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Chesapeake Bay Insulator Club

Show Report

March 8, 1997

By Larry Novak

The Chesapeake Bay Insulator Club held its ninth Annual Insulator Show and Sale on Saturday, March 8, 1997.

This is an unofficial report - the official one will be in Crown Jewels later - I'll give this to whoever is writing that one.

This was a great show - it was by far our best yet. We sold out all of our dealer tables - 26 is as many as we can fit if we leave room for displays and a small lunch area. We also filled up our display area with 5 displays. We had a sixth scheduled but Mark Becher seriously cut his hand while putting his display together the night before the show and couldn't complete his.

I made a point of talking with the dealers about how they were doing and all of them felt they had a very good show.

We had a large walk-in. We went well over 100 people, which is at least 25% more than we've ever had before. Many of these were obviously new collectors. We got a dozen of the Crown Jewels' "What Is An Insulator" booklets and sold them for $1 each and they were all gone at the end of the day. I see this as a good sign that we're attracting some number of potentially new collectors.

One man stopped by my table with a bag of insulators under his arm. He bought 6 from my 3 for $1 box and a few more $1 insulators. He said that he was just driving by on his way to his daughter's house, saw our sign, and stopped in. He was quite amazed at what he saw, but also obviously intrigued, because he left with 21 insulators, spending a total of $14. I'm sure he took them all in to show his daughter what wonderful treasures he found. ("Oh Dad! What ARE you going to do with them??)

We had several very nice displays:

(Don't quote me on the awards - the "official" report will have the final word - this is what I remember, though)


I'll let someone else describe the mouth-watering insulators that showed up on the dealer tables. There were a lot of really good pieces, but with my buying habits being restricted to the "well under $100" pieces, I can't do justice to describing the really good stuff. For me, every ECM, CEW, threadless or peacock blue insulator sends spittle running down my chin.

Bernie Warren had a table full of great-looking foreign material and seemed to spend the whole day explaining foreign insulators to an endless stream of people stopping by his table.

We had a retired employee of the Locke factory in Baltimore show up. He called me on the phone the night before and we talked a little then and again at the show. He worked for Locke starting in 1953 for about 43 years. He was a draftsman. He has a bunch of pictures of some of the insulators they made and the ovens they used, etc.

He also has some memorabilia - some insulators that he collected over the years. Of the stuff he brought in, there were no pin-type insulators but I'm sure he has some of these at home - he only brought a small sample of what he had.

He had a really nice medium green Locke ashtray with an insulator and "Locke" embossed in the center. I really wanted to buy this from him but a few dealers said it would be worth in the $40-50 range which was about double what I'd be willing to spend on it, not really being a mud collector - I just liked the ashtray!

He also had a pen holder with "Locke" underglaze - made from part of a multipart Locke, and made in sort of a cobalt blue glaze. He has other stuff like this, too.

He also said he had a book that showed every insulator style that Locke ever made. I didn't see this.

I gave him Elton Gish's address and sent Elton info on how to contact him. I thought he might be able to add something to the known history of Locke.

Well, enough for now. If I forgot anything really interesting, I'll add a Part 2!

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Written Tuesday, March 11, 1997