Multi-part mass grave

By Brian Weeldreyer; posted August 14, 2009

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I know nothing about porcelain insulators. Here's what I do know (or have read somewhere) about these:

I found about a dozen or more of these tossed into the old foundation of a long-gone building and mostly covered with briars and broken slabs of ancient concrete. They all seem to be in about this condition - they were unceremoniously tossed into their grave. Maybe if I dig a bit I could find one in better shape.

If what I've read is correct, these pieces held up the FIRST LINES IN THE WORLD to carry 100kv, generated at the Croton Dam (Michigan). The line was built around 1906 and I'm assuming that these were the original insulators. The steel towers are still standing there doing their job with suspensions now carrying the lines. [id=254871853] I have no idea when the update took place.

The insulators seem to be in several different glaze colors: the dark mustard and blue-black in the picture as well as some dark brown. I can't find any marks on them. They're probably about 9" in diameter at the base. I'm guessing from the square mounting hole that they sat on the end of a 3x4 piece of timber?. If nothing else, they're an interesting piece of history. As a collectors item, I have no idea of their significance, commonness, or value. So, what are they? What can you tell me about them?


UPDATE: Elton Gish just told me that they are third rail insulators. All my novice assumptions were wrong, and I'm feeling a little dumb about now. They ARE right next to the power line and I'm pretty sure I've got all that history right. But, there was also an interurban railway that ran next to the power lines, and I'm guessing it was electric. Although, I wouldn't expect an electrified rail to be running on the ground through rural areas. But I'll shut up now, because I also don't know much about electric trains.

Feel free to comment on any of this!