The CD #103 is physically a cross between a CD #101, and a CD #104, adopting the strongest features of both. The insulator has the wide wire groove typical of the CD #101, which made tie wire installation easier and more secure, and the conic shape of the CD #104, which has good structural strength, and an acceptable wet path resistance, which is more than adequate for local telephone service.
The CD #103 was first made by Brookfield some time after 1912, and before 1917. The exact dates of production are unknown, but Woodward believes that it was made toward the end of that period. The style does not appear in the 1912 Brookfield catalog, or in an undated Western Electric Catalog of about the same time. It is shown in the 1917 Northern Electric catalog, listed as a Brookfield "No. 6 Pony", and also appears in the 1918 Western Electric Catalog, simply as a "No. 6 Pony", although it is certainly of Brookfield origin.
Woodward finds it interesting that the CD #103 style never found widespread use, as it is would seem to be a well designed insulator. This may have been due to its late appearance in the life of Brookfield, and a consequent failure to advertise its availability to potential buyers.
All the Brookfield insulators are embossed on the skirt with a B. No other markings are present. Colors are typical of a Brookfield product, ranging from medium to dark aqua. It is likely that only a single run of this insulator was made at Brookfield.
Woodward states "I know nothing about the distribution of the CD #103. In over fifty years of collecting, I have never come across one on a line. I would like to hear from anyone who has."
Gayner Glass Works of Salem, New Jersey produced insulators from approximately 1920 through 1923 under the direction of J. William Gayner (William). During this time, probably in 1922, or 23 a CD #103 was produced at Gayner. The insulator is embossed GAYNER on the front skirt, and NO. 6 over a small mold number on the rear skirt. Woodward has no paperwork on this insulator, although he is sure that he has seen it at least once in the past. Anyone possessing one is asked to send a detailed description, and photograph if possible to N.R. Woodward. This is a rare insulator.
In 1923, William, who although related, was not a principle of Gayner Glass Works, left for Lynchburg, Virginia to become vice-president and plant manager at Lynchburg Glass Corporation.
During a visit to Salem in 1959, Goody Godwin, the last living relative of the Gayner clan to have direct knowledge of glass insulator production at Gayner, related to Woodward that William left Gayner with the insulator molds and presses; and the blessings of the company. Apparently William was always the driving force behind insulator production at Gayner, and the glass company was not enthusiastic about continuing production after he departed.
It is unknown, although probable that the CD #103's made at Gayner were produced in old Brookfield molds. By the time William was at Lynchburg there is no doubt that he had some of Brookfield's molds and automatic presses. (I have a letter from William to William H. Lloyd detailing modifications he made to the Brookfield presses).
The only known "catalog", published by Lynchburg Glass Corporation in 1924 was a single piece of paper folded to fit into a standard business envelope. The cover page contains a technical drawing of a CD #103. This is most interesting, as we have the complete production records from Lynchburg. They never produced a CD #103, nor list it in that brochure.
There is also an unmarked CD #103 in teal that has recently been
discovered in what was the former USSR. It has the standard one inch
threaded pinhole. The owner writes; "Found on a pole in the village
of Ust-Omchug in the Magadin region of Russia. This area was about 3
miles from the Buediechug death camp." Speculation is that this is
a Canadian piece.
A Brookfield CD #103 insulator was recently offered on eBay. The seller commented that the piece was interesting because the B embossing was not centered on the front skirt between the mold lines as one would expect, but rather was placed only about a third of the distance from the left sided mold line.
I examined the four CD #103 insulators I have in my collection, and found that all of them are indeed embossed in this fashion.
I was surprised and rather perplexed by this. I wondered why the embossing had been set up in this way. I asked N. R. Woodward why he thought this had been done. He just laughed and said:
There is no great mystery here. It s obvious that when they began the embossing they intended to put the full name BROOKFIELD on the insulator, but for reasons we will never know, changed their mind after the engraver had started his work, and decided to go simply with the B embossing instead.
Bill Meier and I were discussing this. He asked whether I thought there was room for the full name Brookfield on the skirt.
I measured the linear distance between the mold lines through the center of the embossing on my insulators. All measure 98 mm (3.86 in). The distance to the start of the B embossing from the left sided mold line is 22 mm (0.87 in). The B embossing measures between 4 and 5 mm (0.16-0.20 in).
I then examined a Brookfield CD #102 with a similar embossing style, but with the full name BROOKFIELD embossed on the front skirt. While the distance between the mold lines is smaller (88 mm (3.46 in)), as this is a smaller insulator, the B in the embossing still measures between 4 and 5 mm, and the full embossing measures 55 mm (2.17 in), with a space of 16 mm (0.63 in) between the left-sided mold line and the start of the embossing, and a space of 15 mm (0.60 in) between the end of the embossing, and the right-sided mold line.
If I apply these measurements to the CD #103 insulator, I can determine that with measured distances of 98 millimeters between mold lines, and accepting the measurement of 55 mm for the full BROOKFIELD embossing, I would expect to have 43 mm of unused space on the front skirt; half of which (22 mm 0.87 in) would be before the embossing, and half would be after. These numbers fit exactly, within my (and the engraver's) margin of measurement error.
It seems that indeed the measurements and calculations bear out Mr. Woodward's hypothesis.
It made me smile when I realized that something so perplexing to me was so obvious to the Master.
Tom Wisser of Linwood, New Jersey writes:
Thanks are due to Bill Meier for construction and layout of this page.
Disclaimer: All information presented here is accurate to the best of my knowledge. It is based on research, personal correspondence, interviews with reliable sources, site visits, etc. When speculation is made, it will be clearly stated as such, and any relevant information used to make statements, whether inductive, deductive, or purely tangential will also be stated. It is not implied that this information is definitive, or total. We are dealing with historical information that was not documented carefully, if at all. I encourage all corrections, comments, criticisms, etc. Please remember that the goal is to increase the knowledge of the insulator community.
COPYRIGHT 1997 by Paul T. Rubin
Written Saturday, March 29, 1997