Some people don’t know what they’ll do with their time after they retire. I suffer from no such ailment. Most days I wonder how I’m going to find time to go to work between my hobby commitments
The Insulator Collection
I started collecting insulators about 32 years ago when I was about 9. My grandmother gave me a clear CD 257 “Mickey Mouse” style (a heavy cable insulator used to support massive copper conductors for things like trolley systems or industrial facilities), and I was hooked. Shortly thereafter, I found there were thousands of folks worldwide with a similar affliction, a monthly magazine, swap meets where folks would trade, buy, and sell insulators from all over the world, and my collecting took off from there. I admit to taking a bit of a break through college and while getting established in my adult professional life.
Why? Two reasons: they’re a tangible link to the history of our electrical world (and in particularly the history of rapidly-vanishing open wire line), and many of them are just interesting and/or beautiful in their own right. Most of us are familiar with the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad just over 150 years ago this year. But when was the last time you held something in your hand that was actually there, and actually carried the message out to the world? Oh, and it also happens to be a beautiful cobalt blue…
Interested in learning more about these glass jewels from the bygone era of open wire line? Read more on the history of insulators, open wire line, and collecting.
This warrants its own entire website. I model a fictional, modern day version of the Copper River & Northwestern Railway in N scale. The real thing was built to haul copper ore from the mines at Kennecott, Alaska, to tidewater at Cordova, back in 1907-1910. The final train over the prototype route left Kennecott on November 11, 1938, but in my basement, this isolated ore hauler will live on. Read more about the layout and the prototype: www.copperriverrailway.com.