This post is part of a monthly series that explores the historical applications of building materials and systems through resources from the Building Technology Heritage Library (BTHL), an online collection of AEC catalogs, brochures, trade publications, and more. The BTHL is a project of the Association for Preservation Technology, an international building preservation organization.

The dwindling daylight hours in the Northern hemisphere notwithstanding, lighting is an integral component of the holiday season. To celebrate, many cities around the world install illuminated scenes and outfit conventional floodlighting with festive options ahead of the new year. Here, the BTHL offers a glimpse into holiday and architecture illumination systems of the 20th century.

Yuletide Lighting, General Electric, Cleveland, 1926
This catalog features festive holiday installations of colored Christmas tree light strands, along with “festoons, illuminated wreaths, window candles and mantel and table decorations.”

Jewels in the Sky, Crouse-Hinds Co., Syracuse, N.Y., 1928
Crouse-Hinds claims “architecture may now use color in floodlighting to intensify its local color or change it altogether.” The catalog features examples of illuminated buildings in various settings.

Architecture of the Night, GE, Schenectady, N.Y., 1930
This publication features essays from various authors, each of which discusses and highlights the use of illumination for the built in environment. In the first essay, architect Raymond Hood declared “the possibilities of night illumination have barely been touched.”

Golden Glow Floodlighting Projectors and Lantern-Floodlights, Electric Service Supplies Co., Philadelphia, 1932
This catalogs features a series of illustrations of high-rise and civic buildings that were illuminated by upper-story flood lighting.

Lighting for Decoration and Festivity, GE, Cleveland, 1933
This documents suggests “the forms, construction, and certain principles of decorative lighting [are] adaptable to activities in the home, to institutions and to gardens.”

Garden Lighting, Garden Lighting Equipment Co., Cleveland, 1930s
This catalog advertised a “reflecting unit ideally adapted for general lighting of trees, shrubs, bushes, rock gardens, easily mounted under eaves, benches, porch railings, trellises, arbors, etc.” The publication also features pool lighting and an illuminated lily pad.

Better Lighting: Moe Light, Forest City Electric Supply Co., Rockford, Ill., 1951
This catalog advertised the use of exterior post lights, eave lights, and wall lights for exterior residential applications.