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NEW YORK – Each year, as part of Christmas, we pull out a box of Shiny Brite glass ornaments. But we keep the box, as it reminds us of another era, when Americans actually made things.

Eckardt was a German immigrant who decided to make his own ornaments, and sold them under the Shiny Brite name.

Starting with simple silver, the ornaments were eventually produced in a large variety of colors; classic red (the most popular ornament color in the 1940s), green, gold, and even pink and blue.

Any exterior stripes, or sometimes flowers, were painted on by hand.

With a price point of just a few cents each, they were an immediate success with American holiday shoppers.

The Corning company didn’t decorate the balls in the beginning, when a majority of their factory production was still light bulbs.

Amazingly, Eckardt had New Jersey factories in North Bergen, Irvington, West New York and Hoboken.

His main office and display room was at 45 East 17th Street, N.

According to the website Scripophily, he and Bill Thompson of F. Woolworth convinced the Corning Glass Company to mass produce machine-blown Christmas tree balls.

Shiny Brite ornament could be silvered again and topped with the now-iconic crinkled metal cap stamped with the words “Shiny Brite Made in U. At their peak, they were produced out of four separate New Jersey factories.

Here’s a few 1950’s catalog pages with Shiny Brites…….. In the early 60s, the increased popularity of artificial trees seemed to coincide with the need for cheap, unbreakable plastic ornaments to decorate them with. American Christmas company Poloron bought the Shiny Brite name, and Corning continued to make blanks for them, well into the 1980s. Designs were shrink wrapped onto the balls, neon glitters used, and some ornaments were made of glow in the dark plastic.

Sometimes the glass was tinted colors, or a piece of tinsel inserted, but they usually just had hand-painted stripes on the outside.

(Image via ) Metal caps and rings were standard with early Shiny Brites, but during the war, these caps were replaced with a cardboard tab for a string to hang the ornament.

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