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When Hobbies Collide...

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Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
9251 Posts
 Posted 08/04/2021  06:14 am  Show Profile   Check NumisRob's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add NumisRob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Earle42, that's lovely!

A tourist railroad not far from where I live still has about ten miles of the original pole route standing along it, and it is maintained in working order. As far as I can remember, each pole has a single red insulator: all the others are white. That would fit with what you said about the red ones being used as identifiers.

I think another trek in the woods by that little railroad halt is called for!
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United States
103894 Posts
Pillar of the Community
United States
7363 Posts
 Posted 08/04/2021  09:51 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Earle42 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks to you both :)

Two clarifications after reviewing my last post.

A red Bullers like mine is no longer around $300.00 like they were. They went back up from $10.00 to around $100-120.00 for the last one I saw for sale at a show (not often!). Mine us worth a lot more to me b/c my friend got it for me!

The cobalt blue coffee set pattern, known as Totem, is a pattern being sold at the time of the filming of The Prisoner. Other colors exist as well. I do not know if this pattern was being sold exclusively there at this time or not, or if the Stoke on Trent location might also have sold them (?). It's hard to find info.
So there is no absolute guarantee mine specifically was there...more info needed...but it could have been!


One of my favorite British insulator sites (also a good friend of mine who brings me Marmite when he comes over here to shows!):
https://www.myinsulators.com/ukinsulators/

Clicking the "High Resolution Galeries" link will show a page indexing great photographs of insulators in the wild in many different countries. The second British flag link will take you to a page full of RR insulators in which you can find the red Bullers pieces as well as many others.




Quote:
A tourist railroad not far from where I live still has about ten miles of the original pole route standing along it, and it is maintained in working order. As far as I can remember, each pole has a single red insulator: all the others are white. That would fit with what you said about the red ones being used as identifiers.

I know on James' site he has pics of a tourist area line with red Bullers on the poles...but...the red ones are painted insulators for the tourists to see. I hope the one you talk about is not the same...and I sure hope you find some great pieces there. Please share pics with us.


Quote:

I think another trek in the woods by that little railroad halt is called for!

Want company? You can keep anything found! I just want the experience of hunting insulators in the wild in the UK.
I will email myself over and...

...don't I wish!
The slabbed Half dollar No FG farce: Download No-FG half vs. Grading Company Claims report here:
https://tinyurl.com/yalrstjz or higher resolution version: https://tinyurl.com/y7rksxu8

- How much squash could a Sasquatch squash if a Sasquatch would squash squash?
Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
9251 Posts
 Posted 08/05/2021  07:10 am  Show Profile   Check NumisRob's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add NumisRob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Earle42 - would enjoy the company but I'm not really that good at finding insulators!

This is a pole I missed. It stood for years on a small triangle of railroad-owned land outside my local train station. Access was impossible. I hoped one day it might blow down and that I might be able to rescue some of the insulators! But one day I drove past and it had been removed!
I suppose the railroad authorities were concerned about it getting rotten and being blown down across the tracks...
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 Posted 08/05/2021  11:20 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I hoped one day it might blow down and that I might be able to rescue some of the insulators! But one day I drove past and it had been removed!
Bummer. Would have been quite a haul.
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United States
7363 Posts
 Posted 08/05/2021  10:31 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Earle42 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Bummer. Would have been quite a haul.

I agree...bummer for sure...

I know in the States the poles have come down b/c of liability. Judges awarding millions over spilled hot coffee has become so rampant that what used to be common sense (you climb and fall -its your own fault for doing it!) is no more. This has had the unfortunate result of the removal of almost all insulators and poles. So much history thrown in the dump...its sad. It used to be quite a site seeing all that glittering glass in the air along RR tracks. Now they just look bare and empty to me.

I don't know if this is why the poles are being removed in the UK or not. I suspect so. I would think out in the wilder areas there likely are still things to be found though. A friend of mine had the great idea of finding places the pole line went up over hills above train tunnels. He found some really nice stuff still up in these hard to reach areas b/c almost everyone who ever was searching for insulators in those areas were just not energetic enough to venture.
He was doing this for years and literally ran out of tunnels to search! Now he ventures out into the remotest areas he can and searches.
The slabbed Half dollar No FG farce: Download No-FG half vs. Grading Company Claims report here:
https://tinyurl.com/yalrstjz or higher resolution version: https://tinyurl.com/y7rksxu8

- How much squash could a Sasquatch squash if a Sasquatch would squash squash?
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United Kingdom
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 Posted 08/06/2021  6:43 pm  Show Profile   Check NumisRob's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add NumisRob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
In the UK they tend to take down the poles as soon as a railroad line adopts more modern technology The few that survive tend to be close to railroad depots and freight yards. However, when railroad lines closed in large numbers in the 1960s the poles were often left standing and can sometimes still be seen today.
Pillar of the Community
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 Posted 08/17/2021  03:24 am  Show Profile   Check NumisRob's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add NumisRob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I went for a walk yesterday, partly along the trackbed of a disused railway. The only insulators I found were smashed fragments:

The only intact insulator I saw was this one - high up on a signal cabin on a miniature tourist railroad:
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 Posted 08/17/2021  12:09 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The only insulators I found were smashed fragments:
Pillar of the Community
United States
7363 Posts
 Posted 08/17/2021  1:14 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Earle42 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The only insulators I found were smashed fragments:


Sad pieces of smashed history


If you find a red Bullers one this way, or some other hard to finn piece, go ahead and make what the hobby has sometimes called a "kitsulator" out of it with some porcelain glue.

I have to admit I am past the stage of adding a lot of insulators to my collection anymore b/c the history, research and writing aspect has become so much fun for me. I have a bunch of more common pieces that are hiding historical info about their manufacture, companies, machines invented/used to make them and this takes up my hobby time concerning insulators.

Enter the new major collision of the two hobbies:

Some background:
The hidden info I mentioned on insulators comes in the way of different marks (number or letter) on the insulator indicating one of the following:
1. Date Code: a cryptic company code indicating the date a piece was made.

2. Mold Number (MN): a small number/letter telling the number of the mold the insulator was made in for aiding broken mold repairs.

3. Shop Number (SN): A shop (group of workers) had their own SN engraved into their molds so each insulators made by that shop would be traceable to which shop made it. The large, prominently placed SNs (dome top or sides) made for easy tallying/payment to each shop for each insulator they made.

Recently a new interest in these marks has grown since people want to know/collect a "complete set" of their favorite style of insulator by these markings. But there is no list to tell them what is out there for their specialty area.

Here is the collision:

All of the above markings are collectively known "Mold Marks (MM)." Currently I am heading a project for the National Insulator Association designed to solicit online insulator collectors to contribute/build a database of all known MMs in all categories.

In my write-up explaining the project to the insulator hobby I mentioned insulator collectors would now have a guide enabling the collecting of insulators in a way coin collectors have always enjoyed to make a set: Getting a complete set of MMs (Mint Marks or Mold Marks depending on the hobby) for each item collected.

So what better name for the project than "Project Red Book?"

So now the insulator hobby's "Project Red Book," is in the design/coding stage!

The slabbed Half dollar No FG farce: Download No-FG half vs. Grading Company Claims report here:
https://tinyurl.com/yalrstjz or higher resolution version: https://tinyurl.com/y7rksxu8

- How much squash could a Sasquatch squash if a Sasquatch would squash squash?
Edited by Earle42
08/17/2021 2:18 pm
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