Ron Norton's Personal Page
My name is Ron Norton. I am married to Patti Norton, and we have two grown children (Derek and Heather), and two grandchildren (Chris and Jessica) who are five and three. They call me "Goofy Grandpa." I spend my days working for the City of Port Hueneme as a Chemical Specialist, which means that I kill weeds. I also make things grow in my job in the Landscape Maintenance Department.
I go to as many shows as I can. My wife usually goes with me, but I also go to a lot of shows around the country when she is too busy working on the magazine (The Rainbow Riders' Trading Post). I have displayed some of my insulators at several local shows and one Regional show. With the help of my wife and the Central and Southern Counties Insulator Club, I put on a yearly show in Cayucos, California. (You'll have to come to the show someday. It is in a relaxing location on the beach, and we all meet there for a good time. A great show just happens to be the result of our having a great time together.)
From the beginning, I have been "Mr. Trader." I even traded for the suit I got married in. It seemed a little expensive, so I asked the salesman if he needed any landscaping done. The suit cost me no cash, just a little of my time. I have traded almost anything you could think of over the years (except my wife), but I also buy and sell insulators. The best thing I have done lately was to buy a few collections. There surely is a lot of cleaning, listing and labeling involved, but it has allowed me to have lots of insulators on my table when I go to shows and a lot of reasons to keep talking to other collectors on the phone.
My wife had been collecting antiques for years. She was always looking for them at thrift stores, swap meets, and garage sales. She kept finding things to keep in the house and things that she didn't want to keep but could make a profit on. We used to go to a large swap meet which was held every six weeks and sell things. Of course, we also traded antiques and collectibles. Well, Patti looked through the antique and collectibles price books whenever she brought home something new, just to see what it was worth. She noticed that insulators were listed for $10 to $100 each, so we decided that we had to keep our eyes peeled for them, along with the other hundreds of items that she knew were worth money. At one small swap meet in town, we found two huge boxes of insulators for $5 each, and we knew that we would soon be rich by selling the insulators for $10 to $100 each! The first hitch was that I liked them and didn't want to sell them. (We didn't know then that the second hitch was that they were each worth about $1.) Keith Auchter used to have a regular booth at the large swap meet that we sold at. Once I knew what insulators were, I noticed all of Keith's insulators. He had hundreds every time we went. I started asking him questions about the insulators I bought and all of his. He didn't think twice about letting me hang around for hours while he told me details about all of his insulators (and how little mine were really worth!). Every time the swap meet was held, I left Patti selling our antiques and I spent hours asking Keith questions. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. Instead of selling any of the $1 insulators that I bought, I kept buying $5 insulators from Keith. I had been collecting bottles for a while, and they were all over the house. Patti finally said that either bottles or insulators had to go because there just wasn't room for both. One day, I surprised Patti with a dark purple insulator (a Whitall Tatum). She decided then and there that the bottles had to go and the insulators could stay.
I started collecting in 1991. I have changed my collection many times over the years. Right now, I am collecting general color. In that group, I have a nice spread of 145s, 151s, 133s, 164s, and 123s. I am willing to add almost any CD if it is a super color. Patti finally allowed me to put a light box in the living room. It is an underlit case which holds about 100 insulators. If it doesn't look good in the case, I don't keep it. Patti calls me fickle because I have changed my collection so many times, and I sometimes only keep insulators for a few months before trading them off for something new. But, she is grateful that my fickleness is only in insulators and not in wives. My special loves are yellow-greens and olive greens, although I have almost every color of the "rainbow" in the case. I also like insulators that contain a lot of milk or amber streaks. I am also looking for new milkglass insulators with different tints to them.
I also collect Goofys. I have about 400 different ones, including new items and "antique" items. I even have a Goofy baseball and a Goofy tricycle horn. Let me know if you have one to include in a trade towards insulators. One of my other interests is antique railroad lanterns. I have a few bottles around the house now, but they are not like the ones I got rid of. I used to have things like 5-year-old coke bottles. Now, I have Hutchinsons in assorted colors. Even Patti likes those. I also just got four seltzer bottles. I shouldn't get any more because we don't have any more room, but I may consider one of those in trade for insulators. My favorite collection is pictures, hats, and other items related to the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers. But, these things had to move to my office at work due to lack of room in the house.
Offices that I have held are the NIA Nominations Chairman. I am currently the President of the Central and Southern Counties Insulator Club and on the NIA Show Standards Committee with my wife and Ginny Way.
Ron & Patti Norton
234 North Fifth Street
Port Hueneme, CA 93041
Written by Ron Norton,
Last updated Thursday, November 21, 1996
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