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When Hobbies Collide...

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Pillar of the Community
United States
7455 Posts
 Posted 02/06/2013  9:36 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Earle42 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
My two main hobbies are coins and glass insulators. Here is a merger of the two produced by the Chesapeake Bay insulator Club (CBIC). A "Challenge coin" the size of a silver round:






And here is a picture of an actual (circa 1870s) insulator of the style on the coin - marked B&O for the B&O RR:


No, its not dirty, those are quality control issues of contaminants in the glass - considered desirable.
How much squash could a Sasquatch squash if a Sasquatch would squash squash?
Valued Member
Canada
453 Posts
 Posted 02/06/2013  9:41 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Jerry_B to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That is really cool, Earle!

>> Edited to add:

Do you collect railway insulators only, or power utility insulators as well? I'm a ham radio operator. At ham flea markets (aka: hamfests)I have occasionally noticed some fellows selling antique insulators.
Edited by Jerry_B
02/06/2013 10:00 pm
Pillar of the Community
United States
1211 Posts
 Posted 02/06/2013  10:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Hondo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Truth be told, I dont even know what an insulator is, but those are beautiful and its an awesome coin. I live in VA and if was a VA based club, I would ask if I could buy one.

Your insulator has rainbow toning!

Thanks for sharing Earle42.
Pillar of the Community
Australia
2830 Posts
 Posted 02/06/2013  11:21 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Peter THOMAS to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Once or twice a year, I drive the length of the Stuart Highway (3,000 km), and which follows the path of the original Overland Telegraph, built 1869~1872, and which linked the population centres in south-east Australia to Darwin in the north. From Darwin, the cable went undersea to Java, and then linked to India, and eventually to London.

Anyway, my trip takes me through very sparsely-settled country - desert mostly - and towns are 100 km apart.
When I stop and get out, to stretch my legs, I often find the original telegraph poles, and occasionally I see an insulator. In Australia, they are commonly ceramic, although we do have glass as well.
I must look more closely for maker's marks, next time I see one.

Peter in Darwin, Australia.
Pillar of the Community
United States
2734 Posts
 Posted 02/07/2013  12:17 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add DNA to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Too bad my grandmother had only "common-date" insulators on her windowsills...
Valued Member
Canada
271 Posts
 Posted 02/07/2013  07:00 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add OddCoins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I used to collect insulators too. I ended up selling all of them to my uncle after I found out that I couldn't pay anyone else to take them away!
Pillar of the Community
United States
3451 Posts
 Posted 02/07/2013  09:18 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CoinsKelly to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It is nice when hobbies overlap like that.
Pillar of the Community
United States
7455 Posts
 Posted 02/13/2013  12:40 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Earle42 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Oops - forgot about posting this...
@Jerry B

Quote:
Do you collect railway insulators only, or power utility insulators as well? I'm a ham radio operator. At ham flea markets (aka: hamfests)I have occasionally noticed some fellows selling antique insulators.

Primarily I collect glass insulators b/c, besides the historic significance, I like to see the sun coming through them in my windows (two windows - top to bottom) - it looks like a wall of stained glass. The following pic does not have all the colored glass in it that I now do - I was using it to sort certain pieces when I took this pic:


However, I do have some of the large power insulators, but most of them, also are glass. I have a light blue one of these. Then I also have a lot of the normal-sized porcelain out around my house on display b/c, unlike glass, it does not pass light, but these also come in a about every color of the rainbow.


@Hondo

Quote:
Truth be told, I dont even know what an insulator is, but those are beautiful and its an awesome coin. I live in VA and if was a VA based club, I would ask if I could buy one.

Insualtors were used on telegraph poles and then, when it was invented, telephone poles. Each insulator was mounted on its own pin on a crossarm and had the communications wire wrapped around their middle. The glass (or porcelain) the insualtor was made of insualtoed the wire from grounding so it could carry electrical commmunications. Larger glass ones, but mainly porcelain, were used to carry high power lines.

Actually, we have members from CT, DE, MD, PA, NY,VA, WV, and one from IL! There is not really a specific "base," but our president right is employed at Westpoint. The last President lives in D.C.

So if you want one, send me a note, The club normally asks 12.00 for them b/c of manufacturing costs, but I would sell you the extra one I have for 10.00 +S&H. Actually, if any other CCF member wants one, I would do the same for them. These are about the size of an ASE, but heavier.

@Peter in Oz
Yes - Australia used a lot of porcelain, but also (IMO) one of the prettiest, and certainly the largest, purple glass insulators came from Australia (pic is not mine, but I own a couple):

I love these and, yes, it was one of the first pieces from there that I owned. It is larger than a typical glass insulator. Its hard to beat the eye candy of a large chunk of purple glass. These can also be had in different, lighter colors of green and straw along with a lineup of differing purple shades.

