Gray & Hemingray Insulators (ICON)

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-Reference Information: Gray & Hemingray ad+==Reference Information: Gray & Hemingray ad==
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{{PicturePoster |id=234278451}} {{PicturePoster |id=234278451}}
- What exactly is a "telegraph glass" ?+What exactly is a "telegraph glass" ?
- If this ad dates to 1853-54, what kind of "telegraph glasses and lightning rod insulators" are we talking about here ?+If this ad dates to 1853-54, what kind of "telegraph glasses and lightning rod insulators" are we talking about here ?
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Revision as of 20:12, 22 December 2008

Reference Information: Gray & Hemingray ad

Brent Burger commented on Fri, 19 Dec 2008

Note at the bottom of the advertisement it says "telegraph glasses and lightning rod insulators"

PicturePoster #234278451

What exactly is a "telegraph glass" ?

If this ad dates to 1853-54, what kind of "telegraph glasses and lightning rod insulators" are we talking about here ?

Glenn Drummond commented on Fri, 19 Dec 2008

First, you will find this same ad on page 93 of Clarice Gordon's book "The Hemingray Glass Co.: A Most Colorful History" although the original of her copy is from "Gray's Cincinnati Business Mirror & City Advertiser, 1851-1852."

Charles Cist says in 1851 (Sketches and Statistics of Cincinnati, 1851): ". . . All the operations alluded to, are of flint glass, except insulators, which are made for lightning rods and for telegraph lines, here and at Pittsburgh; which place is entirely supplied from this point.". A complete copy of Cist's 1851 business review of the Gray & Hemingray Glass Works may be found on page 88 of Clarice's book.

I do not pretend to be expert on mid-century terminology, however, the phrase "telegraph glasses" as used in certain Gray & Hemingray advertisement appears to be a bit unusual. I have long felt that Cist clears it up with his statement ". . . insulators, which are made for lightning rods and for telegraph lines." This must be referring some style of threadless insulator and would account for the "telegraph glasses."

It has long been a belief among Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky collectors that the lightning rod insulators referenced in these advertisements were most likely made for Spratt. A close comparison of the color of Spratt lightning rod insulators and early Cincinnati soda bottles certainly suggests that these products may have come from the same glass works. Furthermore, Spratt lived only a block away from the Gray and Hemingray house at that time.

As for what telegraph insulator(s) Ralph and Robert may have been cranking out on Hammond Street in 1851 - 1852 is anyone's guess. My personal guess is that they were the smooth side Wade (CD 723.3 ??). This is based only on color characteristics of the glass, nothing more. I would add, however, that one of the first lines to use Wade insulators was the one that ran between Cleveland and Cincinnati.

One must also be aware that the telegraph line constructed between Cincinnati and Louisville at the time used glass blocks, two per pole. There have also been a few Yandell Patent insulators found along the river west of Cincinnati that seem to match color pretty well. I forget how the date for the Yandell matches up with the time frame we are discussing here.

The statement ". . . here and at Pittsburgh, which place is entirely supplied from this point" is another intrigue. Could the insulators supplied to Pittsburgh have been the un-embossed CD 731 ??

These early advertisements and business reviews leave us with many unanswered questions. I can only hope that a few answers will be found in my lifetime.

Last, I want to thank Lee Southern for sharing the State Business Directory ad with us. I had not seen that before.

David Whitten commented on Sat, 20 Dec 2008

I have also wondered if the reference to "telegraph glasses" alluded to the Wade style. After all, the Wades are quite similar in shape to a typical tumbler or heavy "drinking glass". Although the resemblance is so obvious that it might cause some collectors to think "no, that is just TOO obvious, it's probably referring to another style of the period."

However, I do have one slight bone of contention concerning your musing on the possibility of the CD 731s being referred to in the sentence " here and at Pittsburgh; which place is entirely supplied from this point". I was under the impression that the CD 731 ('Compromise' style) was not introduced until about 1865......this is 14 years after the Charles Cist book was published (1851) . Does the CD 731 date from a lot earlier than I was thinking?

Rick Jones commented on Sat, 20 Dec 2008

Brent asked what kind of 'telegraph glasses' the 1853-54 ad in the Ohio Business Journal ad by Hemingray could that ad have been referring to? Good question.

Glenn, Bob Stahr, Bill, other Hemingray specialists/historians---this would have been late enough for the production of eggs and hats 1850-1860, right? Why wouldn't Hemingray have been producing those in Cincinnati at that time? Or do we have some circumstantial evidence that they were?

