Fred Locke dead end spool

By Mike Spadafora; posted November 24, 2009

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This is, as far as I know, The first somewhat complete or displayable specimen of a Fred Locke spool reported . After spending nearly a 10 hour day of raking and probing, I found nearly all of the top, about 4/5ths of the lower bell and 1/3 of the base skirt . (man my arms were sore when the day was done!) It looks like the spool was dropped on its base and lower skirt pretty hard.

This large spool has 8 1/2 " skirts and is about 9 1/2" long. The spool was composed of three pieces made separately and fired together. The top skirt is applied with clay slip to the central body and the inner most skirt that the spool rests on is glazewelded to the lower umbrella and central core tube which are one piece. The conductor groove was "green trimmed "on to the body. I have only found about 1/3 of the base . These large spools were patented by Fred Locke in 1904. This spool would have been Locke's cat # 605 spool rated at 23 Kv.

This spool was likely one of the first ever made . It has marking 6-1 on the top skirt pointing to 1902 or early 1903. The clay body surface is very crude! I am still researching the location where I found it at this time . Sadly it is likely that this is the only one that I will be able to find enough parts to that it can be saved and made displayable . I hope to have it restored by next years national.

Overall it is a very fragile insulator and I really wonder how long it could have stayed in service before failing. I have seen an early photo of the Gold Ray Dam in Oregon that clearly had a pole full of these where the lines crossed the river to the power house from the south . Nearby there were Fred Locke U-964's and M-2842's used in quantity!