her siblings would choose a different colored bubble light each year and then wait with anticipation to see which one would bubble first.
“It was all about family tradition,” Lachie said.
Lachie said his favorite pieces in the collection are the wooden box sets that were used to package the first strands of wired lights in 1903.
“They have fantastic graphics,” said Lachie, who noted that light sets began to be packed in cardboard boxes about 1910.
Lachie said he enjoys displaying his collection.
“Trees and their lighting hold a special fascination for me,” he said. “I've always been interested in antiques and electronics, and I find these rare and cherished heirlooms to be a brilliant and fleeting part of our history.”
The exhibit will be on display in the Pennsylvania Room of the library, 120 W. Main St., through Jan 4. Lachie will be available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays to answer questions and discuss his collection. Call 724-238-6451 for more information.
Cami DiBattista is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Latrobe’s unfinished Lincoln Avenue Trail gets early use
- Parklet progresses at site of Latrobe pub blaze
- Neighborhood Christmas will come to Latrobe with daylong celebration
- Brick sale to preserve legacy of Latrobe’s Lehigh Specialty plant
- Action For Animals shelter expansion nears completion in Derry Township