NOMA has endured as a symbol of tradition and nostalgia for many generations of families, stretching back to the early 20th century.
Our iconic Christmas lights, known for their colourful and festive glow, have been a cherished part of holiday celebrations in many households around the world. The story of NOMA begins in 1926 when the National Outfit Manufacturer's Association (NOMA) introduced the first commercially available string of electric Christmas lights. Prior to this innovation, Christmas tree lighting involved hanging or attaching candles (which posed a significant fire hazard).
NOMA's pioneering move revolutionised the way people decorated their Christmas trees (safely) and homes during the holiday season. The early NOMA lights were made with colourful translucent bulbs that were hand-painted, giving them a charming and somewhat whimsical appearance.
In the 1930s, NOMA continued to innovate by introducing new lighting technologies. NOMA developed bubble lights, a unique and popular addition to the Christmas lighting tradition. These lights featured liquid-filled tubes that bubbled when heated, creating a mesmerising effect that captivated many children for hours.
Bringing the joy of NOMA to new territories, the brand expanded into the UK in March of 1939 as a joint venture between Noma Inc. of Toronto and a consortium of UK and European partners.
NOMA played a significant role during World War II as a symbol of hope and normalcy during a time of turmoil - with slogans like "Keep 'Em Aglow" - encouraging people to continue their holiday traditions despite the wartime challenges.
NOMA became a symbol of the post-war boom and evolved to include new features like blinking bulbs, musical synchronisation, and various shapes and colours. In 1969, NOMA Lites Limited was formed when the Capel family bought NOMA Electric Company Ltd from the Consortium.
The Capel’s opened their offices in the famous Brooklands racing circuit and aerodrome, previously the home of the Hawker Hurricane and Vickers Wellington manufacturing.
NOMA lights evoke a sense of warmth, comfort, and togetherness during the holiday season. Vintage NOMA lights are even highly sought after by collectors, while modern lighting designs pay homage to their iconic and historical significance.
Securing the ongoing legacy of NOMA, In 2014 the brand became part of the LeisureGrow Group, a family-run business based in Hertfordshire that supplies products for homes , pets and gardens across the UK and Ireland.
The history of NOMA is a story of innovation, tradition, and the enduring spirit of the holiday season. From NOMA’s early days as a luxury item, to becoming a ubiquitous part of holiday décor, NOMA lights have illuminated countless homes and hearts, contributing to the magic and wonder of Christmas for nearly a century.