IOTW CD 285
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CD 285 - Insulator of the Week on Fri, 15 Mar 2008
Edison (due to upper half resembling a light bulb)
An unrelated F.M Locke patent contains a drawing of a similarly shaped insulator: Utility Patent 484,209 issued to Fred M. Locke on October 11, 1892
No Embossing: These are found in aqua and blue, plus shades of green, from lime green to deep yellow green. A small number of the deep yellow green examples have been seen with amber swirling, giving them a near yellow olive green appearance.
No data on areas of usage, so hopefully someone can share such info with us? Manufacturer is unknown(?), but they sure scream of a Knowles product, which would likely tie into an Elmer glass company. Any researchers have any info?
A porcelain version exists as U-356.
These brief comments on the Insulator of the Week are not intended to be complete and are presented to encourage discussion and additional information from ICON. Now it's your turn to share info and/or post photos of your favorite CD 285 "Edison"!
Brian Riecker commented on Thu, 13 Mar 2008
Here's mine. Does someone have a nicer one.
Andrew Gibson commented on Fri, 14 Mar 2008
Why do you say that the nickname Edison is "due to upper half resembling a light bulb"? I do see that < http://www.insulators.com/photos/photos/cd-285-noembossing-010.htm > has the same comment, but I'm not sure where that gets the idea either. Not that I know the source of the nickname, but I had always assumed it had something to do with the original designer/user/manufacturer of the shape. An 1898 article in The Electrical Engineer about the Peru Electric Manufacturing Company talks about an exhibit of "a full line of Peru specialties, such as high potential triple petticoat, porcelain insulators, Peru style, and Sawyer-Man branches and mains, Edison style blocks, 'Peru' multiple table boards, transformer fuse blocks, all sizes and styles of insulators, cleats and tubes, and Laclede and Hercules batteries. " Note the reference to the "Edison style" blocks, though that's obviously porcelain and not this shape. There were also companies such as the Edison Electric Company in Los Angeles, the Edison works in Schenectady, NY, and the Edison Machine Company which became General Electric, not to mention all sorts of other possible ties to Thomas Edison. On top of that, I'd have to check my Woodward's Report to be sure, but I think Woody lists the name as "4-inch Edison" for this insulator, and I think that most of the names that he's referring to are taken from actual catalogs, not hobby inspired nicknames.
On a different topic, if this design appears on the "unrelated" patent that was applied for in 1891, how likely do you think it is that the style wasn't made until nearly 10 years later by the Elmer companies? It would seem odd that a design would lie dormant for that length of time before going into production. Though I'll readily admit that the glass characteristics seem consistent with Elmer. And it's entirely possible that the shape was created at that time and is totally unrelated to the patent drawing -- which has a much narrower wire groove and different outline than the actual CD 285.
Does anyone have any catalogs that depict the CD 285? What companies, and what timeframes?
Daryl Richardson commented on Fri, 14 Mar 2008
These were used extensively in the Bangor - Ellsworth area of Maine. Tony Brown has removed some from service recently, and I have found about a dozen in antique shops and collections over the years in Maine.
Larry Rogers commented on Fri, 14 Mar 2008
Thanks for the info. Funny in all the years I scrounged around in Maine in the 60's and 70's I never ran across any, or if I did they didn't seem to impress me enough to try and get some. I used to walk the RR tracks lots in Hancock and downeast counties. I found lots of good glass in the Greenlake area in Dedham when the new highway was going through in the 80's.
Dwayne Anthony commented on Sat, 15 Mar 2008
It was always my impression from hobby folk lore that the shape drew the "Edison" nickname, but come to think of it, it sure seems that I might have heard a contradicting report once? Anyone?
When I compose the Insulator of the Week posts for ICON I try to grab a little info from other sources, plus sometimes add a little from personal knowledge and experience. With many of the CDs I could nearly turn my post into a book, if time permitted. However, the purpose of IOTW is to stimulate discussion and contribution from others. It is my intention to only provide a simple springboard of information on each topic that others can build on. I know Bill is intensely busy right now with the new server moving responsibilities, but he will soon provide a slick feature for referencing all past and future IOTW topics. It is important that you contribute anything you can to each topic. The more contributions, the more powerful each topic will become for future referencing. I know some of you feel public posts can occasionally lead to negative frustrations due to a very small number of detractors that exist among us, so you choose to remain as lurkers. I once held this attitude, but decided to put on thicker armor and press forward. Please, please don't let the actions of the few hinder the benefits than can come from sharing your knowledge with others! I have received several private replies to IOTW thus far with great information that I would have loved to have seen posted to the group.
Robin Harrison commented on Sat, 15 Mar 2008
I cannot find a reference for this, but I have always attributed the "Edison" name to the fact that these were intended for use on the early DC power circuits. Remember that the first transmission of power was done by Edison designed equipment and was followed by a long commercial battle between Edison and Westinghouse (with Tesla's theoretical support) over the superiority of DC or AC transmission. Edison went as far as having a traveling road show where dogs and other animals were electrocuted on stage to show the danger of AC power (and of course AC at the common 220 voltage and up can, indeed, be deadly). This was one of the few cases where Edison was just plain wrong because high voltage, long distance transmission was extremely inefficient (at least for his time....DC high voltage transmission is now being tried again using sophisticated systems not available at the turn of the century). Westinghouse's idea of AC long distance transmission was the standard starting from the early 1900's to the present. The "Edison" insulators would have been used for DC power transmission with the reference to Edison design transmission systems. That would also make sense from the fact that most were found in New England and Mid-Atlantic states where DC transmission started. Sorry I don't have a reference for this.
Richard Wentzel commented on Sun, 16 Mar 2008
Here is a colorful albeit whimsical salute to this weeks featured insulator. PicturePoster #210243491