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Noma bubble lights

This being Christmas time I remember the Noma bubble lights available back in the 50's for your christmas tree. A bulb ( 7 watt ) was encased in plastic with a glass column pencil size sitting on top. The column had I assume a volatile liquid that would readily vaporize from the heat from the bulb making a rising bubble in the column. The bubble would then condense when reaching the higher part of the column cooled by ambient air. A train of these bubbles was created for our watching enjoyment. Some had colored liquid in them. So here we have the principals of steam heat all in a neat little assembly.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,856
    They were gone for a long time -- the liquid they contained was not exactly customer friendly! But they are back -- you can get them online and in some stores -- and are much safer now.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,190
    one of my great aunts had those on her tree, we just had the usual 7w lights on ours. I can remember filling that tree stand twice a day with water, the cat loved the taste of that water.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    I have quite a few strings of those Bubble lights. I've had them for maybe 15 years. I used them once and by the end of the holidays, some of the bottom portions of the lights were melted enough that I wouldn't have been surprised if some of the plastic had dripped on the floor, but it didn't. Needless to say I've not used them since. They are a fire hazard. IMHO Besides that, who, in their right mind wants to spend hours trying to get each one to stand straight, on a tree?
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    edited December 2016
    I remember them on grams tree.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    We've had the newer version on our trees, for years. Our trees would never make the cover of Home and Garden, but are beautiful none-the-less. For us, they become a window to our childhood. Peace and Merry Christmas to All.
  • Boiler Talk
    Boiler Talk Member Posts: 134
    I have an unused box of the lights in the basement. I got them from my Grandma's home. I think the wire insulation might not be sound at this time. I should go to the attic, open the window and throw the box and all away!
  • dean_20
    dean_20 Member Posts: 16
    Inherited a set from my aunt. loved them when I was a kid.
    Alan Welch
  • Alan Welch
    Alan Welch Member Posts: 254
    Don't throw them out Boiler Talk, our family loves them, we have three sets of 7 on the tree and can always use spare bulbs . .. Send me an e-mail , I would love to have them
  • Koan
    Koan Member Posts: 436
    I love those things; here is the best price-quality I could find:
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,317
    As a kid we had about a dozen clip on candle holders in our meager collection of decorations. We were not allowed to use them anymore but I was always intrigued by them. They were my grandparents. My mother said that maybe just for an hour or less on Christmas eve they would be lite. The candles were maybe a 1/2" diameter by 4 " just can't beat candles on a dried out cedar tree for a fire starter can you?

    So we had to settle for the 3 strings of series connected lights.
    My older brother had the duty to find the failed bulb each time we turned them on. For you young ones, the series systems depended upon each bulb working. You had to remove every bulb and try a good one until the string lite. 2 bulbs out required more time to troubleshoot........we had no TV. ;)
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    Another gimic with the new "Pre-lit trees. They are wired so that if one bulb goes out, the rest will still light but if one of those tiny fuses inside the plug fails, you spend a very frustrating hour or so trying to find the correct plug, with the blown fuse. I have finally given up on trying to keep those lights working and just string lights on the tree, as if it weren't "Pre-lit" . Saves a lot of time.
  • ChicagoCooperator
    ChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 311
    I too, have always loved bubble lights. I have an ancient strand of Woolworth's lights too, which work well, surprisingly.

    When my dad was a kid in the late 20's/30's Poland the tree would be unveiled on Christmas Eve and it would have real candles. I'm sure, knowing my grandmother, that the tree was gone by New Year's Eve.
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