Tuesday, 22 December 2015

The Blinking Christmas Lights Factory

Ah, Christmas time. 

Aaargh!!!!!! Christmas time.

The time of year where it is consciously accepted, even encouraged, to string up as many cheap flashing lights as one can and send the electricity grid into overdrive.
The time of year where, for a month, the world strings up said lights, throwing caution to the wind, wilfully celebrating the burning of fossil fuels, raping and pillaging the forests for trees to parade their corpses in our homes, as we forget about man-made global warming (if you believe in that type of bleak thing) in paying homage to:

   a) The Baby Jesus;
   b) The jolly fat man (aka Santa Claus) and his army of slaves (refer: sweatshops);
   c) Imaginary characters (refer a) &/or b) dependant on your   beliefs &/or age); or
   d) Any excuse for a holiday from work.

I used to work in a factory that made those lights. In fact, I worked in the factory that made those lights.

The time was 1928 (a bit after lunch). A guy I used to knock around with - you know, doing the typical things of the time like roaring and jazzing and flappering - came up with the brilliant idea of making and selling Christmas lights.

Though someone had already come up with the idea in the early 1880's, most he told weren't to know it wasn't his original idea given the lack of internet service of the time which made it hard for information to spread.

That, and his idea was specifically to make cheap fairy lights that wouldn't last very long and are very easily tangled yet near impossible to untangle. The business idea was simple - make a product that was part of a yearly tradition so that it would be required each year, particularly by tantrum-able children, and make it easily affordable yet highly defective (replaceable).

His name was Blinky Bill - not the Blinky Bill. Though, he was a koala, all the same. And filled with delicious runny caramel, which is a sweet story for a whole other time.

He employed me in his start-up factory as his left-hand man. It made my job very challenging as I was right-handed, but I believed in his vision and persevered nonetheless.

We started out making fairy lights which proved a steep learning curve. Even back in the 1800's where such things were more easily believed and magic was real, fairies were very hard to come by. And they tended not to last long being tied to a piece of wire in tandem.

The strategy changed to light bulbs that blinked. He devised an ingenious wiring strategy that meant if only one of the many light bulbs blew then the whole Christmas light set wouldn't work and, due to the wiring, it was near impossible to tell which one was defective. I was responsible for fitting each set with at least one defective light and in a random order each time. The wiring was constructed with the finest of wires meaning that each light was only one bump or movement away from not working. It was pure, evil genius.

Unfortunately, the Great Depression hit in 1929 and he was forced to sell the company to Taiwan Pty Ltd for little more than a penny (a pretty one) who still manufactures them to the same design template in this current day.

But if you happen upon a set of Christmas lights that aren't working this year, you'll know they're one of Blinky's. And if they're one of Blinky's, you'll know the parent of the household will have at some point muttered the Blinky Bill slogan:

"Aargh! These Blinkin' Christmas Lights must blinking' be from Blinkin' Blinky Bills!"
Peace'O'Mind Cartoon
Cartoon: Snow is me
Have yourselve's a blinkin' Merry Christmas y'all!

(Note: despite going bankrupt during the Great Depression Blinky Bill went on to do many things, albeit with limited success (mainly due to the failures which limited the success somewhat). He created 'air beds / air mattresses' that were designed to last no more than 2 usages before having a minute hole appear). He designed the 1971 Ford Pinto before putting his mind to computers where he currently works behind the scenes on iPhone update software)


  1. Everything you wanted to know about Christmas lights and more.

    Have a fabulous day and Merry Christmas to you and yours. ☺

    1. Happy Festivus Sandee.

      More accurately, it's everything you wanted to, or not, know about Christmas lights and more, or much much less.

  2. And then they invented fibre optic trees! Merry Christmas Ronnie and thanks for your entertaining posts this year. x

    1. Oh I don't trust those new fan dangled trees. They read our minds and KNOW if we're naughty or nice.
      My pleasure, Pinky, is is also providing the lesser entertaining ones too.
      Merry public holiday to you and Scotto

  3. Freaking Blinky.. did he create tents and road maps too??..... the cause of many great arguments... You're freaking merry funny... Another great moment in history you have covered.

    1. He was in tents. I look forward to your Xmas message this year Queen

  4. Unless you're stubborn and go through every. single. light. to find the defective one. Yeah, most of us aren't that stubborn.

    1. Like my toes as I walk around the bed. Stubborn.

  5. Hilariously funny!! I've given up on hanging outside lights up now

  6. Thanks MG, though it was intended to be a serious in-depth and technical article...

    Yes, I admit, I've gone back to hanging fairies up again, instead.


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