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The 1996 NIA Central Region Show
September 7-8, 1996
by Bob Machann
(Reprinted with permission from Crown Jewels of the Wire)

Camera Be sure to take a look at the photographs of the eight displays.

Collectors from near and far gathered at the Four Points Sheraton in Houston, Texas, for the LSIC- sponsored 1996 National Insulator Association’s Central Regional show on Saturday and Sunday, September 7th and 8th, 1996. By 9 a.m., the room was buzzing with dealers and collectors alike. In all, there were eight displays and more than 20 dealers at the show.

The displays provided a smorgasbord of insulators. The Burns family provided three different displays. Jimmy Burns’ display featured early color porcelain power pieces, while James Burns’ “Step Up to Purple” glass display and Christopher Burns’ “Haystacks” (complete with an antique Fisher-Price play barn) turned heads.

There was more to see. Elton Gish displayed glazeweld porcelain insulators made by Thomas and Fred Locke. Foreign porcelain appeared in Marilyn Albers’ “T-Bars and Nosers” display. Pyrex glass was featured in Mike Jordan’s “Fiesta of Insulators”. Spencer Howard featured an M-2795 with a glass skirt. The largest of the displays was “Best Connections” by Carl Rusk, which featured a wide array of telephone and telegraph memorabilia.

Among the dealers present were Dwayne Anthony, Paul Ickes, Jack Riesselman, Carol McDougald, Wendell Daniels, Carl and Bennie Helen Rusk, Ross Baird, John and Leona Hall, John Wiggins, Randall Wickersham, Elton and Kathy Gish, Marilyn and Bill Albers, Greg Everett, Wade Howard, Spencer Howard, Jim Bates, Jr., Bob Berry, Nick Rodnicki, Jr., Paul Haydostian, Darryl Halik, and Mr. N.R. Woodward. Old and new collectors alike appeared in the walk-through traffic. Tom Miller, A.J. Vaughn, Marvin Suggs, and Paul Rubin attended the show, as did Merwin and Sarah Lodge, along with son Russell and daughter Dru Wilson and husband Sam Wilson of Colorado. Two long-time collectors, Lu Farin of Decatur, Texas and A.L. Rash of Silsbee, Texas, even appeared at the show.

There was a grand selection of insulators for sale. Among the glass jewels were a CD 162 Westinghouse, a CD 162 H.G.Co in royal purple, Colombian Zicme spools, two cobalt EC&Ms, a cobalt bullet, and nine 1972 McLaughlin commemoratives, one of which was the elusive red. There was much desirable porcelain to see, including a cobalt blue U-630 Victor with a radio top, a U-883 Jeffery-DeWitt, and a yellow Swiss power insulator. For lightning rod ball collectors, there were four tables of balls, glass tail arrows, and rods to choose from. Among the LRB’s were a red moon & stars ball, a BMG ribbed grape, two D&S cobalt balls, and two red Diddie Blitzens. There was even a rare Pond’s patent insulator at the show.

On Saturday evening, guests were treated to a barbeque banquet dinner with all the trimmings. During the dinner, John Hall and Jimmy Burns presented the awards. Jimmy Burns won the Crown Jewels of the Wire ribbon for his color porcelain power display. Carl Rusk won the Best of Show award for “Best Connections.” Mike Jordan won the Lone Star Texas Plaque for his “Fiesta of Insulators” display.

On Sunday, a drizzly afternoon rain did not dampen spirits as the drawings were held for the Lone Star quilt. Dru Wilson won the quilt, while Dwayne Anthony and Darleah Fine each won a handmade pillow. Perhaps Paul Rubin should ‘have won a prize for having the most colorful hat. He came back Sunday afternoon wearing a Dr. Seuss Cat-in-the-Hat-style top hat!

Although it was sad to see things packed up at the end of the show, Paul Rubin was a happy collector. He walked away from the show the proud owner of an antique brick from John Hall’s father’s house. The brick was yellow with the word SUNSET and the backwards shape of the state of Texas stamped on it.

A good time was had by all, and LSIC members are looking forward to next year’s show.

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Last updated Sunday, December 22, 1996