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The Beaver Falls Glass Company
Early Threaded Telegraph Insulators
Compiled by Keith Roloson, February 1993
This write-up discusses a relatively obscure insulator manufacturer and the rare CDs
known to have come from there.
The Beaver Falls Glassworks was formed in Pennsylvania in the year 1869, four years
after the Cauvet patent for threaded insulators. The founder, a William Modes, had owned
previous glasshouses in the Pittsburgh area before buying land in Beaver Falls. The
property was purchased May, 1869 so it is possible that no insulators were even
manufactured until the year 1870.
It would have been necessary to build the factory, furnaces and other infrastructure to
support such an endeavor. In 1879 the glassworks changed hands, and there is no research
indicating that the new owners continued to produce telegraph insulators.
What is known for sure is that:
- CDs 131.8, 132.2, 133.2 were unique to this manufacturer
- CD 127s embossed either W.U.P., W.U.Pattern, or with a W1 on the dome were unique to
- The threads were rounded in a characteristic way
- There is a crease at the top of the pinhole that resembles a 'Y', or what I call a
broken-Y. It was created by a plunger inserted into the hot glass with such a mark on
its tip. This unique feature is an important indicator that you have a Beaver Falls
insulator, even if it is a noname.
- There may also be a tiny glass button in the center of the top of the pin- hole.
This is not the primary feature however.
In addition to the above names, some units were embossed S.T.Paisley or B.F.G. Co. or
P&W. Specifically the following embossings can be found on certain CDs:
- CD 127 W.U.P or W.U.Pattern (W.U. means Western Union)
- The W.U.Pattern also has the embossing "L.A.C.S PAT.JULY 25th 1865" which
refers to Louis A. Cauvet's patent for the threaded insulator. These also have a
number inside a molded-circle on top of dome. (this characteristic is seen in CDs
132.2, 133.2 also; see below)
Colors: aqua, blue-aqua, dark aqua, dark teal green, cobalt blue
- CD 127 No Name with a W1 in a molded circle on top of dome.
- Colors: aqua, light-blue, emerald green, dark yellow green, dark green
- CD 131.8 No Name
- Very few known; Colors are aqua or yellow-green
- CD 132.2 No Name with a "2" on the dome
- Colors: aqua, ice-blue, light-green, lime-green, dark green, teal blue, cobalt blue,
sapphire blue and other blues, yellow-green.
- CD 132.2 S.T.Paisley/Maker/Beaver Falls, PA.
- On the rear skirt: L.A.Cauvet's/PAT'D/July 25th 1865.
Colors: This rare piece comes in aqua.
- CD 133.2 L.A.C.'S PAT JULY 25th 1865 on dome; B.F.G.Co. on skirt.
- One variant has the initials "I" and "C" intertwined on the
Colors: aqua, blue-aqua
- CD 133.2 No Name with "M" on dome in aqua, blue-aqua; No
Name w/o "M" in aqua.
- CD 133.2 "2" in a circle on dome (see CD 127
"W1" above also)
- "P&W" on skirt, PATD JULY 25th 1865/L.A.C. on side of dome in an arc.
Colors: aqua, blue-aqua.
- CD 133.2 Same as above but without "2" in circle on dome
- Colors: aqua, and 3 or 4 in green known as of 11/92.
- CD 728.2 No Name
- The No Name has been reported as having the same plunger markings as those above.
This was known as a CD 733.2 in the old Milhollands but has been reassigned. This
theory has been reported by one family who specialized in B.F.G. glass. See Crown
Jewels, Nov. 1975. Mention of that fact occurs in McDougald's Volume 2, on that CD
page. Mr. S.T.Paisley formed a paid (!) fire department in Pittsburgh in June, 1870.
It is easy to speculate that, as he set up the telegraph communication, he contracted
locally to have his insulators made. And who knows, maybe he participated in the
design of the CD 132.2 bearing his name!
This article would not have been possible without Carol and John McDougald's reference
"Insulators, A History and Guide to North American Glass Pintype Insulators,
Volume 1", which also credits Ora Beary and Wendell Hunter (noted Pennsylvania
Also, McDougalds' Price Guide for Insulators, 1995 Edition
Also, Crown Jewels, Nov. 1975, pages 10-11
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Last updated Sunday, August 27, 1995