Central Regional Show, Houston, TX

A summary for Saturday, September 7, 1996

By our roving reporter Carol McDougald


Just a few personal observations on my trip from Chicagoland to attend the Central Region Show and Sale in Houston, Texas.

It is always exciting to pack the car and travel to a distant insulator show. And this was doubly exciting for me to have a chance to "get out of town" and to visit dear collector friend, Lu Farin, in Decatur, Texas. Lu, who is NIA #164, has one of the most complete and extensive insulator collections in the hobby. Those of you who have been entertained by Lu will attest to the fact that her foreign glass and porcelain, her threaded glass and threadless cover the waterfront on CDs. And there are multiparts everywhere and spools, strains, radio strains and lightning rod insulators. Lu is always glad to have people visit, so give her a call if you are in north Texas.

Now, one of the more difficult tasks for me when driving is to be on the interstate and pass an antique mall. I had never seen so many malls in my life as I did the first day out of Chicago. Southern Illinois, approaching St. Louis and throughout Missouri to Joplin is loaded with shops. And, for those of you traveling to the national next summer from that direction (on your way to Chicago--hint, hint) should be forewarned that you will need to plan to make stops.

My first stop netted me four purples, a withycomb toll and a beautiful December Patent bullet in a "Prell shampoo" green color. From that point on, there was no controlling the car. It wanted to stop at every opportunity. I found some interesting PEZ dispensers for my grandson and several water bottles of Hemingray heritage. I had to drive past dark to get far enough down the road so as to make Decatur, TX and Lu Farin's home the next afternoon.

Lu and I set out for Houston on Friday morning and arrived at the Four Points Sheraton around 3 p.m. We were in plenty of time to visit with many of the Lone Star collectors who had begun to gather. Marvin Suggs and his girl friend, Michelle, had made reservations for dinner at a Tex-Mex restaurant. We had a nice dinner and then Michelle, who had framed a photo of an old, multi-arm pole in the Houston area, passed out slips of paper for us to place our names on and offered it as a door prize. We all put our names in the jar and Lu Farin pulled out her own name and will take home the prize.

All 32 sales tables were occupied. Five out of state dealers were present including Jack Riesselman, Paul Ickes, Dwayne Anthony, Wendell Daniel and myself. Lone Star members with tables were Ross Baird, Bill and Marilyn Albers, Nick Rodnicki, Spencer Howard, Robert Machann, John Wiggins, Wade Howard, Elton Gish, Randall Wickersham, N.R. "Woody" Woodward, Paul Rubin, Paul Haydostian, Carl and Bennie Helen Rusk and Greg Everett.

There were 9 competitive displays and we will find out who those all are tomorrow. Marilyn Albers had some nice white foreign porcelain -- "T-bars", "Nosers" and "oddballs." Elton Gish displayed Locke glazewelds, some of which had been cut in half to expose this type of insulator construction. James Burns had "Fisher Price Toy Barn and Porcelain Haystacks" displayed. Carl Rusk had a huge, multi-specialty display of historical material, commemoratives and was the winner of the "Best of Show" trophy. Jimmy Burns received the Crown Jewels of the Wire banner for his beautiful color porcelain display. Mike Jordan displayed the diverse products of Pyrex from the radio strains to the large power insulators and was recipient of the NIA award.

There was a great deal of sales activity throughout the day. I saw some really nice insulators sell including a screwtop Boston and Chicago diamond groove pony. Paul Ickes purchased the better part of a sales table to sell in antique malls in Iowa. Since I am going to the Omaha show in October, I will probably end up buying one of Paul's new acquisitions on my way if my car forces me to stop!

John Hall had recently purchased a huge Texas collection and was selling a lot of nice color glass and porcelain. Bob Berry said he had picked up a lot of nice color porcelain pieces from both John Hall and Jimmy Burns.

Marilyn Albers had a 35# glass E.I.V. 335 on her table that had been brought to her to photograph and make a shadow drawing. It was used for installations along the shorelines as a fog bowl. Check out the advertisement in her book G.I.F.O.N.A. on page 28 to see what this unusual piece looks like.

Saturday evening the banquet was held at the Sheraton for 32 of the attendees.

Sunday promises to be another great day since Lu and I will leave to see the collection of Jim Bates, Jr. in Austin. Over 900 Hemingray insulators to drool over. Monday morning will find us at the home of Bob Berry and an opportunity to see his "powerful" collection.

Next time you get to the great Lone Star state, y'all contact some of these hospitable collectors and say "HOWDEE."

From Houston and the 1996 N.I.A. Central Regional Show,

Carol McDougald, Editor
Crown Jewels of the Wire

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Last updated Sunday, September 8, 1996