Feather Christmas Trees - Treasures From the Past

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central NC
#1
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The Christmas Tree Painting by Henry Mosler
Feather trees were the first artificial Christmas trees and they were originally made in Germany as early as 1845. Like many inventions, the tabletop feather tree came about out of necessity. By the mid-19th century, decorated Christmas trees were more popular than ever. Deforestation became widespread in Germany, especially during the Christmas holiday season.

It was a common practice to cut off the tip of a large fir tree to use as a Christmas tree. This practice prevented the tree from growing taller and made it useless as a timber tree. To protect the forests, statutes were enacted to limit people from having more than one tree. However, this problem found a happy solution with the introduction of the "goose feather" feather tree. Goose feathers were plentiful and these feather trees began to be produced as an alternative to cutting a live tree.

New-White-16-Faux-German-Feather-Tree-Christmas-_1.jpg

The goose feather tree became the first artificial Victorian Christmas tree. Metal wire or sticks were covered with goose, turkey, ostrich or swan feathers. The feather sticks were drilled into a larger one to resemble the branches on a tree and the feathers were often dyed green to imitate pine needles. The trees were made to resemble the locally growing white pines of the German forestland thus the wide spaces between their branches, short "needles," and composition "berries" on the end of every branch tip.

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When the Germans immigrated to the United States, they took their beloved portable feather tree with them to use in their new homes. These German immigrants introduced the Victorian feather Christmas tree into the U.S., but the practice of using artificial trees really did not take off in America until Sears Roebuck first advertised artificial trees for sale in their 1913 catalogs. These artificial trees usually had berries and candleholders at the branch-tips and a round white base. They ranged in size from 55 inches to 17 inches tall. By the late teens, Japan followed suit and manufactured feather trees for the U.S. market.

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For many folks cut, live trees are still the cherished way to make the holidays come alive. What is your tradition? Do you enjoy having a real or an artificial tree?

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Merry Christmas to all my CWT friends!
 

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Interesting history of artificial trees. Real trees were great when we were young, but now realistic artificial makes a lot more sense and cents. Once the lights and ornaments are put on, you barely see the tree anyway. Unless you go out to cut your own, the ones you can buy have already been cut for over a month. A Very Merry Christmas
 
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#5
Ellie. I think artificial or feather Christmas trees are made in such a way that they are more beautiful than the real tree without all of the maintenance and mess when disassembling the real tree. As a child, we always had a real tree but as we got older our parents decided to buy an artificial tree which our family continues to use. David.
 
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#6
Merry Christmas Ellie, and have a Happy New Year. We have a live tree I am looking at right now. I love the live trees, and have no interest in artificial ones. My folks always had live trees, and so did my fraternity. The artificial ones I see that look right are very expensive (Balsam Hill). I just love a real tree.
 
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Lima, OH
#7
I had no idea that artificial trees went so far back!
One set of my grandparents had one of those silver tinsel trees with the revolving multi-colored light wheels in the '60s....remember those?
When I was a kid we always had real trees. Sometime during high school Mom and Dad went artificial.
The first year I was home out of the Army, I told my Dad I would pay for a real tree if we could put it up. He agreed and that's what we did.
Within a couple years I was married and my wife and I did real trees for several years. She was working at a department store and got a good deal on an artificial tree. We used that tree for a number of years, and I always missed the adventure of finding the "perfect" tree. We went to real trees a long while ago, and I can't see us ever going back.
Merry Christmas!
 

AshleyMel

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#9
Hmmmmmmmm...I recently came across vintage quilt blocks called "Featherd T's". Pieced together they look like trees. I wonder if there is any connection?
 

AshleyMel

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#10
I found the image on Pinterest.
Feathered T block.
I just purchased an "T" block quilt top. Almost the same but without the little extra piece underneath. The block has been dated as far back as 1847.
I think, for me, I can see a correlation. Fabric art reflecting designs of the era.

dscn1832.jpg
 

AshleyMel

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#12
Always love stories about symbols of Christmas. But for my husband and me there is nothing like a real tree. We have had one every year we have been married, and that is 34 years. I love their smell and feel so much.
I love a real tree for Christmas too Donna! As do my cats!
We put up our fake tree this year and, while the cats have stayed away, I sure do miss the fresh smell!
 
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#13
View attachment 214547
The Christmas Tree Painting by Henry Mosler
Feather trees were the first artificial Christmas trees and they were originally made in Germany as early as 1845. Like many inventions, the tabletop feather tree came about out of necessity. By the mid-19th century, decorated Christmas trees were more popular than ever. Deforestation became widespread in Germany, especially during the Christmas holiday season.

It was a common practice to cut off the tip of a large fir tree to use as a Christmas tree. This practice prevented the tree from growing taller and made it useless as a timber tree. To protect the forests, statutes were enacted to limit people from having more than one tree. However, this problem found a happy solution with the introduction of the "goose feather" feather tree. Goose feathers were plentiful and these feather trees began to be produced as an alternative to cutting a live tree.


The goose feather tree became the first artificial Victorian Christmas tree. Metal wire or sticks were covered with goose, turkey, ostrich or swan feathers. The feather sticks were drilled into a larger one to resemble the branches on a tree and the feathers were often dyed green to imitate pine needles. The trees were made to resemble the locally growing white pines of the German forestland thus the wide spaces between their branches, short "needles," and composition "berries" on the end of every branch tip.


When the Germans immigrated to the United States, they took their beloved portable feather tree with them to use in their new homes. These German immigrants introduced the Victorian feather Christmas tree into the U.S., but the practice of using artificial trees really did not take off in America until Sears Roebuck first advertised artificial trees for sale in their 1913 catalogs. These artificial trees usually had berries and candleholders at the branch-tips and a round white base. They ranged in size from 55 inches to 17 inches tall. By the late teens, Japan followed suit and manufactured feather trees for the U.S. market.


For many folks cut, live trees are still the cherished way to make the holidays come alive. What is your tradition? Do you enjoy having a real or an artificial tree?

View attachment 214551 Merry Christmas to all my CWT friends!
no chicken feathers were used? I think rooster feathers would make a colorful Christmas tree.
 



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