IOTW CD 130.1

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CD 130.1 - Insulator of the Week on Sat, 21 Jun 2008


Fluted Cal Elec

Related Patents



Embossing: Cal Elec Works Patent

Colors: Aqua and cobalt blue.


In 1878, the Ridge Telephone Company in Northern California completed the nation's first long distance telephone line through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This line spanned nearly 60 miles, providing communication for gold mining operations. There were a total of 22 Edison telephones in operation between French Coral and Milton, CA. Most of the CD 130.1 cobalt blue Cal Elec Works known in the hobby today were used on this line, possibly as later replacements for the original insulators (most likely EC&Ms, which have also been found on this line).

It is said that the cobalts were also used on a line that ran through California's Mojave Desert. I am only aware of pieces that were found on this line. Any others found elsewhere?

The cobalt examples are found in two primary shades: deep, nearly royal cobalt; and a lighter shade that passes light fairly well. Most suffer from some degree of chipping or flaking of the wire groove flutes.

The aqua CD 130.1 Cal Elec Works are very rare. Can someone provide any further information on these? Where they were used or found?

These brief comments on the Insulator of the Week are not intended to be complete and are presented to encourage discussion and additional information from ICON. Now it's your turn to share info and/or post a photo of your CD 130.1!




James Doty commented on Sun, 22 Jun 2008

Jack Roach commented on Sun, 22 Jun 2008

I have posted a picture of the CD130.1 in the article about the Ridge Telephone Company at PicturePoster #218739752. The article is at [1]. The insulator had a chip in the rear and has since been repaired.

Paul Greaves commented on Sun, 22 Jun 2008

I have to take exception to the caption that states that one photo is of a place where the Ridge telephone line crossed the first transcontinental phone line... the route of the Ridge line was nowhere near the route of the transcontinental! Other than that it's a great story! But uncorrected misinformation has a way of propagating, so I had to say something. I suspect the truth may be that it was indeed a Bell Telephone line that the Ridge line was crossing, perhaps even installed as a local connection when the transcontinental line went in.

A couple related notes concerning the CD130.1 insulator of the week: They have indeed been found in other places besides the Ridge line. One came from the small town of Volcano, Ca. I have also heard of a few coming from the Santa Cruz area, but I haven't been able to verify it. And I do have a broken one from southern California. The finder said he found it along a railroad, along with many broken aqua CD130's. He searched high and low for another cobalt, but found none. (If anyone has a broken one with a good dome that I can use for repairing mine, please contact me!)

I have heard of two places that aqua CD130.1s were used. One is on a line to a sawmill near Truckee, Ca. and the other was on a line near Fort Jones in northern California. Neither seems to be a good prospect for finding more, but you never know for sure...

James Doty commented on Mon, 23 Jun 2008

From my collection on the web Ridge Telephone message

Gary Kline commented on Mon, 23 Jun 2008

Interesting. I have never heard that until now. Never saw one that looked suspicious. Of course they are not my specialty. Over the course of the years and in your collecting have you found the early cautions to be warranted? Did you ever see one that gave you pause or that you knew was 'questionable'? I did have one that had the original swing wire but regretfully parted with it years ago.

Bill Meier commented on Mon, 23 Jun 2008

This statement has been corrected to reflect Paul's knowledge. [2]

Andrew Gibson commented on Wed, 25 Jun 2008

In 1877, the California Electric Power Company, EC&M, and the Pacific Electro-Depositing Works were bought and re-organized as the California Electrical Works (see [3] ). In 1892, they became the west coast agents for Western Electric Company, and in 1908 they became known as Western Electric Company (see McD's volume 1).

I would imagine that when they became agents for the Western Electric Company in 1892, they would have started selling their goods -- and that perhaps they would have stopped selling insulators with the CEW or CAL ELEC WORKS marks. It seems possible that these insulators, then, would have been made sometime between 1877 and 1892, and certainly no later than 1908

Do we have any idea what company actually manufactured the CEW insulators? Do we suspect it's the same company that made the EC&M insulators?

Bob Stahr commented on Wed, 25 Jun 2008

Here's a Newspaper article about CEW's incorporation:

Daily Evening Bulletin

San Francisco, CA

Tuesday, June 26, 1877 vol. 44, no. 68, p. 3, col. 5

The California Electrical Works has filed its articles of incorporation. Object, to engage in and carry on the business of manufacturing and dealing in telegraphic and electrical machinery, apparatus, etc., constructing and maintaining telegraphic lines, etc. Directors: George S. Ladd, Dr. Corneilus Herz, James Gamble, Russell J. Wilson and James T. Boyd. Capital stock $500,000. The officers of the Company are: George S. Ladd, President; Dr. Cornelius Herz, Vice President; Joseph Herz, General Manager.

The company that made EC&M's has been documented. It's not certain who made the CEW's except for the CD 130.2 with the 1871 Hemingray patent date on it.

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