Early Brookfield Junk

By Chris Cotnoir; posted November 17, 2013

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There was a discussion on ICON recently about how the earlier Brookfield insulators had less junk in them than the later pieces produced when Brookfield's QC went down the tubes. I think someone else mentioned that the larger pieces of firebrick and other debris like nails and such were much less likely to be found in the earlier CREBs than in the later SKEBs. I had never really noticed or thought about it much to that level of detail, so I went around and checked my CREBs, and sure enough, large bubbles and steam trails are readily found, but the more substantial "junk" was few and far between. I pulled together the best examples of the early Brookfield junky stuff I have, and it seems that while bits of white and black stones are not uncommon, they are often very small, with one as big as 3/8" not found in my collection. Some of the other types of impurities I've found include inky black stringers, carbon veils, amber wisps, white cotton balls, olive snot wads and trails, bubbles and fizz, and sometimes just a lack of clarity to the glass that it almost looks like Vaseline, which is what the beehive in the lower right of this picture looks like in hand. It's the kind of thing I picture in my mind when I hear a reference to "septic enchilada" as an insulator color. 8^) I do have numerous later-production SKEBs with rocks bigger than a half-inch, loads of heavy amber, nails, shiny metal flakes, and so many bits of white potstone they look like shaken-up holiday snowglobes. The beehive in the upper left of the photo also shows this effect, but with much tinier white flecks (and I don't mean Bela, the banjo maestro). 8^D And interestingly, to me at least, a lot of the early Brookfields that I have found stuff in didn't show their treasures until after I cleaned them. In as-found condition, they looked much like any other of the millions of insulators Brookfield placed in service. So, while early Brookfield junk can be hard to find, it is out there if you look hard enough. Happy hunting!