December 16, 2017

C7 Holiday Lights–A Christmas Tradition

What’s a C7 light?

If you’re starting to plan your holiday decorations you may come across the term C7 when referring to Christmas lights.  I  know because I came across this term when doing research for a story on Christmas decorations and initially had no clue as to what it referred to.  With some digging I found a wealth of information about this little light bulb that I now share with you.

C7 Holiday Lights A Christmas TraditionA C7 Christmas bulb is the smaller of the two sizes of traditional Christmas lights; the larger one being a C9.   Larger than the popular little white holiday lights, but smaller than C9’s, these lights are often seen in bright candy colors.  However, you may occasionally find them offered in other colors and decorative styles.

A Little History on C7

C7 Holiday Lights A Christmas Tradition 1Originally manufactured by GE, these bulbs were introduced in 1934 and gradually gained popularity until in the 1950’s they were the most commonly used bulb for Christmas lighting.  What set these GE holiday lights apart from their predecessors was their parallel circuits.  Parallel circuits allowed a string of these bulbs to stay lit even if one of the bulbs burned out.  Prior to the release of this type of product, when one Christmas bulb went bad the entire string went dim.  The resulting challenge was the frustrating and time consuming task of replacing and testing each bulb individually until the offending bulb could be found.  I know what a challenge this can be because as a child in the 60’s hunting down the burned out bulbs in old light strings was often assigned to me.  Many years I had the misfortune of being the Christmas light tester.

Anyway, when shopping for holiday lights, you’re likely to find C7 bulbs available in both solid and see-through styles.  The solid colored bulbs are referred to as ceramic bulbs, while the transparent type, where you can see the filament inside, are termed transparent bulbs.

Which you choose is really a matter of taste, but I would suggest not mixing the two types of Christmas bulbs in your display or on your tree for maximum effect.

A set of C7 bulbs should last you a good, long time.  A life expectancy of 10 or more years is not uncommon for a set of these lights.  The fact that they are intended to be used indoors goes a long way in helping these lights last a long time.  If you need a string of lights for outside decorating, choose a string of the larger C9 type lights instead.  These larger bulbs make a better outdoor show and are insulated to stand up to cold and wet conditions.

C7 lights are also fairly low consumers of energy. They use about 5 watts per bulb which is more than mini lights, but you get far more illumination from C7 type lights.  Anyway you look at it, chances are you won’t go wrong if you purchase some C7 for you holiday decorating projects.

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