Author Topic: 2 Glass Insulators  (Read 2099 times)

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Offline BJB

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2 Glass Insulators
« on: June 18, 2005, 03:46:09 PM »
Hi,

I have just come back from my jaunt round the local car boot, and boy is it HOT :cry:

I have confused my poor husband by pouncing on these two insulators like a mad woman, with cries of "I know what these are"

One is Pyrex and is made in the USA, the other is Domminion, but that is as far as I go. I know someone on here is a colletor of these facinating  :wink: objects, and will come to my aid and enlighten me further.

Here they are, in all their glory, and undamaged.

http://tinypic.com/64ovty Mod: Dead link

Barbara


Offline ian.macky

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2 Glass Insulators
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2005, 06:13:06 AM »
Hi Barbara...

Your insulators are a long way from home!  The Pyrex is a CD 128 (that's the insulator collector's numbering system: CD = Consolidated Design), probably used for telephone lines.  Is it marked CSA or CSC?  C = Carrier circuit, S = Steel pin (smaller than the usual 1" old style), last letter = ???.  Real Pyrex boro-silicate glass.  They only come in clear and various light tints-- watch out for darker amber shades, they're irradiated.  The threads on the inside of the skirt are surely to increase the leakage path.  One fanatic has gone so far as to log all known mold codes, but this is rather around the bend.

The Dominion is a CD 154, Canadian, probably for [railroad] signal use.  These guys do come in lots of nice colors, amber shades in particular, which are still one of the best deals in colorful insulators to be had.  The rarest and sexiest color is cornflower blue, from lighter to an almost-light-cobalt shade.  You can see lots of the colors in my CD 154 gallery (I happen to specialize in these).  The CD 154 was the most popular of all designs; in particular, the Hemingray-42 was made by the jillion-- it's ubiquitous.

Both of these styles were copied by other countries, mostly in Central and South America.  There are some very pretty "foreign" CD 128s, but the foreign 154s are generally blah, with the exception of Zicmes (hand-made in Colombia in the 1960s in small numbers) which have perhaps the nicest color range of any manufacturer.  Also, there was an experimental 128 made by Hemingray in a very nice opal glass-- an attempt at salt-water resistance-- installed only in Florida.  Be careful with these, very soft glass, will dissolve in even mild acid!

And don't forget, two makes a collection-- now you're hooked!

--ian


Offline BJB

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2 Glass Insulators
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2005, 09:06:35 AM »
Hi Ian,

The Dominion one is I think light peach glass, and there is the nomber 11 under the D in the diamond.

The pyrex one says

"Pyrex T.M. REG U.S. PAT. OFF.
 
MADE IN THE USA   PAT APPLIED FOR  NHH"

If this means anything to you.

Barbara


Offline glasswizard

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2 Glass Insulators
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2005, 11:34:46 AM »
Like most things collectable, they come and they go. A few years ago Glass insulators were very hot and brought serious money at auction. A few months ago I was at an auction and the poor auctioneer struggled to get a few dollars for a box full of insulators. They have actually become a craft item, the crafters buying them and trying to figure out what to make with them. But here in Iowa, Telephone poles and their glass insulators are becoming a thing of the past. It seems like everything is now being buried underground and the poles are disappearing from the landscape along with old fashioned barns. Of course outhouses disappeared a long time ago and I am not sure there is anyone that misses those. Terry


Offline paradisetrader

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2 Glass Insulators
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2005, 12:24:25 AM »
Ian I just can't get over how good your site is. You get me interested in something which before I had given no thought to. Your presentation is excellent.
Looking at the CD 154 gallery http://peninsulators.org/Gallery/154.html  it almost makes me want to start collecting them. You have catalogued the colors just right with names that make sense and which I have used myself (ref here mainly to the ambers).

I'm surprised Barbara found any here as I understood from a previous posting by Bernard that mostly we have used ceramic in UK.

I can't help wondering why they bothered to make them in colors given that this is basically a ultitarian item. Could the colors be some kind of code in themselves ??

If not them I guess it must have just been for the brighten up the landscape which is great but extrordinary.
Pete


Offline ian.macky

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2 Glass Insulators
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2005, 04:07:39 AM »
Quote from: "paradisetrader"
I can't help wondering why they bothered to make them in colors given that this is basically a ultitarian item. Could the colors be some kind of code in themselves ??

Hi...  it is nice they come in colors, isn't it?  To insulator collectors, "color" means anything but aqua shades or clear.  As the alert reader knows, a glass  batch is usually some shade of aqua due to trace iron in the sand; greens were often the results of amber cullet mixed into the batch; purples are due to the manganese decolorizer solarizing, same for straw (selenium); carnival glass(tin oxide)  is a radio treatment; milkglass was made to simulate white porcelain (for neutral lines), blackglass to simulate the usual brown/black glaze of porcelain (these last two in a desperate attempt to compete with porcelain manufacturers once glass use was in decline).

As for the other colors, most insulators were a sideline of glasshouses, so they tended to use up batches by cranking some insulators out, so you get the nice colors they intended for tableware, oil lamps, etc.  

Some colors were made on purpose: you could order amber and blue (cobalt, peacock, etc) insulators from Hemingray for use in marking specific lines on crowded crossarms; in this case, the color was a code, but it was up to the end user to define, there's no standard.  The same batches were used in making their other products, so you can find insulators and oil lamps in identical shades, insulators and matching frigerator bottles, etc.

As for the amber shades of Dominions, probably that glass was used for other purposes, likely [beer? medicine?] bottles-- glasshouses only made so many batches, perhaps just one or two at a time (say, clear and a color); if they made up a big amber tank, or had a continuous amber tank, they would crank out all sorts of products with the same color, insulators included.

All in all, they were all sorts of colors because noone cared!  It didn't matter for the functionality, so any color was fine.  Later on, they started specifying clear (better spider-nesting-resistance, less solar heat gain), and production got high quality and boring.

Pretty stuff in a windowsill!

--ian


Offline ian.macky

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2 Glass Insulators
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2005, 04:13:53 AM »
Quote from: "glasswizard"
A few years ago Glass insulators were very hot and brought serious money at auction. A few months ago I was at an auction and the poor auctioneer struggled to get a few dollars for a box full of insulators.

Insulators are alive and well in the core collecting community, but it's only 2,000 or 3,000  people.  Every once in awhile they get some publicity, a write-up in a glossy mag, maybe a spot on TV, and outsiders delve into it-- but that's usually a blip, and it settles back down.  Still, there is much more demand than supply for the good stuff, and prices remain high.  As for the box of insulators that didn't sell, only an expert can tell a $0.01 Hemingray-42 in clear from the $500 version of the same, or the $10,000 aqua insulator from the one you can't give away.  Most random boxes of insulators are worth NADA, the common stuff was made in the literal millions.  Millions are still out there!  Open wire telecom is gone, but the railways still use them for signalling, so you can see insulators galore along the RR tracks still.  --ian


 

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