Reflector Christmas lights

Reflector lights, which used various styles of plastic reflectors surrounding the bulb, were popular during the 1950s to 1980s. The original purpose of the reflectors or rosettes was to improve the color of the bulbs because back then the paint coating of the bulbs was not as good and would chip and fade.
The "petals" of the reflectors also acted like tiny lenses giving a jeweled effect which made the bulbs appear brighter.
Most reflector sets used 6 Volt or even 12 Volt bulbs, which were brighter than the 2.5 volt bulbs used today.
Finding good sets such as these is a challenge because many were considered cheap throwaways which didn't last long.

Reflector sets were discontinued in the late 1980s because they could no longer meet the stricter safety standard imposed by Underwriters labs.
They were originally certified to the NOEL standard, (National Ornament & Electric Lights Christmas Association) a foreign safety standard which is no longer recognized in the U.S.A.
A big problem with these lights was the reflectors were very fragile - don't let the set lay on the floor while putting the lights up
or else - CRUNCH !!! - #*&# IT I stepped on another bulb!
Another problem with the reflectors was the bulbs were not held firmly in the bases, so the wires coming out of the bulb would break from vibration. Then you had to test each bulb to find the bad one!

Miniature bulbs with reflectors 3 styles of reflectors
A Typical package of miniature bulbs
with reflectors from the 1970's
(Click photo to enlarge)

These 3 styles show the reflectors evolution.
A - Early hard-wired reflector, 1950s to 60s.
B -  NOEL wedge base/reflector, 1970s to 80s.
C -  U.L. collar style reflector, 1980s to present.

The NOEL safety logo Broken reflectors
Most reflector sets were made to conform to the NOEL standard, a European safety standard. Note the fractured English of typical for imported products. Oops - someone stepped on these bulbs!
The reflectors were designed to break without exposing live wires.

These reflector sets are from the 1950s.

Gleam 36 Light reflector set

A 36 light 4 - way flashing set "Gleam" Cat No C-36/4F Made in Japan. The tag on the box shows a price of $2.99 .
This set had 2 - 120 volt miniature base flasher bulbs as seen at the left. These were in series with the mini bulbs, which were bi-color and hard-wired into the set. When plugged in, the lights would alternately flash between the big bulbs and the mini bulbs.
By my estimate, this set dates to the 1950s.

Here are 2 early reflector sets by Liberty Bell. They're 15 light cactus sets, Cat no 15F, Made in Taiwan.
These light sets had the bulbs spliced directly to the wires, with the reflectors used to hide the splices.
As you can see, one set has clear reflectors, while the other has them tinted to match the bulbs.

Back cover

Just follow these 4 simple steps to replace the non-replaceable bulbs
in the cactus light set. What !? Gee is that all it takes ?


These Reflector sets are from the 1960s.

50 light set

50 light miniature set with fluted reflectors. This set was imported by NOMA world wide, which dates it to after 1967. By then NOMA had reorganized and was importing products to stay competitive.   Click the switch!


Continue to: Reflector sets from the 1970s.
You will see all of the sets on one page.

Continue to:  Reflector sets from the 1980s.
You will see all of the sets on one page.

Next page - General Electric light sets and bulbs
Home | Next page >

Reflector Lights G.E. Lights and bulbs Light set repair
Assorted Rarities Tree Toppers Bubble Lights
The Yule Blog Web Links Ornaments
Vintage sets Light bulb testing How old is it?