Thursday, May 1, 2008
Vintage Christmas Ornament Types
Cotton Batting Ornaments
Cotton batting ornaments hail from Germany and other parts of Europe. They were made in the late 1800s by craftsmen who crafted cotton batting into adorable Santas, reindeer, angels, birds and other shapes. Some are crude-looking and some are more detailed and sophisticated. Although these ornaments were originally quite affordable, they've become quite collectible (translation: expensive) over the years.
Dresden Paper Ornaments
Although these ornaments look like metal, they're actually cardboard that has been gilded. The original versions from the late 1880s didn't have religious themes. Except for the occasional Santa, they more often featured birds, animals, musical instruments and other non-holiday-related shapes.
Plastics were introduced after WWII for use in Christmas ornaments, as well as any number of other household items. Since there was strong anti-Japan and Germany sentiment at the time, people were less inclined to purchase ornaments made in those two countries anyway. And when people discovered that plastic ornaments were more durable, they became quite popular.
Kugel Glass Ornaments
Kugels come from Germany and are made of heavy glass cast from varying mold shapes, including eggs and fruit designs. They were also produced as plain glass balls that were special because they were hand-blown and could be found in sizes up to 30" in diameter. Part of their uniqueness is that the color was part of the glass; it wasn't painted on after.