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Thinking Shiny Brite Ornaments

December 17th, 2008 · 44 Comments

By Garland Pollard

Shiny Brite Max Eckardt and Sons BallsNEW YORK – Each year, as part of Christmas, we pull out a box of Shiny Brite glass ornaments. But each time, there are fewer and fewer. But we keep the box, as it reminds us of another era, when Americans actually made things.

Eckardt was a German immigrant who decided to make his own ornaments, and sold them under the Shiny Brite name. Glass ornaments were a German invention, but Eckardt, an importer, saw an opening.

According to the website Scripophily, he and Bill Thompson of F.W. Woolworth convinced the Corning Glass Company to mass produce machine-blown Christmas tree balls.

In 1939, Corning started producing the balls, but the war slowed the operation. Following the war, it became the largest operation in the world.

Amazingly, Eckardt had New Jersey factories in North Bergen, Irvington, West New York and Hoboken. His main office and display room was at 45 East 17th Street, N.Y.

The product line is now sold by Radko.

Tags: Retail

44 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Brian Stevens // Dec 25, 2008 at 8:44 am

    I remember these ornaments. Makes me sad and happy at the same time.

    I see where a a company named Radko is reproducing these now:
    http://www.radko.net/sb401.html

  • 2 Brian Oelberg // Dec 28, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    I rencently found a box of these intact. A dozen blue balls. But the box isn’t like the one pictured. It’ isn’t preforated though it has the same tree silouette, and within that, Uncle sam shaking hands with Santa Claus. Which leads me to believe that it’s of pre-WWII or during vintage.

  • 3 Joe // Dec 30, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    One year, they sold these at Restoration Hardware, I think.

  • 4 Damon // Jan 7, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    we have about ten boxes that we are going to be auctioning off on ebay they are the bells and lanissa shiny brite and so many others if you need more information or would to bid email us for the listing thank you

  • 5 Damon // Jan 7, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    oh one other thing heres or email ardress damonj234@wowway.com thank you once again

  • 6 Jeanie // Jan 8, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    The internet still amazes me! As I packed away the Christmas ornaments I wondered about a box (empty of originals) that has been in my family as long as I can remember. Shiny Brite, with Uncle Sam shaking hands with Santa. It is these little things that connect us to the past.

  • 7 Smillieface // Feb 1, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    how do I date my shiny brite ornaments? the cap reads made in USA, sqiggle design with maybe glitter. It does have the silver inside.

  • 8 Chris // Jul 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    My Mom has a Shiny Brite nativity music box dated1935. We can not ind any info o this beautifliece. Can you help us.
    Thank you

  • 9 Chris // Jul 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    My Mom has a 1935 Shiny Brite nativity music box, distributed by Max Eckardt & Sons. Can not find info on it. Can you Help.
    Thank You
    Chris

  • 10 Sherri // Oct 6, 2009 at 10:28 am

    I have a Shiny Brite Max Eckardt candleabra centerpiece that was designed by Frank Traietta or Ttaietta that I can not find anything on and would like to know more about it.
    Thanks, Sherri

  • 11 Bob // Dec 23, 2009 at 9:40 am

    I remember pulling out the Shiny Brite boxes Christmas after Christmas as a kid. My mom bought some of the reproduction ornaments made a few years ago – the thought was nice, but the quality was lacking – like so many cheap imports.

  • 12 Michele // Dec 29, 2009 at 11:44 am

    My Dad worked for Max Eckardt and Sons for 20 years, until he died in 1970. My family has many, many Shiny Brite products, including the candelabra and nativity music box. Even though the boxes are deteriorating due to age, we keep them all because they were our Dad’s.

  • 13 susie // Dec 31, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    I am just putting away the Christmas stuff for the year and was just going to put away the Shiny Brite ornament box that has been around forever. I am the keeper in the family and have been carrying this box around forever. The original ornaments are in there and there is a price tag still on it. I have no idea how old it is but it will always be with me. I wish I could post a picture.

