Kenosha Wood Insulators - 1860’s

6" high by 2" diameter (at widest part)

Kenosha Wood Insulators


The “Kenosha” wood insulators are dated to the 1860's but a precise age has yet to be established.

These specimens are extremely rare with only three known complete specimens. The two pieces in this photo were found in 1973 in a railroad depot in Kendalville, Indiana. The third specimen was found in an antique store in the Amana Colonies in Iowa just a few years ago. The threaded metal wire holder was found in Ohio and demonstrates how the “hook” appears when removed from the wood.

In an advertisement by the Kenosha Insulator Co. the insulator is described as:

“...made of wood, thoroughly baked, and covered with an INDESTRUCTIBLE COATING, highly repellent of moisture, which does not change nor deteriorate after years of exposure to the weather.

THE KENOSHA INSULATOR has now stood the test of six years’ actual service, and we feel warranted in stating that, although costing but little, if any, more than the ordinary glass insulator, its insulating qualities are, on an average,

during the prevalence of rain or fog.”

While the insulator was promoted as magnificent by the manufacturer, its longevity did not match the claims. In “The Telegraph in America” by James Reid, it is said:

“For some reason, an insulator made at Kenosha, Wis., which bore tokens of excellence, and secured an apparently complete separation of the exposed parts by a large dry surface, was also found to be a failure, and had to be abandoned.”

Return to the Early Telegraph Insulators page

Written Sunday, January 19, 1997; updated Tuesday, February 21, 2012