Found along MN Hwy 18 near Brainerd 1

By Steve McCollum; posted August 20, 2013

View Original (3264 x 1836) 2931KB


I spotted this while looking for a farm stand that was selling fresh sweet corn. The insulators are all commons, but it is still good to see 'em in the air! Nobody was about so I haven't yet had a chance to see whether this person is a casual collector, or has a full-blown case of the disease.

Update: on January 3, 2014, Dave French sent me the following explanation.

Hi Steve:

This is the former home of the late Earl Paulson who passed away in 2007. Earl was a retired electrician and collected all kinds of "stuff" he sold at flea markets. I don't know when he got started collecting insulators but most of his collection was commons, but he did have a lot of CD 126 Brookfield's which he got off the former Northern Pacific line between Brainerd and Little Falls and the line from Brainerd to Bemidji.

I don't think he ever bought insulators, he got them for free or almost free and tried to sell them at a significant markup. According to Earl, he drove his tractor and trailer down the NP right of way after the tracks were removed and picked up insulators. He made stickers saying the insulator came off the NP which he affixed to the 126's and sold them at flea markets.

In the 1990's Terry Kornberg, Ed Peters, and I made a winter trip to visit Earl as he wanted to dispose of his remaining 126's. He had his excess glass stored in 55 gal. barrels in the trees. I still remember that it was a big snow year and we had to get through waist deep snow to get to the barrels. One drum was half full of 126's and we bought them all.

Earl had a heated shop in that garage visible in your photo, and he would tinker with his many commons trying to make them more marketable for the flea markets. He used a Dremel tool to to engrave my name on a CD 122 which he gave to me. He was a bona fide character and a real nice guy.