  • 14 Debbie // Jan 14, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    I have 6 boxes that were my Mothers. They are very old. I use them every year on my tree. I would like to know there value. They are very special to me.

  • 15 Brenda // Feb 25, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    I had shiny brites as a kid, plus my inlaws gave us all theirs in the 1960’s. I still have them. My son loved the nursery rhyme ones. I have a few left and I am trying to complete the set. I need Mary Had Little Lamb, Little Miss Muffet & Little Jack Horner. I am also trying to find information when they were produced, any info would be helpful. I’ve have seen many dozens sold for $200.00 per dz these past few months on ebay. I will not part with mine.

  • 16 Heather // Mar 31, 2010 at 7:17 am

    Hi Brenda.

    I’m collecting the nursery rhyme ones as well. I’ve been trying to find anyone who knows just how many there are. These are the ones I have:

    Little Miss Muffet
    Old King Cole
    Jack and Jill
    Jack Jumped Over the Candlestick
    Mary Had a Little Lamb
    Little Red Riding Hood
    Humpty Dumpty (I’ve seen 2. One where he stays sitting on the wall and the more common one where he topples off)
    Hey AND Hi Diddle, Diddle. (I was surprised to see both a “Hey” and the inacurate “Hi” Did S.B. release all kinds of “Hi” ornaments w/o a recall?!)
    Old Lady in the Shoe (I just got this one after many months of exacting searches through Shiny Brite ornaments on e-bay).

    Thanks,

    Heather

  • 17 Brenda // Sep 22, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Heather, I have Jack & Jill, Humpty Dumpty, Little Red Riding Hood, Hey Diddle Diddle, Old Woman in the Shoe, Jack Be Nimble, Old King Cole, .

    I need your Mary Had Little Lamb, Little Miss Muffet LOL, plus Little Jack Horner. I had Mary Had Little Lamb, but I broke it.
    You can find some on Ruby Lane website. I have been all over my area looking in the Antique stores.

  • 18 Laura // Nov 1, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Brenda/Heather,

    I also collect the nursery rhyme ornaments. I have all the ones that you both listed above, PLUS Hansel & Gretel. I too would like to know how many were in the complete set. I collected all mine off of ebay one at a time.

  • 19 Brenda // Nov 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Laura, Hanssel & Gretel, how great, I did not know that one existed. The old Christmas decorations are harder to find, other then on ebay.

    There is another Shiny Brite I would like to win on ebay it has “Mother” on the front, I have been outbid twice.

    I will be giving my youngest son who is now 44 his Shiny Brite nursery rhymes at Thanksgiving, so he can hang them on the tree. I may buy him a metal display tree for him to put them on. He has three sons of his own ages 4, 8, & 12, so maybe it would not be a good idea to put them on their Christmas tree LOL.

  • 20 Rod // Nov 10, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    WOW, I just learned allot reading the posts! My Grandparents left nothing. On one side, their house burned. The other side bought new everything, often. We had one set of Shiny Brite, when I was a kid in the sixties. My Sis and I took one ornament to school each year. Back then we had a tree in home room. Grade 1-6. I took the same Shiny Brite bell every year. Sis took a large glossy pink with the top frosted. They look like icicles cascading down. My little bell is completely frosted with a red stripe and a green glossy stripe. I have never found another. Have you seen one? We still have them, imagine, they went to school, hung on the tree for weeks and made it home. Amazing. I have collected other sets for a long time. I have hundreds. Now, I want to learn how to restore them. I know, how dare I! How cool though, to learn how to make a few look new again. The frost particularly. Merry Christmas everyone! Please feel free to email me and say hello. I can always use a new Shiny Brite friend! rod- rod_wright9@yahoo.com

  • 21 Jas and Am // Dec 2, 2010 at 12:24 am

    We found some ornaments that have “Jack be nimble” on them.

