Insulator Research Service
(Permanent Hobby Archive)

Written (and run) by Elton GishView Icon Profile

Are you looking for information about a particular type of insulator, patent, manufacturer, or other historical information on insulators? Do you need advertisements to enhance a show display or satisfy your go-with interest? Several years ago I started the Insulator Research Service to help collectors who are interested in the history of our hobby, and now you can take advantage of this service to learn more about our hobby, improve your show display, or aid your research project.

I have been collecting historical information about our hobby since 1970, and have amassed one of the largest collections of insulator related research materials. Jack Tod gave me all of his insulator files, and several collectors and I share new finds of research information. Bob StahrView Icon Profile has helped me in a very big way over the last several years, particularly when I was researching the life of Fred Locke in preparation for my book Fred M. Locke: A Biography (there is an extensive list of historical references in that book). The bulk of my files are the result of personal research at several university libraries and the collection of many original catalogs. A brief summary of the types of information in my files is as follows:

All of the information I have is available to collectors as long as you keep your requests reasonable -- please do not request copies of everything or for large masses of information. I will be happy to help you with a particular interest you have. My insulator research files are heavy on porcelain, but there is a lot of information on glass insulators and manufacturers, too -- especially advertisements. A small fee is charged to offset my expenses for copies, postage, and acquiring new items. I would appreciate receiving copies of information that I do not have either as a donation to my files or as trade for something you are interested in.

Below are the typical fees requested when ordering small quantities of copies of information. Quantity discounts are available on request. Please keep your requests small and within reason because it takes a large amount of my time to find what you want, make copies, and package it for mailing. Some of the catalogs are quite heavy (some have 500+ pages) and difficult to haul around. I am willing to donate (gratis) copies of large amounts of information if you are working on publishing a book, an in-depth magazine article, or you are involved in a major research project of a specific company. Copies requested are sent unfolded. Requests for enlargements of certain advertisements for using in a show display can be accommodated. Minimum order is $1 to cover postage.

Unless you request copies of specific patents, there is no need to send fee payment in advance because many times you will not know if a patent exists or the quantity of copies to satisfy your request. I will respond to your request with an estimate of fee cost so you will be aware of what the costs are. The Insulator Research Service is strictly non-profit and is offered as a service only. It is important to note that there is no fee for questions concerning porcelain insulators. This is a free service offered as part of my "Porcelain Insulator News" which appears bimonthly in Crown Jewels magazine.

It is my intention to preserve my research files in whole for access by future collectors. This will be accomplished by giving it (gratis) to a younger collector who will continue to preserve it for our hobby after I am gone. I would appreciate copies of any historical information you have and I am willing to trade information. I also accept donations of original historical information which will become part of this permanent archive with the guarantee that the information will never be sold or distributed separately. One collector has already donated a significant research file and specimen of an experimental insulator. I have very little information on threadless glass insulators, so I would like to obtain copies of anything dealing with this subject.

I have only two requests of you when you obtain copies of information. When you plan to use the information in a publication or show display:

If I do not have anything to help you, I am often able refer you to someone who can. Send inquiries and requests for information to:

Elton Gish
5415 Lexington Circle
Lumberton, TX 77657
409-755-3993 (weeknights and weekends)

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Please send your questions and comments to Elton Gish at

Written Tuesday, June 4, 1996; revised Sunday, December 29, 1996