Christmas Pyramids from the Erzgebirge
Christmas pyramids are an essential part of Christmas in every household in Seiffen and indeed in the whole of the Erzgebirge. Alongside nutcrackers, incense smokers and candle arches, they are the most popular decorations. The candlelight they produce creates a really cosy atmosphere, and the patterns of light they project on the ceiling make every child’s heart beat faster.
Their rotating discs often feature Christmas scenes. The nativity, angel musicians, Santa Claus, miners and forest scenes are some of the most popular. But today you can also get less specific versions. From Easter bunnies to bees and mice, there is something here for everyone.
The history of the Christmas pyramid
The basic design for the Christmas pyramid originated from the shape and operation of the horse whim, a kind of windlass used in mining to bring mined materials up to the surface. At the beginning of the 18th century, Lichtergestelle (literally, light stands) were decorated with sprigs of evergreen and candles. By the end of the 18th century, they had evolved into rotating towers. And over time these were honed to become what we know today as the Christmas pyramid.
How does a Christmas pyramid work?
The wooden frame of the Christmas pyramid is mounted on a base plate. The pyramid comprises one or more rotating discs decorated with small figures. These are attached to the spindle (shaft). Wooden fan blades are positioned on top of the spindle with the blades of the fan tilted at a slight angle. The point of the spindle sits in a small disc in the base of the pyramid. This disc may be made from glass, ceramic or steel. When the candles of the pyramid are lit, the rising warmth from the flames starts to turn the blades and thus the rotating discs.
Many different types
There are many different types of pyramid. Traditional models such as whim pyramids remind us of the origins of the Christmas pyramid. Pyramids may come with a single tier, or with many tiers. They are driven by pyramid candles or tea lights. If you decide on a tea light pyramid, you should use special pyramid tea lights. Only these guarantee a uniformly strong flame.
Electric pyramids are gaining in popularity. They mean you have no dripping candle wax and there is no need to keep your Christmas pyramid under constant surveillance. They are usually driven by an electric motor and are lit by small light bulbs.
A very attractive variant are hanging pyramids, which are suspended from the ceiling. Here you need to ensure you leave enough space above them to generate the correct thermal currents.
Another type are mini pyramids that you place above a radiator or stove where the rising heat turns them round.
But what if you still can’t find the right one for you, despite all the choice? In that case you have the opportunity to create your very own pyramid. An undecorated pyramid gives you the chance to give your creativity free rein.
My pyramid has stopped turning
If your Christmas pyramid has stopped turning properly, this can usually be remedied with very little effort. The problem frequently lies with the disc inside the pyramid. A drop of fine machine oil (resin-free), for example sewing machine oil, often works wonders. If that does not solve the problem, you may need to change the disc. With the majority of pyramids this is an easy task. If your pyramid still doesn’t turn properly, please contact us.
Never leave lighted candles unattended. If the pyramid stops rotating, it is important to sort it out quickly. This is the only way to guarantee long-term enjoyment from your pyramid.