  • 22 Brenda // Dec 8, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Well I bought Little Miss Muffet on ebay for $15.50. There was Hansel & Gretel, but I was outbid. Now I just need Mary Had Little Lamb and Little Jack Horner.

    Rod, if you try an restore your ornaments, you may cause some serious damage. Rod who made your bell? The name or country should be on top of the cap.

    I have found that the ornaments from 1940-1960 are becoming more rare and harder to find. I hit thrift stores, consignment shops and antique stores. The antique stores are very high priced, unless you can go in the summer time when Christmas ornaments are reduced.

    I must say I have really enjoyed learning more about Shiny Brites and there are others out there looking for the nursery rhyme ones.

  • 23 kathy // Dec 28, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    I have an original box of Shiny Brites from my in-laws; also two vintage blown glass trumpets and two glass ‘peacock’ ornaments (with tassle tails). I hang the collection from our dining room chandelier each Christmas to display.

  • 24 Bob // Dec 30, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Does anyone know of a book that illustrates shiny brite products? Either a price guide or simply one of historical reference? As a collector I have many different boxes and styles of ornaments and would like to know more about them. Little help please. Bob

  • 25 Diana // Jan 9, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    What memories. I am going on 80 yrs old & I was not going to put up a tree this year. I changed my mind. My late husband bought me my first box of Shiny Brite Xmas ornaments in 1955..and each year thereafter thru 1960’s. I have three or four boxes of Shiny Brite & I put them all on a very large Novel Fir. The children and grandchildren were thrilled & my children took photo’s of their favorite ornament when they were little. Now, they all want the ornaments. I have stored them away as I have for the past 55 years, I’m sooo glad I decided to research the history of Eckardt. I actually came across it when I ‘googled’ K & W Glass Works. Thanks for the memories.

  • 26 diane // Jan 18, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I to want to know how to restore the worn ornaments
    & preserve the good condition ones. would love any hints on
    supplies. diane

  • 27 Brenda // Jan 24, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Bob, I wish there was a book on Shiny Brite ornaments, but to date I know of none.

    I have two volumes of books by George Johnson that I use for reference, plus Diane they give information of caring for vintage ornaments. Please don’t try to wash them you will remove the paint. The books even tell you how to properly store them. Before you store them away you should dust them off. Names of the books are Christmas, ornaments, lights & decorations. You perhaps can find some on ebay or amazon.com. The schroeder Publishin Co printed them.

  • 28 ron // Mar 16, 2011 at 5:49 am

    found 6 angels in a dumpster these are in perfect condition, the box reads a shiny bright product from japan. would anyone know what there worth?

  • 29 Jennifer // Oct 23, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Does anyone know if Shiny Brite ever made any ornaments with hand painted Disney Characters on them? I found a box Marked Shiny Brite in my grandmothers things and in side are 12 glass ball ornaments. They are solid color green, red, blue, sliver, and gold and each is hand painted on two sides with either Mickey, Pluto, or Donald on a white painted back ground with a couple stars. The box is one of the ones with Uncle Sam and Santa shaking hands.

  • 30 Lorrie // Nov 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I have a Shiny Brite bulb that has flags on it. Would anybody know what era this was from?

  • 31 Christmas Ornaments, Part 1: Vintage Glass Styles | Sweet and Lovely Life // Nov 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    [...] today.  Luckily, Christopher Radko has started to produce Shiny Brite replicas, complete with the old-fashioned ornament box divided into individual storage [...]

  • 32 Jean Kolb // Dec 10, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    These ornaments along with the boxes are priceless as I remember these boxes at my Grandparents’ house when I helped them decorate their tree. It was interesting finding out the history. Merry Christmas to all you nostalgic people out there. There is hope for this world.

