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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Back in the day: Angel hair

You won't often hear me say "Good riddance" about a vintage item, but one thing I don't miss at all is the angel hair used to decorate for Christmas when I was a child in the 1950s.

Although there are products on the market today that resemble the real angel hair, I've read that the original spun glass product is no longer made in the U.S. It can still be found on eBay and Etsy, and I believe it is still manufactured outside this country, but you won't see me buying any of it.

When I was a kid, my parents and grandparents would warn us not to touch it. Of course, that made touching it all the more exciting...till the stinging and itching started. There was no way to handle the stuff without getting tiny filaments of glass in your fingers and all over your hands and arms (and sometimes in your clothing and socks), and you would feel like you had rolled around in cactus.

Angel hair was beautiful. There's no denying that. But sometimes beauty isn't worth the price you have to pay.


Angel hair with vintage ornaments
susiej.com

Vintage angel hair (I'm itching just looking at the photo.)
ebay.com - aboveindustry

Having to use rubber gloves to handle it should have been our first clue.
ebay.com - aboveindustry

13 comments:

  1. We must be the same age because I remember steering clear of that stuff. Do you remember the heavy tinsel? I think it was lead. My brother and I would roll the tinsel up and chuck it or else he would use it as cannon balls for his tanks. That stuff was fun!

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  2. OMV (Oh my Vintage!) I was just thinking about angel hair and wondering if I had imagined it. I mean who on earth would have that around with kids (or anyone with skin) at Christmas? But yes, I see it DID exist.

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  3. Nothing says Christmas like hands full of spun glass shards.

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  4. I remember this at my grandparents house! Hilarious, thanks for the memory...ouch!

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  5. Oh gosh, that's scary! Life sure was rough for 1950s kids . . . the stories my mom has . . .

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  6. @SusieQT: I had forgotten that tinsel, but your mentioning it brought back memories of playing with it. And, you're right, it probably was lead. Oh, the things we were exposed to back then...lead, asbestos, spun glass. It's a wonder we survived at all.

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  7. @Nick: At our house, we sang "I'm Dreaming of a Masochistic Christmas." That's just how we rolled. ;)

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  8. @Jenny: Yes, we can laugh about it now. But I can't remember a Christmas that some kid in the family didn't get into the angel hair and start bawling. LOL

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  9. @Tanya: And, like me, did she have to walk 5 miles to school barefoot in the snow...uphill both ways? :)

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  10. @DearHelenHartman: No, you didn't imagine it. Some evil scientist really did invent it to torture small children.

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  11. Wow I totally forgot about that stuff...I just remember picking it up and OUCH!

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  12. Oh my gosh - Angel Hair! I remember this all around our house when I was growing up. I remember the "hands off" rule. Thanks for the flash back. ;)

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  13. @LeAnn and Rhan: These days we wouldn't even consider having something like this around our kids. What were the adults thinking back then?

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