While stars and snowflakes at the tops of Christmas trees are the favorites of many families, angels rule the roost. In 18th-century Germany, tree-topping Christmas angels were formed of plaster on a composition armature, with paper robes covered in brass foil. Some late-19th-century Nuremberg angels wore paper-and-foil crowns, while others were backed by pleated paper wings and wrapped in matching paper skirts. In the United States, in the 20th century, a particularly popular angel tree-topper was manufactured by companies such as National Tinsel of Wisconsin and TIMCO. Made of lithographed and foiled paper, with spun cotton for clouds, these angels were backed by halos of hair-thin glass rods, which obviously broke easily, making them scarce today.


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