Glass, Glass, Everywhere.

Hello everyone! As you all know I collect these odd shaped pieces of glass called insulators. I don’t really have a large collection like a lot of collectors, but it still does take up a lot of space. I mean a lot. At least if I want them displayed. And generally speaking, that is the point of having a collection. I mean, what’s the point in having a collection of something if it stays packed away year after year.

But perhaps it’s just me. I like having my collection on display. Before I moved to this apartment I lived in a much larger place. So I was able to have all 700 of my insulators on display. Yep, I had 700 different insulators. Different shapes, different colors, different names on the insulators. At one time I had nearly 4,000 insulators. But I cut back a bit. I figured that 700 was a more manageable number. Until I moved here. Then I discovered that 700 was a few too many.

So I got rid of about 150 of them, leaving me with 550, kind of a nice number. But, still too many to display them all. So they have sat packed away in boxes the last 4 years. I just don’t like having things packed away. Besides, it means having a lot of boxes sitting around and I don’t exactly have space for boxes either. So, I get rid of a few more. Down to 517. Still too many. I figure I can safely display about 300 of them. That means getting rid of 217 more. That’s a lot.

So, I have to unpack everything so I know what I have, then I can sort them out. A “keep” pile and a “toss” pile. You know I have written a lot about adventures with my dad and I out collecting these things. We had a lot of fun doing that. So it makes it a bit hard to get rid of these chunks of glass. But, it has to be done. Now I have these insulators in groups all over the place, counters, cabinets, shelves, chairs, and on the floor.

That last one is dangerous. I have already kicked insulators across the floor…and ended up with sore toes. Sigh. Today I had an apple for lunch. I picked it up, but for some reason it slipped out of my hand. Instead of catching it, I hit it and it went flying! Took out 6 of 8 insulators sitting on a shelf. Problem is, I wanted to keep those. Oh well.

With a few more.

I’m doing good though, the toss pile is getting bigger all the time. I’m confident I will make my goal yet. Then I can have the best of the best on display all the time. And get rid of all these boxes too. Which will give me more space. That’s good. The pictures show a few of my insulators, definitely not all of them. My toes will be happier too when all this is done. I hope you all have a wonderful day and God bless!

Steve and Muffin.

©2020 Steve McLeod.

35 Comments on “Glass, Glass, Everywhere.

    • They used to hold the wires for telegraph, telephone and electricity. You don’t see them being used much anymore. Mostly it’s cables now which don’t need insulators, but originally it was bare wires. Glass insulators were first made in the 1860s for telegraph use. Thanks for reading Cathy.

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  1. Insulators are beautiful ! Too bad more people are not interested in them…you sure had a lot of them ! Sleep well ! ☕️☕️😻🙂😴

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    • Yes, there is definite sentimental value which makes it hard to sort them out. I have tried selling but there just isn’t much interest around here and postage is too high to sell them farther away, it’s higher than the value of the insulator. I’m keeping the best and nicest colors and my dad’s favorites. I couldn’t even give insulators away around here. It’s kind of a dying hobby. People just can’t go out and find them anymore like we could, and that’s most of the fun!

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  2. Awe, Steve…I’m sad to hear that you are having to downsize. Hunting for insulators and collecting them is a lost art anymore it seems. 😢 At least you still have the memories with your dad. I love the brightly colored ones you have. That orange one really stood out to me! I don’t think I have ever seen one that color!

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    • I have downsized many times before, this is just another time. I will still have a large collection even once I’m finished with this. No one around this area collects them and there are only around 300 collectors in all of Canada. Yes, that’s orange carnival glass, made in the US in the 1930s to specially mark certain electric wires to make them easy to follow.
      Have a great day Renee!😁😺🌞

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  3. Can you donate some of them to a local museum? I am sure that they would be happy to take them. Decluttering is hard, especially when our memories are attached to our sentimental items. I still feel like there would be a good use for this glass. People who use glass to make new creations would probably love to have some of these; they melt glass and make really cool glass creations with them. You would be surprised how many of these workshops exist in the community. Reduce, reuse, recycle as they say.

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    • I checked with our museum, they didn’t want any. Apparently they have some which have sat in boxes for years, like a lot of other stuff they have, because they have no space to display them. And our museum wants items that are specific to Kenora and these don’t fit, even though they were used here they are not a specific Kenora item.
      There is only one person here that works with glass and she wasn’t interested. Apparently the glass isn’t good enough quality for reusing like that, it becomes too brittle. Newer insulators would be okay but I don’t have any of those.
      Yep, that’s what I’m doing, the toss group goes into the recycle bin.
      I made a nice outdoor Christmas light display with them one time, looked great, but it’s a lot of work, something I can’t do anymore. I have one backlit display shelf which really makes the insulators stand out nicely, I showed it in one pic but it didn’t come out too well in a picture, much nicer in person.
      There comes a time when downsizing is necessary, even if it means getting rid of things we enjoy.
      Have a great day Hilary!😀😺

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      • Our town does collect glass to ship away to other places that recycles glass, that’s where these will end up. At least the ones that I’m tossing.

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    • And they are heavy, average about 2 pounds each, even 700 insulators weighs about 1400 pounds=635kg. A lot of weight. And they do take up a lot of space to display them properly. Insulators were used to hold telegraph wires first, then later for telephone and electric wires. Everything is mostly cables now so insulators are not needful anymore. I need to write a post about that. Thanks for reading Ribana! Have a wonderful evening and weekend!😀😺🌞🌙

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  4. I love the way they reflect the light and they are pretty sitting on a window sill. In our neck of the woods, there are glass recyclers where we can safely get rid of glass. I looked for insulators on eBay and people are selling them which I didn’t realize there are so many different styles. There is a purple insulator that looks like yours and the price is $191.00! ☕️☕️💲💲😄

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    • A lot of times prices on Ebay are inflated, people trying to catch someone who doesn’t know the real value. Still, purple insulators are much higher priced that others, just not as many of them around. They were not made in great numbers like the others.
      Yes, the ones I toss will go to recycling. I have even tried giving them away to people without success.
      They do look nice in a window, especially if the sun gets at them. There is something like 15,000 different styles worldwide. But it’s not a big hobby anymore, people like to go out and find them which can’t be done now. The average age of insulator collectors is 72.😁😺

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  5. now I see why you get sore 😂 it’s the insulators 🤓🤓 so beautiful beautiful collections 😍 I see memories on each of them 😍 and its beauty too✨👍 great work Steve 🤓👍 but don’t get hurt, and get rid of most common kind ☺️ im sure you can save good space 😁 and I don’t think it’s easy though😅😜😂 that’s the hardest part 😂😂

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    • Yep, the most common ones go for sure,😛 or anything that might have some damage,🙄 or ones I traded for (no memories with those).🤔🤪 Still hard, but I’m getting rid of some anyway,😂😹 I’ll get it down to 400 which is still a lot!😁😳🙀

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      • Still a LOT 😍 and you can still sell on ebay and earn some 😜 it’s up to you, recycle or make money 😁 but I’m sure about one thing, that, it is a LOT to have and heavy too with all memories 😍 ☺️😇

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      • Yep, those chunks of glass are very heavy, especially whenever I move!🤭😬 The cheaper ones are not worth selling on ebay, the postage is too high, people don’t want to pay it.🤔 A $5 insulator would cost $20 to ship, just not worth it.😳🙄 And the better ones I want to keep.😁 I really need to get rid of more than I am, the memories will still be there with the ones I will keep anyway.😄 Plus I have all our fun times written down in my journal anyway.😄😸😂😹 Have a great evening Simon!😃😸🌙

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