Lima M-3285 and M-3048 history

By Mike Spadafora; posted January 17, 2017

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A little bit of insulator history ... In 1993-1995 a lineman named Mat Price who worked for a contractor in Eastern Oregon and south western Washington discovered the first M-3285 and M-3048 Lima specimens on a very old historic line that ran From the Granite powerhouse to the mining camp of Borne, Oregon. The powerhouse and line had been constructed by the Homestake Gold mining Co The power plant was shut down in 1967 and the old three phase power line was backfed as a lower voltage single phase line to provide power for the small mining town of Granite near the powerhouse . The line remained in it's original construction form for it's entire existence and became a nuisance and maintenance headache with frequent failures and outages in the winter that required snowmobile snowshoe or even helicopter access . The line regularly went out of service and was very costly to maintain considering it only served a dozen or so remote residential customers and one small store. During it's last few years of service Mat began "picking " the two dead phases for marked and unmarked Lima multiparts ...His biggest interest was the marked ones that commanded the highest collector value. Mat would go out in the summer ground the two dead phases climb the poles and pick insulators at will on the remote line with his wife acting as ground crew. The smaller Lima multiparts were much scarcer and he would pick all of them wile looking primarily for the larger ones with markings . Mat also recovered a single U-968 from a remote section of the line . All of the known marked examples of these multiparts were recovered by Matt. the line was dismantled around 1996 and all of the insulators and most of the hardware was removed by the crews or lifted out by helicopter and sent to a dumpster The crew that salvaged the line saved nothing . Mat mentions his disappointment when he learned the line had been dismantled lamenting that it was a very historic almost 90 year old line Subsequently several different collectors walked the line rout finding about a dozen more unmarked M-3265's and one or two M-3048's Mat told me personally that when he climbed a pole and found only unmarked M-3265's he would remove them and stash them in the brush near the pole rather then packing them out in order to save room in his pack for marled specimens and unmarked M-3048's . these may well be some of the ones I and other collectors later found on the line. The Homestake Mining company around 1916 shipped many of the remaining surplus unused insulators not installed on this line to South Dakota to be installed on a line there from their #2 powerhouse which was completed around 1917 . I personally saw the South Dakota line in service in 1998 with both Lima stiles in service including a few marked ones . Unfortunately this line was dismantled about ten years ago and no one was around to save any of the insulators and other then a few lower skirts none were ever found on this line whole by collectors . in total only about five marked M-3048's and about a dozen marked M-3285's were fond . The M-3048 remains a scarce piece with maybe 15 in collector hands total The M-3285 is more plentiful with about 24-30 examples in the hobby .