Patriotic LEDs make holiday shine brighter

From the sun-kissed shores of the Golden State to historic harbors along the tip of Maine, skylines from sea to shining sea will proudly be glowing red, white and blue this weekend.

As Americans prepare to celebrate the day that marked their independence with barbecues, parades and pool parties, here’s a preview of the most spectacular patriotic fireworks and LED light shows the nation can expect to see on Saturday night.

Empire State Building — New York City, New York ESB

Since its LED makeover in late 2012, the lights on top of New York’s most iconic building have complemented Macy’s legendary Fourth of July fireworks production. Dancing, fluttering, sparkling and moving in endless combinations to classics like Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York”, the LEDs are timed to mirror the grand finale of the fantastic explosions that take place over the Hudson River.

Aside from Independence Day, the Empire State Building illuminates for several other special events and national holidays throughout the year, including pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and green for St. Patrick’s Day. The Fourth of July collaboration with Macy’s, however, is by far the 102-story building’s biggest, most visible display yet.

Boston Pops — Boston, Massachusetts

Boston Pops

As is annual tradition, the Boston Pops Orchestra will perform a free concert at the Esplanade in Boston, Massachusetts, this July 4th. Each year, the show draws more than a half-million people to the patriotically lit Hatch Shell and is broadcast live on Boston’s local TV station, WBZ-TV.

Specializing in light classical music, the Boston Pops performs delightful tunes that help build anticipation for the city’s awe-inspiring fireworks choreography over the banks of the Charles River.

Walt Disney World— Orlando, Florida 

Castle

On July 3rd as well as the 4th, the Magic Kingdom theme park at Disney World will celebrate the traditions, spirit and music of the United States with a special 15-minute fireworks show and whimsical light display of the American flag on the iconic Disney castle. Using all perimeter firework sites, the show gives a 360-degree effect from inside the park while more than 1,500 shells will be launched.

When paired with spectacular aerial fireworks displays such as these in New York City, Boston and Orlando, the brightness and colors of LED lights help make special holidays shine that much brighter.

Happy Fourth of July from Rubicon Technology! 

 

The Evolution of Christmas Lights – From Incandescent to LED

NOMA Bubble Lites – Do you remember these on your Grandma’s tree?

Decorating with lights has been in vogue from the beginning of the light bulb.  Even Thomas Edison decorated his lab with a strand of bulbs in 1880.  The first Christmas lights were fashioned by Edison’s business partner, Edward H. Johnson, when he took a strand of red, white and blue lights and dangled them around his Christmas tree.

The first breakthrough in popular holiday lighting was in 1903 when GE made Christmas lighting kits affordable.  Until that time, lighting a Christmas tree with lights required a bit of electrical savvy and a budget that would equal $2,000 US in today’s money.  Albert Sadacca further popularized Christmas lighting with his company NOMA Electric Company in 1925. NOMA licensed its name to 15 smaller firms to sell their lights.  NOMA was responsible for innovations like fused safety plugs (1951), all-rubber cords (1940), and Bubble Lites (1946).

While Noma went bankrupt in 1965, Christmas light technology remained relatively static until just recently with the introduction of LEDs. New LED strings use 80% less electricity while burning much cooler. LEDs also offer programmability and virtually unlimited color and design capabilities.  Just think what the Griswolds from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation could do with LEDs!

Here’s a look at some of the more colorful and innovative holiday displays around the world in 2012.

Rockefeller Center, New York, NY — The 80 foot tall Christmas tree features 45,000 LEDs

Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center, New York, NY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Niagara Falls, NY & Canada– The three waterfalls (Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls) as well as 120 additional displays are lit up with more than 3 million lights for the holidays.

Lighting up Niagara Falls, Christmas 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Champs-Élysées, Paris – One of Paris’ most famous thoroughfares is lit up with LEDs along 2 kilometers.

Holidays 2012 along the Champs-Élysées, Paris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo – ZooLights, the zoo’s18th annual winter festival, features two million LED lights.

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights Festival, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights– While the family Christmas light display started at a modest 1000 lights, the Osborne’s home display in Arkansas grew so large that the family shares their magic with Disney every year.  Their display moved to Disney World in 1995 residing on the Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park and now features more than 5 million LED lights set to music.

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney World in Florida

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Fact

In 2011, the National Retail Federation and BIG Research expected Americans to spend more than $6 billion on Christmas decorations, up more than 8% from last year and the most spent over the seven years the group began tracking this type of spending.

Further Reading

AP, HOLIDAY EVENTS: TREES, LIGHTING DISPLAYS AND MORE, http://bigstory.ap.org/article/holiday-events-trees-lighting-displays-and-more

The Telegraph, Champs Elysees lights up with Christmas sparkle, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/8911607/Champs-Elysees-lights-up-with-Christmas-sparkle.html

Huffington Post, Holiday Displays Around The World Light Up Global Landmarks,  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/11/28/holiday-displays-around-the-world_n_2200170.html

Solid State Technology, (US) National Christmas Tree, tested by storm, awaits lighting, http://www.electroiq.com/leds/2012/12/05/national-christmas-tree-tested-by-storm-awaits-lighting.html?cmpid=EnlLedDecember122012