Fairy lights originally came into being back in the late 19th Century. On Fifth Avenue in New York City, December 22nd 1882, Edward Hibberd Johnson was at home and seeking publicity for what is believed to be the first ever electrically illuminated Christmas tree. It was adorned with 80 walnut-sized incandescent bulbs in red, white and blue colours. He was largely ignored for his trouble, except by a Detroit newspaper reporter, whose indulgence proved enough to make the event historic.
Johnson was a business associate of Thomas Edison, the first man to ever get a patent on an electric light bulb. Prior to this event Christmas trees had been laden with candles by those that could afford them - a practice that can be traced back to 18th century Germany, and which was present in England by early Victorian times.
Much like regular incandescent household bulbs, Fairy lights weren’t in popular use in the UK until several years after the First World War. If we fast-forward seventy or eighty years, fairy lights are now invariably comprised of a string of LEDs in a variety of shapes and colours. Incandescent mini-bulbs still exist, but are only rarely found.
The outdoor variety of LED fairy light is often solar powered, so essentially they are powered free of charge after the initial investment. Contrary to popular belief, the modest solar panels required for powering LED lights do not require sunshine - they’ll gather plenty of energy on an overcast day.
Dusk to dawn sensor
Having collected enough solar-powered energy during the daytime to drive the lights all night, a ‘dusk to dawn’ photocell is sometimes present to ensure that your exterior fairy lights are only switched on at the fall of darkness and off again when the sun rises! Typically you’ll be able to override this capability and switch them off as required.
Add some festive cheer to the exterior of your business or home by investing in fairy lights from Lyco! Our prices are competitive, we deliver in double-quick time, and we welcome any queries you may have by email or phone - whichever you prefer.