Cable Route

By Bart Magoffin; posted February 24, 2015

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Took a trip to see an old high school friend, and re-visit insulator hunting grounds of my youth. It's been over 40 years, everyone and everything has aged and changed. This pole line, in the hills east of Oakland, Calif, I hiked in the early 70's, it was a line of large old poles supporting 3 or 4 heavy lead telephone cables. I had been collecting/hunting for 10 years, so had "stared" at many lines, however I recall being impressed by the size of the cables and how they were supported over the hills and canyons as far as you could see. So this was the AT&T main route East from Oakland/SF toward Sacramento. From the teens til 1950's, was up to 10 cross arms of open wire, then in the late '20's cables were strung to supplement and eventually replace the open wire. Articles of the time talk about the first "A" and "B" cables being connected from coast to coast. Crawling thru the brush and poison oak along the route, we would find dozens of CD 121 Brookfields, AT&T, CD 208 Hemi's, 42's, Pyrex 128's etc, etc. It was a thrill for us, finding glass on every hill and in every ravine. Today the cables are long gone, housing tracts cover much of the area we hiked, however we did discover a mile section of poles hidden and forgotten in a "Regional Park". Here is one of the only poles standing, it supported several heavy lead cables across a ravine.