C7 and C9 Retro Christmas Light Technical Information

C7 and C9 Retro Christmas Light Information

C7 and C9 style Christmas lights are the large, traditional lights that you sometimes see on Christmas trees and other outdoor Christmas displays.  They were very popular back in the 1950s.  You might remember them from the Christmas trees of your childhood or your parents may remember them.  C7 or C9 (depending on the size of the bulb) is their technical name.  Contrary to popular myth, they are still easily available and they are the best kind of lights to use for the holidays.  

View our entire line of C7 Christmas Lights or C9 Christmas Lights.


C7 lights were introduced in 1934, by General Electric, while C9 lights were first introduced in 1927 also by General Electric.  C7 Christmas Lights were considered cream-of-the-crop Christmas lights for their day.  Initially, only very rich people were able to afford to buy C7 lights; as they were very expensive. C9 Christmas Lights were designed for outdoor use and GE and other Christmas light manufacturers sponsored neighborhood "decorating with colored light" contests, in an effort to boost sales.  Early versions of the C9 light had a swirl pattern, which was later retired in favor of a smooth look. Both C7 and C9 Christmas Lights have parallel circuits, which meant that if one light went out, the others stayed lit.  After World War II, C7 and C9 Christmas  lights really became popular.  Throughout the 1950s, everyone used them for Christmas lights.    

You can shop our site for C7 and C9 Style Christmas Lights.  We carry a large selection of C7 and C9 style Christmas lights online. We carry all your favorite colors on both green and white wire. We also carry these lights in Transparent or Clear and Opaque or Ceramic style. So no matter what style or color you are looking for, you can find it here. We also carry a wide variety of LED C7 and C9 Christmas lights.

Here are some other facts about C7 lights. 

  • C7 lights use parallel circuits.  That means that if one bulb burns out,the others stay lit!  No more searching for the burnt out bulb.
  • C7 lights are long-lasting.  You can easily get a good ten years' use out of a set of C7 lights.  You don't need to buy new sets every year.  In the long run, that saves you money. 
  • C7 lights are cool-burning, at 5 watts each.  They do not get hot and they are no more dangerous on your tree than the little twinkle lights or LED lights.
  • They are also energy efficient.  For example, you have a six-foot tree.  Fifty C7 lights will make your tree look bright and festive.  They burn at 5 watts each, so you use a total of 250 watts with the C7 lights.  To achieve the same effect with the little lights, you would need to use at least 500 little lights.  They burn at 1 watt each, so that's a total of 500 watts; double the wattage you would use with C7 lights.  You save energy with C7 lights. 
  • The sockets of C7 lights have molded clips.  You can clip them to your tree's branches and they'll stay put, unlike the little lights, which always slide around. 

Here are some other facts about C9 lights.

  • C9 lights use parallel circuits.  That means that if one light goes out, the others stay lit.  No more searching for the burnt-out bulb. 
  • C9 lights are long-lasting.  You can easily get a good five years out of a string of C9 lights.  With the C9 lights, you won't have to buy new lights every year.  In the long run, that saves you money.   
  • C9 lights burn at 7 watts each.
  • C9 lights are easy to see from outside.  A tree, bush or holiday display that uses C9 lights is very visible and visible from a great distance.  Used outside, the little twinkle lights are barely visible.
  • The sockets of C9 lights have molded clips.  You can clip the sockets on to your tree or bush's branches and they'll stay put, unlike the little lights, which slide around. 

You can connect up to 100 bulbs end to end on a traditional C7 or C9 Christmas Light set, or even more if you used LED C7 or LED C9 lights. Be sure to also check out our spools and replacement lights for even longer runs of C7 and C9 lights. 

Common Questions and Technical Info

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