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NOMA was an American company best known for making Christmas lights. It was once the largest manufacturer of holiday lighting in the world, but since 1967 has existed only as a licensed trademark. It is now held by Inliten, LLC, of Glenview, Illinois.
NOMA was formed in 1925 as the National Outfit Manufacturer's Association, a trade group made up of 13–15 smaller manufacturers hoping to gain competitive advantage by combining their marketing and purchasing power. In 1926, the association’s members officially incorporated as the NOMA Electric Corporation and began selling NOMA-branded light sets.
NOMA introduced a number of innovations to holiday lighting, including:
- the use of E17 intermediate base lamps for outdoor decorating (1928),
- parallel-wired light sets for indoor use (1934),
- all-rubber cords (1940),
- Bubble Lites (1946), and
- fused safety plugs (1951).
When the NOMA Electric Company was located in New York City, it may have produced the first commercial printed circuit board in 1946 with its Party Quiz Game. It was an electrical board game with replaceable question cards and two electrodes which, when placed in the proper positions to answer a question correctly, cause a bulb to light. Initially hard-wired, the game was made thinner by hot pressing aluminum foil onto cardboard, with the electrical contacts made into the board.
In 1953, NOMA incorporated its Christmas light manufacturing operations into NOMA Lites, Inc. and enjoyed considerable success. But by the early 1960s, the company faced increasing competition from cheaper, imported light sets, and it filed for bankruptcy in 1965.
There is a company in the UK called NOMA Lights, founded in 1939 making it the oldest supplier of holiday lights in the world, by Fred Capel and now in the hands of his son, Clive Capel.
There was a NOMA Corporation in Canada. In February 2007, Electrical Components International (ECI) purchased GenTek’s wire and cable assembly business known as NOMA Corporation. ECI owns the copyright license for the brand-name rights to “NOMA”, but does not have responsibility or involvement in the design, sourcing or manufacture of these products.
- Original internal documentation of inventor Seymour Golub and NOMA catalog