I am a retired New York State Forest Ranger. I worked for the N.Y.S. Dept. of Environmental Conservation for over 34 years; 5 1/2 years as a surveyor and 29 years as a Forest Ranger. My wife Leslie is a Special Education teacher. I am now spending my time doing woodworking at a friend's business, (E. L. M. Woodworking, Remsen, NY) where we make doors, windows, furniture, cabinetry, or anything else.
I got into insulator collecting through bottle collecting, as did many others in the late 60's. I was more a bottle dealer than a collector at first. Everything I bought had to be sold to finance more purchases. I read that insulators had some value, so I bought a copy of John Tibbet's price guide and started looking for insulators along with bottles.
On March 4, 1968 I bought my first insulators, most of which I still have. Tibbet's book proved to be overly optimistic on prices of some common insulators. It wasn't long before I really got serious about insulators.
New York State was rich in old insulators at that time. I used to buy and sell a lot of unthreaded insulators like CD 732.2 L.G.T., CD 731 Tillotson in Olive Amber, CD 728.4 Brookfield, etc. I had to sell almost all of what I bought to purchase more insulators. Once in a while, though, I would obtain a nice insulator at a very low price. In that case , I felt justified in keeping it for myself.
Little by little, my collection began to grow. I spent some time searching old railroads in the area and picked up more free insulators I could keep, including a CD 136.7 Boston. Trading provided me with better insulators like CD 151 NATCO in peacock and CD 145 Am. Ins. Co. in Yellow Olive.
Then I started building a house.
I spent a year working on the house. By the time I finished, I was so out of touch with prices of bottles and insulators that I just had to give up dealing in glass. If I wasn't selling, I didn't have enough cash to buy more insulators. Most of my collection and sales stock was packed away and out of sight.
Enter Ray Klingensmith. One day a few years ago I received a call from Ray saying that he had seen my name in "Old Bottle Magazine" issues from the late 60's and early 70's and wondered if I still was a collector. He stopped by my house and I dug out some insulators. When he told me what some of them were worth, my interest was aroused. I subscribed to "Crown Jewels" and joined the N.I.A. I unearthed all my insulators and began to catalog them. I began going to insulator shows again. I'm back.
My specialty is American Insulator Co. and related insulators. I have about 75 - 80 at this time and I'm always looking for more. I have made up a checklist of all variations of Am. Ins, Co. listed in books or known to exist by me. (If anyone wants a copy, let me know. I need help in finding unlisted variations so we can make a truly complete list.)
I also collect any other insulators that strike my fancy, and lightning rod insulators.
I can't decide which insulator is my favorite. Of those I own, I suppose it would be a CD 134 and CD 145 Am. Ins. Co., both in the same shade of yellow olive. Of those I don't own, it would probably be a CD 160.7 American in Dark Green.
You can e-mail at the address below or by mail at:
P.O. Box 36
Brantingham, NY 13312
Written by Robert Henrickson,
Last updated Monday, April 29, 1996
Return to the Insulator Collectors' Pages