It would seem to me that in their years at Covington from 1852-1890, wouldn't they have been producing 732.2 Patent 1871s or other threadless in the earlier years? If so, could they have also produced 731s from about 1864-1870, given the popularity and widespread use of that style?

Finally, what identifying factors of early Hemingray glass production could I look for in my 731s, if any?

Hope I haven't asked too many questions.

Lee Southern commented on Sat, 20 Dec 2008

You can view the full reference here:

PicturePoster #234358567

Glenn Drummond commented on Sat, 20 Dec 2008

No "circumstantial evidence" that I am aware of.

I am clueless about when the 732 / 732.2 style may have been introduced to the industry. Regarding your comment about "732.2 Patent 1871s." Obviously, these would have been produced after 19 December 1871, most likely after the first of the 1872 year. However, a number of unembossed 732.2s do exist and they most likely were produced prior to the issuence of the 1871 patent - but when were they first produced ??

I hope you caught that my question about the unembossed 731 was just that, a question. To the best of my knowledge, there is no direct evidence that would suggest what style of telegaph insulator Gray & Hemingray would have been making during the early 1850s. The only evidence that I know of that they were even making insulators is that found in the Cist wiriting and a few early advertisements.

Back in the days when we were living in Cincinnati, I tried to take advantage of every opportunity to visit local bottle collectors and bottle shows just to examine the characteristics of early Hemingray glass. Of course, the problem with that is the source of the cullet that they were using. Not too bad if they were using their own cullet but we don't know how much cullet they may have been buying from other glass houses and what impact that may have had on glass quality and color.

Bob Stahr commented on Sat, 20 Dec 2008

There is very little known of Hemingray's pressed glass business between 1848 and about 1860. There is considerably more known of their blown glassware of this time, so that is the comparison that Glenn and I have been making. Hemingray was a large producer of soda bottles and fruit jars at the time and I own a few items dating back that far, so have some on hand examples to look at.

I showed Glenn a CD 723.3 smooth Wade in 2004 that I purchased in that early Hemingray blue colored glass because I believed that the color was indicative of Hemingray production. I see Glenn mentioned that recently and he too believes them to be of Hemingray manufacture. If our gut feelings are right, I suppose other threadless insulators should be compared to these Wades to see if there are any other similar features to pressing/molding techniques of the glass.

I'll admit, I am not much of a study of early insulators (threadless 1848-1860), one reason is there is not much documentation in trade journals or newspapers. The journal, The Telegrapher didn't start printing until 1864. Same goes for for some of the other telegprahic journals. What kinds of insulators were in use from 1848 to 1860?

Otherwise, yes, the 732.2's are likely Hemingray (at least the un-embossed Floyd's, and the 1871 patent pieces), but they are much later (1867-1872 era).

Brent Burger commented on Sat, 20 Dec 2008

Actually, I was trying to look outside the scope of insulators to something like vacuum tubes or some other type of telegraph related equipment used in booster stations or telegraph offices. I could be WAY off on years or development of such appurtenances. I am a total dunce on this subject, but do not want to assume glass = pole application insulator. Gonna have to rely on those more knowing for this one.

Peter Beshara commented on Sun, 21 Dec 2008

If one reads the text from this link

PicturePoster #234278451

One will find , the referance to telegraph glasses,

Reading the text in the other link

PicturePoster #234358567

One finds the term lamp glasses. We call the " lamp glasses " a chimney .

I would take from these two expresions that the term glasses is a period expresion for items for that use , "telegraph" or " lamp" .

Lee Southern commented on Sun, 21 Dec 2008

I have seen the term "telegraph glasses" used synonymously for "telegraph glass insulators", but I could imagine it also being used for "telegraph glass wares", which I have seen used in a more encompassing sense to include items such as battery jars and battery rests, etc.

Peter Beshara commented on Sun, 21 Dec 2008

For those that have McDougalds Volume 1 On page 8 ( first paragraph) there is a referance to "egg glasses" in the context of the threadless eggs On page 66 in a quote from Cist 's report the mention of " lamp glasses " ( oil lamp chimney) and on page 67 there is the quote of " telegraph glasses." This shows clearly that no type of insulator in particular was meant. That , even lamp chiminies, were called " glasses " , so it is just the term for the product in the line in question.

Darin Cochran commented on Sun, 21 Dec 2008

Rick Jones was asking about 731s made by Hemingray, If I remember correctly there were cd 731s excavated from the site before the Hotel was built. These artifacts now reside in a musuem basement near Covington.

Bob Stahr commented on Sun, 21 Dec 2008

It was one 732.2 that was uncovered. I know of no 731's that were found.

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