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First Human Interest Insulator Collector

This is a copy of a letter written by Joe Maurath, Jr.View Icon Profile on May 7, 1965 when he was 13, to the president of the Ohio Brass Company. It appeared in Electrical World magazine, November 14, 1966 on page 150




What Beatles? This Teen-Ager has eyes for insulators only





Ohio Brass president Roger A. BlackToday in the mail, I received your Ohio Brass Company catalog. I think it is very interesting. I understand the terms used in the catalog. I marvel over the 50,000-pound suspension insulator that you manufacture. The highest pound-rated suspension insulator that I have ever heard of was a 40,000 pound unit."

SO HERE READS THE FIRST PARAGRAPH of a letter written on May 7, 1965, by a new holder of an Ohio Brass Catalog. The comments would not be considered unusual except they came from a 12-year-old boy just finishing the eighth grade at Brockton, Mass. Also revealed in the correspondence from Joseph Maurath were details about the 60 insulators -- collected over a three-year period -- that he kept on "three large shelves" in his bedroom. To keep O-B well represented, one of our product managers sent him three rare distribution insulators to add to his collection. The product manager promptly became a pen pal for Joseph. We learned that our friend in Brockton not only collected insulators, he made them out of plaster in designs he had developed himself. He sent us samples.

Page 150

AFTER A FEW BROAD HINTS from Joseph, our product manager sent him a sample of the 50,000 pound insulator that he had coveted from the beginning, in May, 1966. Joseph, now 13, prepared a knowledgeable report on the history of the insulator industry. A second installment in June covered manufacture of insulators. With it came revelation: Joseph was planning to visit us! He also wrote:

Roger Black holding an early suspension insulator

"I AM ENCLOSING A PHOTOGRAPH from a recent utility magazine of your company's president, Roger Black, holding an old prototype suspension unit. That's certainly quite an insulator. Tell Mr. Black that I admire this insulator. I also see that your company is a real pioneer in the insulator industry." The visit did materialize in July. Joseph proved to be even more knowledgeable and personable than we had expected as he toured the factory and High Voltage Laboratory. His follow-up letter said:

"I NOW KNOW what the insulator industry is like, and my hopes are to continue my interest in power line insulators, learn more from them as well as about them and to take a great part in the business as probably as an engineer." Maybe the time that our product manager and others spent with Joseph should have been used on more urgent tasks. But I wonder.

Ohio Brass logo

Canadian Ohio Brass Co. Ltd. * Niagara Falls, Ontario

Electrical World, November 14, 1966

(FYI, by one of Joe's family members: Joe graduated from Bentley College, Waltham, MA in 1974, BS Business Administration Degree with honors. During 1975-1980 he was the Program Director for a local residential energy conservation program. During January 1981 he was hired by the Hingham, MA Municipal Lighting Plant to implement a residential Energy Conservation Service program under State mandate. These responsibilities continued as well as becoming a first-class meterman for the aforementioned electric utility).

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Written: Wednesday, April 4, 2007