14th Annual S.W.O.I.S. Group Canadian Porcelain Beehive Display

By Barrett Nicpon; posted June 14, 2017

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The 14th annual South Western Ontario Insulator Swap was held at the Nicpon home in Mt. Brydges, Ontario just this past Saturday - June the 10th, 2017. I did my best to orchestrate a bit of a group display showing some of the more unusual Canadian-used beehive styles that are out there. As with most Canadian porcelain insulators, there doesn't seem to be much of an appreciation for these beehive styles. This always seemed odd to me considering their similar historical significance, and identical shape to most of the more beloved glass beehive styles. Either because fewer were produced, or simply because collectors chose not to care for a few decades of collecting and didn't bother to pick them up, some of these styles remain extremely elusive.

This is an overview shot of the group display. Most of the items that showed up are included in the photo, though some migrated there later on in the day. Some highlights include:

- red ink stamp marked G.N.W. U-1131a

- threadless U-1132a "dinosaur egg" (likely a manufacturing defect)

- black ink stamp marked G.T.P. U-1166

- dark brown-glazed dry process "Yukon Pattern" U-1137a

- bright blue ink stamp C.P.R. beehive (U# unknown)

- salt-glazed U-1131 "dino egg" with squared crown

- salt-glazed U-1130 C.N.R. (four of these showed up!)

- dark brown U-132 C.N.R. (Pittsburg High Voltage product)

- "lead capped" CP U-1923 and Medalta U-1923a with matching hollow aluminum pin.

There were also a wide variety of other unusual and in some case undocumented porcelain beehive styles which are difficult to describe due to their all being just "white porcelain beehives", but some of which are nonetheless extremely difficult to find. I saw at least one piece there that I didn't even know existed until the day of the show! Also included in the display were: several unmarked or marked CP-made beehives in brown glazes; marking variations in the Bullers, Gisborne Pattern, HESCHO, CNR and CPR U-1131 and green ink stamp U-1131a series (including A.E.R., T&NORy, CPR, and CNR); variations in glaze character and texture in the "Yukon Pattern" U-1137a; and trimming and glaze variations in the "dinosaur egg" U-1132a. Some items were just character-saturated, including a number of glazed over chips, out of round examples, or examples with brown glaze dripped on a white insulator. I'll attempt to upload some photos of the individual examples when time permits. Unfortunately the day was so busy that I didn't have a chance to photograph all of the examples present!