  • 33 Terry Evans // Dec 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    I have a large collection of Shiny Brite ornaments. Some of them belonged to my great grandmother and to my mother. When I was a child I always loved the ones that were stenciled with sayings. I have several of the boxes in different designs. The original ones are still available on ebay and some other sites. I have been finding them in antiques stores for years and at reasonable prices. I have noticed lately that several companies are trying to reproduce these nostalgic beauties.

  • 34 Joan // Jan 2, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Fantastic to find this web page. My box of Shiny Brite ornaments is tagged from Moskatel’s and priced $.80! They are one dozen of 200 purple. Of course that’s what’s supposed to be in the box but there are very few left :(

  • 35 Linda // Jan 7, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    As I was putting away ornaments, I thought I would research the K & W Glass Works, since I had not done so in the past. I was delighted to discover others who have this interest. I have two boxes, both with a Christmas Tree with ornaments on it,(not cut-outs) saying” American Made Glass Tree Ornament”.. One has “For Victory Save and Sell this empty carton” in the bottom right corner. They were from my husband’s family tree. There are only twelve ornaments. The other box is used for storing other ornaments from his childhood tree. I’m wondering if anyone has this kind of box, and if it’s rarer than the Uncle Sam shaking hands with Santa one. Also would like to know what year/years these boxes were sold? I would like to leave info for posterity. You may email me at lhsmith.gen@att.net. Thanks.

  • 36 Heather // Mar 19, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Wonderful to find your site and read the tips here…it’s so nice to see that others share the same interest.

    I just started collecting Shiny Brites not long ago and have been scouring every resource I could think of for a text, will try the George Johnson books as suggested.

    As others have said, the mica printed saying ornaments were my absolute favorites as a kid but all of them remind me of simpler times and fond memories.

    Best Wishes,
    Heather

  • 37 jim // Sep 17, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Check out GoldenGlow. It is a group of folks who are dedicated to collecting all sorts of xmas ornaments and other related items. There are lots of members that collect Shiny Brites – they might be able to help with additional info. Consider joining – it is a great resource full of friendly, well-informed people.

  • 38 Darlene Logan // Dec 15, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    just found today a box of shiny brite ornaments with the price of 88 cents on the box at an estate sale.. I paid $3.50. I put them on my tree as soon as I got home. I also have many from my mom. They are beautiful !!!

  • 39 Valerie // Jan 28, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    oh and I forgot – there is Little Bo Peep in the Nursery Rhymes which I am selling on my etsy store. valeriesvintages.com

  • 40 Kristin // Dec 6, 2013 at 8:27 am

    I’m looking for someone who worked in one of the New Jersey locations in the late 50’s with the last name Brown. He is my late grandfather but we have no information on him except he worked there, had a family, and his last name was Brown.

    Thanks anyone!

  • 41 Garland Pollard // Dec 7, 2013 at 5:31 am

    Thanks for posting this Kristin…we will see if anyone out there can help you out.

  • 42 Lana Ewing // Dec 17, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    we have an original box of Shiny-Brite balls we purchased for our first married Christmas, 1962…We bought two sizes, and I think we are down to about 4 balls, and some would throw these away…I just brought the box into the computer to see if this company (American made) was still around…and lo and behold, found this sight. We have the box, and I can see the price ticket for the three large balls, was $.48 and I know we bought a box of yellow, blue, and red….plus the matching box of smaller ones, same color, but the smaller size had 4 balls in each box. Very special to my husband and I as we have used these every year, except when he was in Thailand during the Viet Nam war…1967. Need to put notes on all of these things so the children will realize just how special these old items really are! Thanks for listening.

  • 43 Anne Eckardt Demas // May 16, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Max Eckardt was my Grandfather. The company Lanissa is the combination of our names (Lynne, Lissa and Anne). I have very few Shiny Brite Ornaments. I recall that Shiny Brite made the Disney characters in the 60’s.

  • 44 Garland Pollard // May 16, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    What an honor to hear from you and learn the history of the name

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