Deep Dive: Exploring the Exhibits

Goose Feather Tree (late 19th/early 20th c.)

This is a Goose Feather Christmas tree affixed to a white box with a detail of a green wreath with two red bells in the center. The branches are wrapped with dyed green goose feathers coupled with fake red berries. The tree stands at about 75 inches tall, with a width of 23 inches at its widest point.


Artificial Christmas trees were developed in Germany during the late 1800s. The specific location and creator is unknown, but these trees were then brought to America by German immigrants, produced and sold in dime stores during the 1920s and '30s.






Such trees were made of dyed goose and turkey feathers, attached to wires which became the branches for the first artificial trees. Both round and square wooden bases were used, replicating the wooden buckets that were used for bases of live evergreen trees in Germany.


Some trees had composition berries on the tips while others had holders for candles. The trees came in various colors: white, green, blue, light green, and gold. The importing of these trees stopped during WWII. Following the war, some trees were reintroduced to the American market but by that time Americans had already started producing their own version of the artificial tree, the "visca tree." It wasn't until the 1980s that "feather trees" were reintroduced to the American market. This time the trees were being produced by American craftsmen.

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COVID-19 UPDATE
All tours of the Rogers Mansion and Thomas Halsey Homestead must now be booked in advance of arrival. Please call 631-283-2494 to book your tour!
Rogers Mansion - March to December, Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 4pm, $5 for adults, free for children under 17 and members
Thomas Halsey Homestead - July to October, Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 4pm, $5 for adults, free for children under 17 and members
Pelletreau Silver Shop - Open year round, Tuesday to Saturday, 11am to 4pm, Free admission
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17 Meeting House Lane / PO Box 303, Southampton, NY 11968
(631) 283-2494