In 2015 Marengo residents Dave Harms and his antiquing partner, Lynne Eltrevoog, brought about 70 aluminum trees, manufactured between 1958 and 1969, to the McHenry County Historical Society Museum as part of that year's Holiday Open House. Up until this year, when COVID-19 intervened, the dynamic duo staged public displays at the museum for 13 years. Harms began collecting Christmas memorabilia in 1980, when he first set out to find a lighted tree stand like the one his grandparents used when he was a child.
Fearing the stand would leak and short out the lights, Harms said, they never turned it.
“The fact that grandpa and grandma never had it working drove me nuts,” said Harms, who grew up in Morton Grove.
Trees were 2 to 8 feet tall, in colors that ranged from pink to teal. Some were flocked. Others boasted lights on the branches or in the base. Manufactures included Metal Trees Corp., Holi-Gay Manufacturing and Flocking Specialties Inc. in Chicago; and Aluminum Specialty Co. and Mirro Aluminum Co. in Manitowac, Wis. It is estimated Aluminum Specialty, alone, sold some 4 million signature Evergleam brand trees between 1959 and 1969.
“I see it as a moment in time, when we had space exploration coming on and all of these new things being made out of aluminum,” Harms said.
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