A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of reviewing Theron Georges’ The Evergleam Book, a detailed account of the fantastical Evergleam aluminum Christmas trees produced the Aluminum Specialty Company. If you’ve been visiting the blog for at least a year, then you’ll know I’m in love with aluminum trees. Well, Georges is back with another aluminum tree book, Starlight by Revlis: A Sensational Revelation and in it explains that almost everything we knew about the history aluminum trees is wrong.
Georges starts his new book with a mystery tree from Revlis, a white aluminum tree with an inscription reading “Merry Xmas Mary Made by Mrs. Helen Hankus. Ok, so let’s back up, a white aluminum tree? Yes, it’s a thing. In fact Revlis produced a vast rainbow of trees, including solid trees of the traditional silver, as well as gold, green, blue, and pink. They also did multi-color trees, including blue and green, red and green, green and black, “Rainbow” which was made up of red, green, and gold, as well as “Pink Champagne” which was pink and silver. Georges details the unique way in which the white tree tree was crafted, and what results from his digging is that Revlis was the first to manufacture aluminum trees for the masses, predating Evergleam by years.
Revlis, simply “silver” spelled backwards, was the creation of Chester Hankus. So not only was the white tree incredibly unique, it was hand-crafted by the wife of the man who established Revlis, making it even more of a treasure in the history of aluminum trees. What sets Revlis trees apart from most other aluminum trees is their density. Unlike other trees, which are relatively sparse, Revlis trees are very full. This is partially due to their branch design. Many aluminum tree designs, including Evergleam trees, feature branches that are all the same length and it is the angle of the holes drilled into the “trunks” that give the shape. For Revlis trees, the holes are ever so slightly angled, and the branches are multiple different lengths. These design choices often give Revlis the nick name “the Cadillac of aluminum trees.”
A slim book of 53 pages (compared to the 195 page Evergleam Book) Starlite by Revlis, is still full of incredible information and images, containing vintage and contemporary photographs, as well vintage newspaper advertisements for Revlis’ trees, instruction sheets, and even patent illustrations. I especially love some of the vintage ads, as they call out the various copy-cat trees that were later produced, with lines like “NO PHONEY BALONEY!” and “DON’T BE FOOLED…by imitations of the REVLIS ‘STARLITE’ Trees” as well as “STARLITE by REVLIS – THE Originator and Daddy of All Stainless Metal Trees.”
Georges has a wonderfully passionate and conversational tone that makes for a quick, but very informative read. I really enjoyed this book, as it not only provided more history to aluminum trees, but was a deep dive into a brand I was not really familiar with. While I have seen Revlis trees here and there at antique malls and flea markets, Patrick and I don’t own one. I prefer the sparseness of the Evergleam and Fairyland brands. But much like real Christmas trees, everyone has different tastes, and Revlis trees are perfect for those who prefer a fuller tree and/or incredibly unique colors. You can get your hands on your own Revlis tree on ebay. And if you have a Revlis tree, then you absolutely need this book.
A must for any vintage aluminum tree lover, you can get yourself a copy (or perhaps one as a gift this holiday season) of Starlite by Revlis: A Sensational Revelation (as well as Georges’ The Evergleam Book) from Georges’ website. Need yet another book on aluminum trees? Get Season’s Gleamings, the very first book written about aluminum trees, on Amazon, ebay, and AbeBooks.
Disclaimer: I was not approached by the author or publisher of Starlite by Revlis. I purchased this book and wrote this review of my own accord. This post also contains an Amazon affiliate link for Season’s Gleamings.