Mexican Threadless Insulators, a.k.a. Fence Post Insulators

By Sandia Harrison Polivka; posted April 6, 2007

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This is in reference to Colin Jung's excellent ICON Post. Information about Mexican fence post (fencepost?) insulators:

Re: Verdict please? Colin Jung, Sunnyvale, CA

Regarding the so-call Mexican threadless insulators that have been floating around the hobby and were originally sold by Jack Risselman (aka Katfish on eBay), I got obsessed several years ago trying to uncover the origins and use of these glass items. Fortunately, I am over it now, but will share what I learned. Sorry I don't have a photo of one nor can I find a photo of one on the ICON photo gallery. Is that possible? These "Mexican threadless insulators" are identified by the NIA as questionable items.

I spoke to Dale Huber who has hunted for insulators in Mexico for decades. He has never seen one in service nor has he found any in the wild.

Thinking they may be identified as a decorative/ornamental fence post cap/cover, I have done some extensive googling and have been unable to find any merchants (mexican or otherwise) that sells them.

I have searched through an unknown number of on-line Mexican vacation photos without finding any photos showing them in use on fences.

I have contacted major fencing material suppliers in the southwestern U.S. and the sales reps just scratch their heads when I ask them about these glass items.

Only Jack knows the real, full story..... but he has already told us what they are, even though any outside or independent documentation is sorely lacking.

Colin Jung


Also added by Bill Meier:

David Whitten did some research on this in 2002, and posted this on ICON in November, 2002.

They evidently first started showing up in California in the mid or late 1970s in the US. (If anyone on the list has a more exact year of first appearance, let me know!) I've had several emails about their use in Mexico as fence post ornaments and here is an excerpt of one. The writer has given me permission to mention this, with no names mentioned.

Message follows:


I have made several trips into the Mexico City area. I have seen thousands of these "items" used on high dollar, decorative fences in that area. The pieces are glued in place.... and they look dazzling in the sunlight. I have seen them being put on new fences, so I always assumed that they are still being manufactured but I can not say for sure.

So I will assume that they are indeed fence post ornaments (maybe first made in the 1970s?) and probably still being made. But the similarity of shape to insulators is causing them to be deliberately and knowingly sold to US dealers as such.


I think that pretty much seals the coffin on this one... As they would say on PBS "Myth Busters" ... BUSTED!



As Colin pointed out, collectors should be aware: Although Mexcian fence post insulators can be a nice, colorful addition to your collection, research has produced no evidence to date that they were ever in actual use as insulators. Dave Whitten's term for them, "fence post ornaments", is actually a much more appropriate name. Also, they appear to be a more recently produced item, not particularly old or antique.

Thanks to Colin, Dave and Bill. If anyone else has information to add, please don't hesitate to let me know.

Good collecting,