Today I was out for a ride aboard my recumbent bike. As I was cruising along the right of way of what was once a spur route of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad the glint of blue glass laying in this freshly worked field caught my eye. I took a mental note of the location and continued on my with my ride. I figured I would investigate on the way back. Out in the middle of nowhere and only feet from the railroad bed the glass was most certainly a piece of an old insulator.
Sure enough on my way back I stopped and picked up the sky blue shard which was a piece of an old insulator. In the photograph you can see a discoloration of the soil adjacent to the bike path. This is caused by coal dust and cinders deposited by steam locomotives as they worked up and down the corridor long ago. As I walked back toward the field edge where I had left my bike I forgot the shard in an instant as my gaze came to rest on an unmistakable shape resting in the dirt at the edge of the field.
Unfortunately when I pulled the object from the dirt I found that the insulator was cracked in half longitudinally. In any case for me it was a stunning find. Usually when insulators break they fracture in the middle along the wire groove creating a profile much harder to identify.
Clearly visible on the crown are the letters ATENT and below that 19 . 1871.
I wrapped the piece up carefully and stowed it in my pack and finished up my ride. When I got home I thumbed through my insulator collector guide looking for the bullet shaped insulator. Soon I located the familiar shape and positively identified my find as a CD 132.
The embossing on the crown of the insulator had it been complete would say Patent / Dec. 19. 1871. This was a U.S. Patent issued to Robert Hemingray of Covington, Kentucky for a glass insulator molding technique he developed. This insulator I found today is an example of one of Hemingray's earliest productions before the glass plant was moved from the banks of the Ohio to Muncie, Indiana in 1888.
While I would have been completely happy with my ride and the beautiful weather outside today finding this little jewel capped off my day perfectly.
Additional documentation at Hemingray.info