Column 11

By Robin Plewes

CD 143 Canadian Pacific Ry Co. in purple

The Second Annual
Southwestern Ontario Insulator Swap & Show

The Second Annual Southwestern Ontario insulator swap & show was held on the Nicpon farm outside London Ontario. Co-host Barrett Nicpon was good enough to write a show report for others who couldn’t make it, but wanted to be there. Thanks Barrett!

So, another show, only the second in a hopefully expanding series of Southwestern Ontario insulator swaps, has slipped away beyond sight over the diminutive foot hills of time. Diminutive for me, anyways - a young collector in his element surrounded by all the most seasoned, skilled, intelligible, and sometimes, eccentric collectors of his known geography. Yes! The Second Annual South Western Ontario insulator swap & show is in the book.

The day is June the 4th, 2005. Waking, I begin to fear the worst, as the weather reports have indicated even the slightest chance of rain today - and such a rain would completely ruin the day for me! However, no such luck! Not even the slightest sign of rain! Like a finely organized orchestra in tuning session, the day, though still young, was shaping up to be an ideal one for such as an outdoor insulator swap! The sun was shining, the freezer was filled with ice for the cooler, my mother was putting the finishing touches on breakfast, and the barrage of food which would later turn out to be the REAL gem of the show! At least, in my opinion.

The collectors, omitting Kyle Waters and myself, who were already present, began to show up around 9:30, much earlier than the designated time, but no one was complaining! Simply eager to swap & tell stories, I suppose! I sure was!

By 11:00 or so, most of the collectors who would be coming during the day had shown up. This would include about 20 collectors, along with family.

A relatively small show, for sure, but nonetheless, a successful one! Jack Barna & his wife were the first to show up, coming from Ohio. I was intrigued by the stories he told me while I was caught off guard trying to clean my "insulator storage barn" up!

The three Banks Brothers, Gord, Walter, and Howard, showed up. Those three are absolute veterans in the hobby from their 30+ years digging threadless here in Ontario & the world, and are quite famous for their incredible finds and amazing knowledge of the local lines! It was a pleasure to have them back again!

Mike & Debbie showed up around 10:30, along with their usual company of several young parrot chicks. As usual, Mike & Debbie were in good spirits, and had good terms on their insulator prices! They set up a table with many an excellent trader, and some key pieces to be shown off, including a pair of light green G.N.W. CD-145s, a cannonball which Debbie had found washed out by heavy rainfalls, several broken threadless in extraordinary colours, and my personal favorite - a sage or gray green G.N.W. CD-143 which they had an extra of to trade, and with which successfully tempted me all day...

Paul Axman & Manfred Hagar showed up bringing extraordinary traders and walk-ins! Manfred had several broken threadless, including a half a cobalt 718, which he had found, and several amazingly coloured DOMINION - 42 CD-154s, including a couple of amber shades (which he had colour-matching ashtrays also made by DOMINION to correspond with), and a breath-taking dark cornflower piece! Paul had just returned from Saskatchewan with a boatload of colourful and unusual telephone and telegraph pieces, which no one around here would ever find! Suffice to say, I had my eyes on a lot on his table!

Steve & Linda Wessel showed up, bringing with them only a handful of pieces - much to my surprise, one of which was a snowy G.N.W. of a present for me! They wouldn't accept anything in return, either! The generosity of some folks... They also had among my personal favourites of the day - an N.E.G.M.CO. CD-145 which Steve & his son-in-law had pulled themselves, with the most incredible amber swirls all evenly swirled throughout the glass, so as to give the piece an incredible yellow-green glow! It was again a pleasure to have them here!

Richard Hiiuvain attended his first show here in the side yard of my house - it was a pleasure to have him here, and I hope to see him back again!

The Brookfield Boys, Pat & Mackenzie Young, and Mark Bauer came from Michigan to set up a table & talk glass. I was proud of Pat, Mackenzie, and Marks' interest in Canadian glass, though they all still seemed more intrigued by the snowy No. 40 152s I had than any of my Canadian stuff. They claimed they came here without hunting... but I don't know, they arrived pretty late. I'm not convinced!

And, of course, there are the other collectors who arrived individually, not in clique groups such as all the above. Shawn Long came from Windsor, and had some really interesting pieces to show off! He stuck around afterwards during which Kyle & I enjoyed a most pleasant conversation with him... not necessarily about pleasant things, however.

Alex, a collector friend of mine, whom I know fairly well, but for

unconventional reasons, came from London, and went home with a box of goodies from my surplus shed! I hope he enjoys them!

Greg, a collector from Chatham, whose surname I consistently forget, came and thoroughly impressed me by having TWO light green G.N.W.s where I had only managed to gather a very few in the time I've specialized in them! I wound up holding on to one of these G.N.W.s.

Rick Dellow also showed up, and brought with him some of the more incredible of last year's walk-ins, as well as a few which were new to this year! Rick is a former lineman from a nearby small town, and an extraordinarily interesting and nice person to talk to!

There were other collectors who showed up, but I'm sad to say I can't quite put faces to all names yet at this point in the game! I admit to switching up Paul Axman's and Manfred Hagar's names as recently as last year's spring show! Either way, it was a pleasure to have them here!

Now for the unsung heroes of the show: my mother, Hilary blew everyone away with her superior cooking abilities, my brother, Brent did an exquisite job barbequing enough meat products for an army, and my girlfriend, Paige, did an excellent job in tolerating my unconventional collecting interest. I even caught her fondling some of Mike's surplus! She seemed to be enjoying herself! She really knows how to make me happy...

Through all this though, it is sad to report that the man who made it all happen, Tom Iannelli, was unable to make it due to a thorough devotion to his career, which called for a long trip to Baffin Island. I would like to thank him above everyone else for all his time & effort into organizing the show and sale! I never would have thought 3 years ago when I started in this hobby that I would have had so much success and interest in it. Thanks to Tom's patient help & mentoring, I have.

Thank you to everyone who attended, and I hope you enjoyed yourselves! See you back here next year... I hope!

Au revoir, mon amis! Barrett

This column’s photo is used with thanks to Ian Macky. The header insulator for this column is a CD 143 Canadian Pacific Ry Co, skirt embossed in an odd but authentic shade of purple.

As always, feel free to contact me with comments, contributions or topics you might like to see covered in future Canadian Forum columns.

Good Collecting ............. Robin

Robin Plewes, Almonte Ontario, Canada.

Phone: 613-256-7638 or Email:

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