Vintage Figural Christmas Tree Ornaments
In the mid 19th century, a glassmaker from the German village of Lauscha developed a method for producing molded glass ornaments, based upon blowing a glass bubble directly into a wooden mold.
As this new technology was adopted, the glassblowing industry in Lauscha flourished and a myriad of figural Christmas ornaments made their way to other countries. By 1890, they were widely available in the USA, thanks to the dime store merchant Frank Woolworth, who imported large quantities of these ornaments to America.
Figural ornaments take the forms of fruits, vegetables, animals, birds, fish, santas, musical instruments, objects ... just about everything you can imagine!
In recent decades, reproductions of these ornaments have been made - often from the same molds as the originals (see Reproductions of Antique Ornaments).
To identify original ornaments, look for signs of age such
as wearing of decorations, patina and authentic hardware for attaching
the ornament to the tree. Older ornaments have small, simple caps with
a round hole (through which a ribbon could be passed) or spring clips,
like those used for Christmas tree candle holders.