CD #149 - The Burbrook

CD #149 - The Burbrook This is one of numerous insulators designed through the years which never became popular. We do not know a great deal about this design. It appears as a Brookfield product in the Stuart-Howland catalogue, dated 1907, as well as in the Edwin C. Lewis catalogue, undated but from the same time period. Both of these firms were Boston electrical goods distributors. The insulator does not appear in the extensive Brookfield catalogue of 1912, presumably already having been discontinued.

The insulator is designated the "Burbrook" Extra Deep Groove Double Petticoat in the Stuart-Howland Catalogue. The origin of this name, whether person, or place, is unknown.

The style is quite similar to a CD #145, the standard telegraph insulator of that period (early l900's); and may have been intended for that service. However, the deep groove indicates possible service for insulated copper wire on low to medium voltage electric lines, as for distribution and drops; or for fire alarm, or railway signal circuits.

Two varieties of CD #149 are known; one embossed BROOKFIELD, and another with no embossing whatever and manufactured by an unknown glass works.

The unembossed insulator has further been found with two different base rims; a smooth base, and a type that has been classified within the insulator community as a "continuous drip," although it almost certainly was not designed as a drip surface.

N. R. Woodward recalls:

"I remember walking along a Northern Pacific Railway branch line in Tacoma, Washington, in 1953. It was called the Hill Line, and ran from Tacoma to Tenino, bypassing the Point Defiance Tunnel. I couldn't have been more than a mile past Fifteenth Street when I came upon a pile of discarded insulators, perhaps 25. There were CD #208 Hemingrays, CD #188 Brown Deep Grooves, and unembossed CD #149s, which I had never seen before, and have never seen on the line."

Mr. Woodward requests that anyone who has found a CD #149 on a line, or has any other information about this insulator, contact him.

Reader Feedback:

Bob BerryView Icon Profile of Round Rock, TX writes:

I found an unembossed CD #149 at the base of a pole on the Hudson River Line of the New York Central Railroad (now Conrail) near Poughkeepsie New York in 1988.

Robin HarrisonView Icon Profile of Seattle, WA writes:

I have seen two different line uses for the unmarked CD #149's, both in New England. The ones in my collection came from Walden Pond (of Thoreau fame), in Concord, Massachusetts. In 1968-1969, I found about 8 or 9 specimens on brackets nailed to trees around an old inn at the park. I believe they were used for a DC lighting system. From 1969 to 1974, I found a number of CD #149's in service on fire alarm circuits, and got insulators from fire stations, and fire alarm supply companies throughout eastern Massachusetts. They seemed to be used commonly in this capacity in New England. I'm sure I got, or saw them on lines in Concord, Lexington, Bedford (which also had amber T.H.E.s, which I saw but never got!), Lincoln, and many of the towns between Bedford and Boston. I believe I collected some from lines in New Hampshire, but cannot say categorically that I saw CD #149's there.

I have never found the Brookfield one, only the unembossed style.

My impression is, that like telephone, open wire lines were coming down at that time to be replaced with cable. I doubt that any of these lines are in service today, although I would guess that every eastern Massachusetts town had a fire alarm system, and many would have used the CD #149. It would not surprise me if many are still on the poles, or in the storerooms of firehouses. I remember going to a fire alarm company in some town in the Boston suburbs and seeing bins of CD #149's, which were offered me at $1 each. I was 13, and on a bicycle, so passed up the offer. Years later I returned and was informed that another collector had bought them all. Ah, the folly of youth!

Jack KeslingView Icon Profile of Drexel Hill, PA writes:

I have collected both the Brookfield and the No-Name CD #149's off the Georgia Central Railway Line in the late 1960's. They were all on a five cross-arm section of the line coming out of Macon. There were not too many, and they were all on the lower tier which provided power for the signals. Most of the insulators that were there were porcelain, and that is what I used to replace them. The only other oddity on this lower cross-arm were a few porcelain "Dry-Spot" (U-188) type insulators. I looked at the insulators, but had no interest in collecting them, since at that time not many folks were interested in porcelain. As far as the mix, I would guess that about 70% were Brookfield's and the rest were No-Names.

There were also a few Hemingray 109's (CD #1070 dead-end spool) on the lower cross-arm tier. I found one really nice honey amber and two broken ones. Also, several in aqua and one in a clear / light lemon color. I think there were a total of around 7 or 8 of these on a section of line that was probably three or four miles long. There were no more found in all of the Central Georgia line that I've walked. They almost certainly had to be replacement insulators. In this same section, there were a large number of CD #202 Hemingray 14 transpositions, with the May 2, 1893 (Ralph G. Hemingray, and James C. Gill; drip-point paten) patent embossing, in a greenish-aqua color. They were on the next tier up. I expect that I put maybe four or five dozen into the hobby.

This section of line also yields some real odd-balls, such as a CD #104 Wm. Brook / 83 Fulton in nice yellow-green, and a sage colored No-Name CD #104 with the December 19, 1871 (Robert Hemingray; Process of Forming Glass Insulators) patent date. How this early Hemingray got onto the line is anyone's guess. I think most of these were replacements since I've never heard of this early Hemingray anywhere on the East Coast. By the way, I also found the first two Boston Bottle screw-tops that came into the hobby. I traded the mint green one I had (what a mistake, to Brad (I can't remember his last name)) who was I believe from NY. I got a 110.5 National in return - at that time it was an insulator that I thought was neat, and that I had never seen before). Most of the other Boston styles, and the CD #126 W. Brookfield in SCA came from a section of this line that was South of Fort Valley.

Paul Rubin notes:

The No-Name CD #104 with the December 19, 1871 patent date mentioned above had never been assigned a CD #104 designation by N. R. Woodward. The first time he saw this insulator was at the November, 2001 Mid-Ohio insulator show. After evaluating the insulator he assigned it as a CD #124.1. I believe this is where it will be located in the McDougalds new price guide.

Brad from New York: if you re out there, please write and tell us your last name.

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Disclaimer: All information presented here is accurate to the best of my knowledge. It is based on research, personal correspondence, interviews with reliable sources, site visits, etc. When speculation is made, it will be clearly stated as such, and any relevant information used to make statements, whether inductive, deductive, or purely tangential will also be stated. It is not implied that this information is definitive, or total. We are dealing with historical information that was not documented carefully, if at all. I encourage all corrections, comments, criticisms, etc. Please remember that the goal is to increase the knowledge of the insulator community.

COPYRIGHT 1997 by Paul T. Rubin
N.R. Woodward Associates
PO Box 171, Houston, TX 77001-0171
(713) 521-9113

Written Thursday, February 6, 1997
Updated Monday, March 3, 2003