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Museum features vintage holiday light display

Submitted
Christmas decorations, including this vintage box of glass ornaments, are part of a collection that will be on display at the Lincoln Highway Experience Museum at 2 p.m. Sunday. Submitted

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By Cami Dibattista
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 8:53 p.m.
 

Don Lachie will present a collection of vintage Christmas lights and holiday decorations 2 p.m. Sunday at the Lincoln Highway Experience located at 3435 Route 30 East, near Kingston Dam.

Lachie, 53, a resident of both Ligonier and Youngwood, has been collecting early Christmas tree lights and holiday-related electrical items for nearly 25 years. Always interested in antiques and electronics, Lachie found the idea of vintage Christmas items appealing because of past traditions and their connection to the happy times and memories of the Christmas holiday, he said.

Lachie will discuss the history of Christmas bulbs and how they have changed over the years. Some of the items from his collection, that he plans to display, include strands of 100-year-old bulbs, bubble lights from the 1940s, floating candles and fairy lights – small glass tubes filled with water, vegetable oil or kerosene.

“New bulbs are more energy efficient, but they don't have the same charm as the old ones,” Lachie said, “Incandescent light bulbs just look so much nicer.”

Lachie will share his knowledge about how the first Christmas lights worked and discuss the various decorative light covers and the attention to fine detail that was used in creating them.

“I'm thrilled to have this vintage Christmas lighting program upcoming,” said Barbara Neill, program coordinator for the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor. “As ‘children' of a certain age can tell you, we loved holiday lighting growing up. Our families went for Sunday drives just to view the glorious illuminated homes and lawns.”

Lachie searches for the historic, antique lighting on eBay Inc., at antique collectable shows and flea markets. “I'm always on the lookout for old catalogs to identify electrical items and to find out about the stuff I collect,” said Lachie.

The entrance fee is $10 per person, $7 for Friends of the Lincoln Highway. Seating is limited, reservations are required. Reservations can be made at www.LHHC.org through PayPal or by calling 724-879-4241.

Cami DiBattista is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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