heading down to medford/malden, i spotted glass insulators on top of utility poles all along washington street starting from beacon heading northeast in the direction of union square. coming back, i took a detour through the hills of somerville and saw even more insulators. these were all clear, compared to some of the aqua/teal ones i saw on washington street. when i got home i grabbed my telephoto lens and went out to get some photos.
i stopped at the intersection of washington and calvin street, where there were several utility poles with glass insulators. these were all blue, except for one that might've been green, and one that was a brown ceramic. a few of them had broken pins and were just floating in the area, supported by the tension on the electric cables. i even saw two completely on their sides, with the cable seemingly touching the post (i wouldn't want to be there when it rained). a block away on magnus street there was another utility pole with all clear glass insulators.
what i really wanted to know was what kind they were. i couldn't remember seeing any names on the ones i saw in cambridge, but i also wasn't looking. i specifically made sure to check for any identifying marks. the monocular didn't help (they were still too far away) and i could only get an id through the photos. so from what i gathered, there are actually 3 kinds of glass insulators: whitall tatum, gayner, and an unidentified clear variety. whitall tatum was a glass manufacturing company based out of millville, new jersey that started making insulators in 1922 until 1978 (so hard to date, but definitely 20th century). their company logo is an inverted triangle with the letters W & T inside. the gayner glass company was based out of salem, new jersey, and although the company started in 1898 and lasted until 1957, they only made insulators during 1920 and 1923, right when one of the bigger insulator producers went out of business (brookfield). as for the clear insulators, it's too hard to read the writings on them to get an id, but if i had to guess, they were probably made in later half of the 20th century, before people stopped using glass insulators in the 1970's.
riding around, i spotted another place in somerville that had some blue insulators, at the intersection of skehan and dane street. this is actually a good place if you want to see 3 different insulators, because there's a whitall tatum, a gayner, and an unknown clear. afterwards i tried going to the somerville museum, my second attempt. once again, they were closed even though it's supposed to be opened. maybe the lone security was on a bathroom break and locked the doors, but i didn't see any sign of activity inside.
delving deeper in the world of glass insulators, the biggest single manufacturer was hemingray glass, starting in 1848 all the way to 1972, beginning in cincinnati, moving to covington (kentucky), and finally muncie, indiana. brookfield glass was the second biggest, based in brooklyn, NY (from 1864 to 1906) before moving to new jersey. when brookfield went out of business in 1921, it spurred many other glass companies to pick up the slack. one of them was lynchburg glass based out of lynchburg, virginia. they were only in business for a short time though, 1923-1925, but made millions of insulators. i'm only mentioning all this because i'm the proud owner of a few brookfield and lynchburg insulators. it's hard to imagine they were made in the 1920's and earlier since glass antiques keep well. whether 100 years or 1000 years, i bet they'd still look the same as the day they were made.
i went to a meeting of the community garden at 7:00. there was 18 people on the wait list but only 5 empty slots. i was only really there to hand in my $10 membership due, but they had some catered food so i stayed long enough to get a sandwich, a bag of chips, and a brownie. when donal left at 8:30 i road his coattail out of the meeting as well. i finished the rest of my baguette, making some more french bread pizza (onions and pepperoni).