John Wigington's (Wig) Insulator Page

My first touch: (1967-68)

I'm the son of a military man, my father was a Pilot in the U.S. Air Force, so consequentially, My family moved around quite a bit while I was growing up. My Parents and their families were all from Oklahoma, born and raised. My mother's parents had a little stone cabin on Lake Hulah between Bartlesville and Pawhuska. Every summer we would visit my Grandparents, and usually go to "the Cabin". I remember asking my Grandma, "What are those blue and clear glass things" around the base of that tree. She said they were "insulators off of telephone poles" and I picked one up. I didn't know much more about it, but I remembered seeing them up on the poles everywhere we would go. We traveled a lot. I must have been 7 or 8. She had a bunch of them, "Hemi 42s", in and around her plants and flowers. There were also some inside the cabin, upside down in gold painted cans with candles in them. I thought they were pretty neat.

My first hunt: (1971)

When I got a little older, 11 I guess, I'd take the Bus to my Grandparents and spend the summer. My sisters were older and had interests at home, so I'd make the trip alone. I remember looking out the window of the bus at the never ending line of poles and wire, each pole with a dozen or so of those colored glass insulators. When I got to the cabin, I had lots of questions, like "where'd you get them" and "how'd you get them off the pole". My Grandpa told me he got them along an old Railroad and they were just lying on the ground. We packed a picnic lunch and went "hunting" that summer. I got some aqua and clear 42's for my very own. The collector inside was born.

The pieces that sank the hook: (1972-75)

The next summer, I took the bus to visit my grandparents as I'd done the previous year, but this time, 1/2 way though the summer, I went on to visit my Grandparents on my Dads side. They lived near a little town called Stigler and had quite a bit of land. My Grandpa had operated Coal Shovels in strip mines throughout the county. When I got there, even though I'd been there numerous times before, I noticed insulators sitting in the windowsills. They were much different than the ones I had. They were smaller and had "Patent Dates". My Grandma gave me my first "Hemi No.9" and "Hemi No.12"; I still have them today. After that, my parents got me my first book, along with a dark green "Brookfield". I was hooked. I collected anything I didn't have that I could find or afford at local antique dealers. I got to the point of having about 80 or so different types of insulators by the time I was 14 or 15.

The fall of the inspiration: (1976)

I got my driver's license in 1976, and my interest quickly changed to Big block Chevelles and dating. With these new interests, and expenses, the insulator collecting ground to an unaffordable halt.

Decades later, back on the tracks:

I'm a Designer by trade. I design printed circuit boards and mechanical packaging for process control equipment. I like to work with my hands and in the last few years, I've gotten into designing and building Custom Wrought Iron Arbors for fun and added income. My wife actually started me on the Idea of building Arbors, because she wanted one for "Her" Garden. The first one I built is 7ft tall 13ft wide and 6ft deep, plenty big for a small table and chairs. I remembered those Candleholders from Grandma's cabin and got this idea to build the "Candleer" which uses "Hemi 42s" shown to the left.

I know, some of you might think it's sacrilege to use insulators in this manner, but I like it. No insulators are destroyed or modified in the construction of these "useful displays" and only common insulator types are used in my designs. My interest in insulators has once again been rekindled, my collection is being upgraded and I've made some very nice contacts thanks to this wonderful site. Thanks Bill.

For information or a custom quote on my Wrought Iron Creations you can E-mail me at the address below:

Written by John Wigington,

Last updated Tuesday, November 14, 2000

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