Here are pics of more Aussie glass - these are just a few and there are better shades of purples and amber not in the pics. - I personally like the tall ones in the back - in purpe and darker ambers):



Most of the glass ones you would find likely are marked "AGEE," for "Australia Glass." The company did not like simply putting "AG" so they wrote it phonetically. Also, I have contacts and have emailed several collectors from Oz. It cannot hurt when you see these to pick them up - you might find something rare. As far as porcelain, sorry I don't know anything about it from your home, but could get you in contact with those who do know. If I were you and had this opportunity, I would pick up what I found to see if there is anything of monetary value (certainly there is historic). Even if you don't collect them, there are people who would probably buy them off of you and you could maybe help finance your coin hobby this way :)

@DNA

Quote:
Too bad my grandmother had only "common-date" insulators on her windowsills...
[quote]
Check them for anything unusual such as inclusions in the glass (nails, buttons), or if they have impurities such as amber swirling, the amount of impurities can make them worth something to a collector.

@oddcoins
[quote]I used to collect insulators too. I ended up selling all of them to my uncle after I found out that I couldn't pay anyone else to take them away!

Sometimes it is all about finding an active collector (MUCH easier to do nowadays on the web) - and sometimes it is because the insulators are as common as a 1964 nickel. But a collector will also take the time, usually to go through and pick out anything that might be odd that would make the common into an uncommon (such as inclusions, impurities, specific rare embossing, etc.).

If anyone ever wants info on anything they have, shoot me a PM anytime. Also, you can google glass insulator website and find two prominent ones where about any question can be answered and any piece identified. If anyone finds anything of value and does not want it, I can put you in touch with the right people. The people in the insulator hobby remind me of the CCF family for honesty and family attitude.

How much squash could a Sasquatch squash if a Sasquatch would squash squash?
Pillar of the Community
United States
3451 Posts
 Posted 02/13/2013  12:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CoinsKelly to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wonderful post! Those a beautiful and I had no idea of the historical significance they held. I love the fact that AGEE was based on the phonetic spelling. Thank you for sharing all this information.
Pillar of the Community
United States
3466 Posts
 Posted 02/13/2013  1:26 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add matthewvincent to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Earle42,
I had to say "Esthetic Wonder" when looking at your picture.
How can you NOT smile on a sunny day seeing the play of light through these little treasures
from the past. Coming from a guy who is color-blind this is HIGH PRAISE!

Brother, can you spare a "BARBER" dime?
Valued Member
Canada
453 Posts
 Posted 02/13/2013  3:52 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Jerry_B to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wow! That is so fascinating. Great pictures!
I'm going to start watching for these beauties at flea markets.
Pillar of the Community
United States
7455 Posts
 Posted 02/13/2013  5:46 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Earle42 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@CoinsKelly
Yes, these little gems are amazing in the history they have behind them. I have one piece that when I hold it, I know the message of Lincoln's assassination had to pass through the wire it was holding b/c it was found at a dig site from the Confederacy and the make/style of it was one used during this time period.

I have another that was used along the line at Promontory Point UT where the trains touched noses to commemorate the 1st transcontinental RR.

Other pieces, by their date held the wires transmitting everything from Garfield and McKinley's assassinations, Pearl Harbor, VE day, Kennedy's assassination, and the moon landing (yes - some were in service - replaced after their poles were replaced - this long!)


@matthewvincent - Yes - the morning sunlight comes through these each day and I can see it from where I sit. It is amazing. Ands, BTW, I have insulator collecting friends who are colorblind also! Some of them can see some colors, and some just like them for the variety of shapes and the history of them.

@jJerry B
Every person I know who has started collecting, or has become educated in them (fun!) has found at least one multi-hundred (300.00-1200.00) dollar insulator within 5 years at antique shops, garage sales, flea markets etc.

There is a picture folder on the largest glass insulator website that, last time I told a CCF member about it, he spent most of one day looking at them!

The only color that legit insulators were never made in was red b/c it takes gold in the glass batch to make glass turn red. However, there have been numerous commemoratives made in red to fill the gap :)




How much squash could a Sasquatch squash if a Sasquatch would squash squash?
Pillar of the Community
Australia
2830 Posts
 Posted 02/13/2013  6:14 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Peter THOMAS to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thankyou for that.
I had heard of "AGee", but did not appreciate its meaning.
I've only seen glass insulators in colourless, or various pale shades of green.
I'll keep my eyes peeled for the other colours.
New Member
Australia
1 Posts
 Posted 08/31/2014  08:55 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Martog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Guys

Newbie here from Australia I just saw this facinating post on Insulators I to have a small but expanding Vintage HV/LV Insulator collection. I will get some pictures together during the week and post. I am an Electrician/Linesman, and started collecting them at the start of 2014.

Regards
Mark

Pillar of the Community
United States
7455 Posts
 Posted 08/31/2014  4:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Earle42 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Mark,
There are quite a few collectors in Oz. If you go to insulators.info, I am sure you can find anything you want to know.

Look in the picture poster gallery and type in AGEE and you will find pics and likely contacts. Once person that comes to mine is Graeme Snell. Search for his name in the picture poster gallery to get his email contact.

I have corresponded with him in the past and he seems a great person.

How much squash could a Sasquatch squash if a Sasquatch would squash squash?
Pillar of the Community
United States
541 Posts
 Posted 07/08/2021  4:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Nells250 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I just ran into this thread... My boyfriend and his brother used to actively collect insulators as well, and there are still some nice ones in their attic. I myself only have one... sort of...

;-)

(As I've said here before, I like miniatures!)

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