Monday, November 15, 2010

California Glass Insulator Co.


At the Springfield show this year I acquired eight fine specimens produced at the Long Beach, California plant.  I did some research and discovered to my surprise that the C.G.I. Co. only existed for four years.  Founded in 1912 by Robert P. Frist and employing a work force of nearly 50 men the plant shortly reached full capacity of 15,000 insulators per day.  In addition to insulators the company also produced bottles for local sale in California. 
In 1914 C.G.I.Co. was reorganized into The California Glass Works and continued operations until January of 1916 when the Long Beach Harbor flooded and the plant was destroyed.  The California Glass Works was never rebuilt. 



Shown above are two of my favorite style of insulators known as "signals" that I added to my collection from the Springfield show.  In the past week I have digitally photographed my collection indoors using artificial lighting and most recently I set up outside under a midday sun.  Through experimentation I have determined that the sun is the best light source for capturing the truest color of the glass.  It is November now and the sun stays rather low in the southern sky as it passes overhead.  This low angle is evident from the shadow to the right of the insulator.  Next summer I will try another series of photographs with the sun directly overhead although I can't imagine much of an improvement over these images.

Here is a link to more detailed information on the the California Glass Insulator Company:
-Reprinted from "Insulators - Crown Jewels of the Wire"  September 1982, Pg . 6



5 comments:

  1. My brother has some of these, thanks for posting the information. I enjoy your comments on BSNYC. Former Ham as well, but no 'bent.

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  2. JD, Cool- thanks for checking out my blog. The Californias are some of my favorite insulators. BSNYC is a hoot- some of the funniest stuff I've ever read. Snob was actually the inspiration for me to start my own blog.

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  3. My Great Grandfather, CL Eshelman, was a glassblower and was one of the directors of the California Glass Works. Can you please tell me where I might be able to buy an insulator or medicine bottle?

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    1. Short of going to an insulator or bottle collector show the easiest way to find a California insulator is to check Ebay. I just type in "CALIFORNIA INSULATOR" and that usually yields several Cali pieces at a variety of price points.

      That's cool about your Great Grandfather being involved in the company. Thanks for sharing that!

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    2. Short of going to an insulator or bottle collector show the easiest way to find a California insulator is to check Ebay. I just type in "CALIFORNIA INSULATOR" and that usually yields several Cali pieces at a variety of price points.

      That's cool about your Great Grandfather being involved in the company. Thanks for sharing that!

      Delete