Sunday, November 27, 2005

To Flock or Not to Flock?

Here’s an interesting question we received recently. David asked:

In the fifties and early sixties I remember seeing tree lots that not only sold green evergreens. They also would dip some of the trees in paint. The entire tree. They had a large vat and pastel paint was either pink, white or light powder blue. Am I dreaming? What was this process called? Why did it stop? Is their any info available about such a process?

At first I was tempted to suggest he dreamed the whole thing or maybe was remembering a Simpsons episode or something. But I asked some growers and did a little internet research.

What he’s probably remembering is 'flocking'. You could have any color and the 'flock' was sprayed onto the tree; kind of a pasty, powdery colored product that had to dry before handling. They still do flocking today, but use different materials that are not made of paper pulp anymore and the predominant color is white to simulate snow. Flocking popularity is a very regional thing.
According to several sites, -- flocking became extremely popular in the 1950s and 1960s –– and came in white, pink or blue (just like he mentioned.) They even sold a home flocking device that could be attached to your vacuum cleaner. Wow, people actually turned their Christmas Tree pink with their vacuum cleaner? I wonder if a sequence like that was left on the cutting room floor of the movie A Christmas Story?

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