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--- 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 ??
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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!



--- 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.
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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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