[ Home | What's New | Articles ]
By Pat Scott
I have this propensity to keep every dome embossed Brookfield 145 I find. One of these days, this may present a problem, but I can't let go of them. Look in the price guide and you will find they are generally worth only a dollar or two. But what interests me is that each one has it's own personality. Look and you will find no two alike. The wrinkles on the domes are like fingerprints. Some are embossed so faintly they are hardly readable while others boldly show the name and location of one of America's most prolific producers of insulators.
But what is more interesting to me is their age, and putting that insulator into perspective with the world around it. The other day, I found a spot where some poles were pushed over, still attached to the wires. The poles are not 100 plus years old, but the Brookfields on them certainly are. We can't be sure that the Brookfields I found were original to that location, but we can be sure of their place in time. When the ones I found were first put up into service, the automobile was still a futuristic dream, man had never flown, and poles were set and carried to the site by hand. That very same insulator, almost flawless after all these years, has finally been taken out of service by a project to replace all the block signals along the railroad line. Its life spanned the time when no one could fly, to when we fly to outer space. Where once the only way to drive was in a horse and carriage, there is a road traveled by fast cars and big trucks.
I simply have to marvel at the grandeur of something so simple yet functional, whose life starts by carrying the voices of people who may have never known an automobile, and whose service life ended as a trusted guardian carrying the communications that allowed state of the art, computer controlled, fancy schmancy BNSF SD70MAC locomotives flying by at the once unfathomable speeds of 70 MPH. But, the story is not over. Now, this Brookie will rest in a comfortable environment for a long time, having been rescued from the trip to the junkyard. Who knows what that insulator will see a hundred years from now.
Return to the Insulator Articles page
If you have questions or comments, please use this Feedback Form.
Written Thursday, December 7, 2000