Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Vintage Feather Tree with some "make do" ornaments

A pre-WWII German Feather Tree. Usually referred to as "Turkey Feather Trees", but I have also read that goose feathers were used.

The feathers were dyed... most of the time green, but I have seen other colors.

The old "rule of thumb" in the antiques world was that their value was $100 a foot. I haven't kept up with pricing so I don't know what it would be currently. This one is 2 feet tall. They came in tiny 3 or 4" sizes all the way up to 6 to 8 ft. tall.

{Next to the base are other bases I have found... just in case I found some feather trees lying around in basements needing bases.... not likely anymore!}

On the tree is old spun cotton millinery fruit that I made into ornaments.

The carrots are my favorites. There are two "good luck" pickles on there too.

I originally I had almost a VAN full of vintage spun cotton millinery fruit! I bought the remainder of inventory of the Bonita Fruit Company~ the midwest distributor of spun cotton fruit.

The nephew of the owners called an antiques store I was working at asking if anyone there was interested in some spun cotton fruit. Instead of saying "Are you kidding?" I said " I think I might be interested!"

I made an appointment for that day and three hours of loading later with me hyperventilating with excitement I had the largest single purchase I have ever made in my antiques career. I was the "Spun Cotton Fruit Lady" for many years.


  1. Love your trees and those ornaments are so unique.

  2. Such an interesting history. I have never heard of these types of trees before. They sure don't look like feathers. I do like the sparse look and the spun cotton ornaments are so unique. What fun! A great little tree for the kitchen or a great old restaurant. We have a small tree in our tv room that our cat is attacking every single day. It's a little cockeyed now. Wishing you holiday blessings. Tammy

  3. I love how colorful your tree is...these type of experiences dont happen everyday, so I can feel your excitement.
    wouldnt something like that be neat in a vintage deli or restaurant...fabulous...lucky your were working that day and neat you shared.

  4. I am waiting to find just one unsuspected feather tree. (I'm also waiting to find a vintage white and/or tinsel tree. Cheap.) The photos and info about spun ornaments is very interesting. You already know that you have treasures here! I really like that tin house light cover. I am always drawn to miniature houses of any sort.

  5. I am waiting to find just one unsuspected feather tree. (I'm also waiting to find a vintage white and/or tinsel tree. Cheap.) The photos and info about spun ornaments is very interesting. You already know that you have treasures here! I really like that tin house light cover. I am always drawn to miniature houses of any sort.

  6. Well, there is always a first and I never heard about the feather tree. AND fruit as ornaments? How sweet! Creative thinking and you sure can make beauty! Have a blessed day!

  7. Hello Ms.SpunCottonFruitLady,
    You had me on the vintage feather tree....but when you wrote of the purchase of the spun cotton fruit...I started hyperventilating too! Oh what stories we will tell when we finally get together! Happy Christmas Joan!

  8. Joan, I've never seen spun ornaments like yours before. Very interesting and unique. Thank you for sharing.

  9. I have heard about feather trees, but those don't look like feathers. Very pretty - and the fruit is great - the pickle is the BEST!

  10. The spun cotton fruit lady! Wow, that's an impressive title! Thanks for bringing all of the Vintage Christmas bloggers together. Happy Holidays!
    xo, suzy

  11. I always enjoy your blog because you have the most interesting items and stories. The feather tree is amazing and looks perfect with the spun cotton fruit! Here's to hoping you find other trees to fill those bases :-)

  12. Dear Joan
    I always learn something new when I visit here. This is fascinating... I have never heard of spun cotton fruit before! I would've loved to participated in your Christmas Vintage fun.. but am yet to find my christmas decoration 'lost' in the garage.. or just lost!

    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!!! xxx Julie

  13. Oh, Joan! I have fun dreams about being invited to a warehouse and asked what I want to buy .... and no estate sale lines or crazy grouchy people to contend with! So nice of you to share this FAB bit from your past!
    Hugs and Have a Merry Christmas!
    Betty :)

  14. I am crazy about goosefeather trees and hope to own a vintage tree one day. Love your ornaments, they look like marizpan fruits and vegies hanging from your tree. So pretty. Blessings to you and Merry Christmas. Sea Witch

  15. Wow....I had never heard of spun cotton fruit! That had to be such a rush for you that day! Your trees are beautiful, and I want to thank you for doing Vintage Christmas Mondays! It was a lot of fun! Have a great Christmas ! Sandy @ 521lakestreet.

  16. I LOVE IT THAT YOU HAVE A VEGETABLE CHRISTMAS TREE!! You are so very clever and it is so unique!!

    Koodos!! to you.

    Happy holidays,


  17. Joan, these are wonderful. I don't know about spun cotton fruit, but guess it is like the spun cotton ornaments you shared previously. They make a fun tree!
    Thanks again for hosing the Vintage Christmas Monday. It has been fun. Great idea! ~ Sarah

  18. That tree is just so lovely. Great story about the van load of vintage produce...I am always drawn to the fruity goods too! Plan to visit all the VCM pals over the next couple of days. Thanks so much for hosting!

  19. Oh Joan, I THANK YOU! I am so glad I found you and I have had some nice comments from readers who found me through you!

    I wish I didn't feel so overwhelmed this year - I have not been able to enjoy the other blogs like I would like to. I didn't even get my feather tree up this year. I love that you gave some history on feather trees and the story about spun cotton fruit. I collect it too, and would have DIED if I had been in the position you were in!! What fun! I have sold a lot of my old Christmas stuff, too, but have held on to the fruit for the years I do get my tree up and decorated. I will be following you after the holiday season and wish you a very merry Christmas, too!

  20. First, I want to thank you for all your vintage posts and for hosting Vintage Holiday Mondays!

    We actually DID luck into a 3-4 foot feather tree in a home in Michigan City, Indiana. My MIL was helping to clear a relative's home, and we were invited to take a look around. I saw the tree and said, "I want that!" My husband thought I was nuts until I proved how collectible they were becoming! After that he found me another one of about the same height. I LOVE my Charlie Brown Christmas trees!!!

    Happy Holidays from LaPorte, Indiana!

  21. I HAVE to HAVE one of those trees and the fruit too...adding to my list of the top 5,000 things I HAVE to BUY before I DIE!

  22. Joan, I love the comment just above mine here...funny! Anywhoo, I do also love feather trees and your spun cotton fruit. This is the best tree that I have seen all season. I vote it number 1 for its whimsy. Thank-you again and again for featuring my posts twice! XO's.

  23. Joan, thank you again for having the party. I really enjoyed it. AND your fruit and vegetable tree is just wonderful.
    Please remember to add me to your Valentine Party list!
    Christmas Blessings,


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