My neighbor is in the process of cleaning out his family house, having just sold it, and in the pile of junk out for the trash was this tangle of wires and sockets. Of course it caught my pathologically lighting-attuned eye. I pulled it out for some further examination. Here are the results of my investigation:
Old, probably 1930s or 40s
Christmas tree lights or shrubbery decoration? (see label of Gard-n-Light on back of sockets)
Deadly, at least in the state of repair they are in now
Cool black Bakelite sockets with copper and brass threads and posts
Just incredible the way they tapped and spliced off the trunk line to make each separate socket drop.
It ended up right back where it started, my wife warily assessing the Sanford and Son vibe it created as decoration on our porch.