Oops - forgot about posting this...
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.
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 :)
Too bad my grandmother had only "common-date" insulators on her windowsills...
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.
[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.