Whitall Tatum 154 - Squatty Mold Variant?

By Scott Morrell; posted March 3, 2015

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4/29/15 UPDATE --

Another good short mold example has surfaced, courtesy of Jim Fielding, viewable here:


In addition, Denny Hackthorne weighed several WT-1's to establish a "baseline weight" for a WT-1 insulator. His results appear below. As soon as I find a suitable scale, I will weight my short specimen for comparison. If it weighs less by a significant margin, this will add credence to the notion that WT did indeed use a short mold (versus a slumper). Here are Denny's results:

ICONITES, Bill had a great idea to weigh the short WT # 1 and compare them to the weight of the standard WT #1. This should answer the question about a different mold or a deformed standard. I have 4 cases of WT #1s, 16 to a case. They are all dead mint and clean. They are slowly disappearing as I give them to kids and new collectors. I weighed 8 of them to get a good average. I used my falconry scale which is very accrete and reads down to a tenth of an oz. As follows______. Mold # 26, 17.7 oz.

Mold # 16, 17.5 oz.

Mold # 17, 17.8 oz.

Mold # 29, 17.7 oz.

Mold # 18, 17.9 oz.

Mold # 22, 17.7 oz

Mold # 19, 17.7 oz.

Mold # 15, 17.7 oz.

Average weight 17.7125 oz.

Now Jim and Scott weigh yours and let us know what you come up with. Something that was not mentioned was Jim screwed a wooden pin in his. It was a perfect fit. I don't think that would happen with a slumper. Thanks, Denny Hackthorne



I received 5 emails regarding the WT on the left. Of those 5 emailers, 4 believe it's a slumper, and one believes it is a unique mold style.

I'm inclined to bow to that collective wisdom, but I remain uncertain. The photo distorted in a manner to make it "appear" to lean slightly. But when viewed in person, there is no detectable lean at all. All base edges are sharp and crisp. I was also reminded that by the time WT insulators were being made, production in all phases was pretty much a science.

If this piece slumped while hot, it did so in a perfectly symmetrical manner. I suppose that's possible in this case. At any rate, I will bring the piece to some shows this year, including Rohde's, Spokanistan, and Lostine. I'll ask a number of people to examine the piece, and render their opinion.

Whatever the cause... slumper, or unique mold... it's a fun little oddity to ponder upon.


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While going through a small collection I recently purchased, I found the Whitall Tatum pictured on the left. I noticed right away that it differed from any Whitall Tatum that I'd ever handled (and I've handled a few!).

Compare the odd, squatty piece on the left (mold #23), to the normal Tatum on the right (mold #19). The #23 is notably shorter. The lower skirt has a pronounced curvature reminiscent of a CD 152, compared to the less curved lower skirt on the right. Finally, the area under the lower wire ridge is deeper and more angular than the piece on the right.

Several collectors at a recent JSIC swap agreed this piece looks different. There was some conjecture the short piece slumped while still hot. But I don't think so. The embossing is crisp, and the shape is exceptionally uniform.

Has anyone ever noticed a Whitall Tatum mold variant like the piece on the left? Does anyone specialize in this sort of thing?