Sunday, 13 December 2015

The longevity of Woolworth's Xmas lights.

From The Daily Mail, last week:

These are Britain's oldest working Christmas fairy lights - which are so ancient the woman who bought them as a teen has now moved into an old people's home.
Vina Shaddick, 61, got the string of colourful illuminations for her festive tree from Woolworths in 1969.

It came with a spare set of bulbs but she's only had to use one - and they have taken pride of place on her family's Christmas tree ever since.

It reminds me a lot of a story they ran a year ago:

Glowing brightly on the tree, these colourful fairy lights look like they could have been bought yesterday.

But they were actually purchased on a trip to Woolworths – 45 years ago. Vina Shaddick has displayed them proudly in her living room every Christmas since 1969, and has only had to change one bulb.

Rather mysteriously, she was 65 a year ago but only 61 this year, but this does not detract from the general point.

I also have two strings of Woolies Xmas lights which have been up for at least the last fifteen Decembers and are still going strong.

Unlike Xmas lights from Homebase - I had a couple of sets which lasted maybe five or ten years and then died on me. I bought some this year which lasted precisely one week, but as they only cost a tenner for 160 lights, you have to take that on the chin, I suppose.


Dinero said...

How long do you find CFL bulbs for rooms last. I find they don't last very long. I've read the CFL bulb life becomes shorter the more times they are cycled on and off.

Bayard said...

Din, it depends on the quality of your electricity supply. I was an early adopter of CFLs because, for some reason, tungsten bulbs kept blowing in my house.

Mark, the problem about the old lights is that they are wired in series, so, like a trades union, one out, all out.

Mark Wadsworth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Wadsworth said...

Din, I have been using energy savers for twenty years and the bayonet cap ones last forever. For som reason the screw in ones don't last as long, but certainly longer than the old ones.

B, so? With the Woolworths ones you replace the appropriate bulb and it works again. The HB one was just completely fucked.

Bayard said...


So it takes you an age to find the blown bulb, as you have to test each one in turn and Sod's law says that the you'll have tested the lot by the time you find the blown one, that's what.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, not with the old Woolies ones you don't.

There is a simple system for working out which one needs to be changed and so it takes you two minutes to replace a broken one. It's certainly quicker and cheaper than going to the shops two buy a new chain and it's more environmentally friendly (ignoring the gratuitous use of electricity bit).