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CD 206 - Insulator of the Week on Wed 17 Dec 2008



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Embossing Types & Colors: No embossing. There are three primary colors: light green; light blue; and off-clear. The light green examples are pretty uniform in color, having very little deviation, if any, in shade variances. The light blues can vary somewhat in shade, as can the off-clears, with some leaning toward straw. There is a listing for light aqua, but I do not recall ever seeing one (could be someone's interpretation of light blue?).

Additional Comments:

Most (if not all) of the castle insulators were manufactured by the McLaughlin Glass Co. There are two "turret" variations found on the off-clear castles. One exhibits the standard squared turrets, like those found on the light blues and greens; the other is a more rounded, edgeless turret. It is speculated by some that the rounded turret variant might have been manufactured by Maydwell (Crystalite Products) after they acquired McLaughlin's molds. The rounded turrets may have been a design improvement over the damage prone sharp turrets. The purpose of the turrets was to allow for a top tie at any position once the insulator was tightened down on the pin. It appears from all reports that the light blue and off-clear castles were found exclusively in Hawaii. It has also been reported that 800-900 total were gathered from the lines there, with both colors being about equal in number. The light greens appear to have been used very sparsely in Hawaii. The vast majority of light green castles were used in California on a Kern Mutual Tel Co fence post line running from Maricopa to Bakersfield. The light green castles on this line suffered frequent damage, making it difficult today for collectors to acquire mint ones. These brief comments on the Insulator of the Week are not intended to be complete and are presented to stimulate and encourage discussion and additional information from ICON. Now it's your turn to share info and/or post a photo of your favorite CD 206s!




Colin Jung commented on Thu, 18 Dec 2008

The stories about the castles are even better than the insulators.

About 8 years ago at the Mountain View’ CA show’ a Taft’ CA-area collector told us about castle-hunting in Taft during the 70's (?). He and his dad would go out into the oil fields and look for the half buried telephone wire which they would pull up with the castle insulators still attached. Paul Greaves can you verify my recollection? You were there; you bought his lot of insulators.

The Hawaiian castles were discovered by a Hawaiian insulator collector who gathered a few for sale or trade. He never bothered removing many’ figuring his geography and the undisclosed location made his source safe from other collectors. Part of the hobby lore was that an enterprising mainland collector paid someone in Hawaii and the castle line disappeared very quickly. There has never been very many castles in hobby circulation despite the reported numbers (800-900)’ so the story goes that the collector who acquire them has been dribbling them out slowly and many still reside in a Chicago-area basement. Truth or fiction?

Robin Harrison commented on Thu, 18 Dec 2008

Dwayne says about the "rounded turret" variant: "It is speculated by some that the rounded turret variant might have been manufactured by Maydwell (Crystalite Products) after they acquired McLaughlin's molds.". I have always felt that this is true. The other two supporting details are the color (clear to straw) are standard Maydwell colors, and unusual for McLaughlin and the fact that many (including mine) have an odd "grid pattern" on the base as if the semisoft, cooling insulator was set on a metal grid to cool, leaving marks on the base of the insulator, sometimes with faint, dark residue. This feature is also seen on some Maydwell 20s in the same colors. I have not seen nor heard documented a McLaughlin (or any other manufacturer) with this feature. The square turret straw Castle is still unattributable, they seem scarcer and I've never seen one with the grid marks, but have only examined one or two so the sample size is too small to make an attribution. The assumption would be that these might be the first production with Maydwell glass, but before they made the "improvement" to the mold.

John McDougald commented on Thu, 18 Dec 2008

The truth is that Paul McManus, formerly of St. Paul, MN, was the one who negotiated the removal of those insulators from Hawaii. And back in the 70's, they were readily available for purchase. In fact, if you go back to some old CJ issues about that time, I think you could find some ads with Paul selling them for $500/dozen. I know that was what he sold them for at the Berea, OH National we hosted in 1976. He had hundreds there, and most of them were gone by the end of the show. Mickey Dutcher and I went up to St. Paul to buy Paul's sales stock, I think in the early 80's, and there were less than a dozen left. I would be very surprised if there is a cache of them anywhere.

Paul Greaves commented on Thu, 18 Dec 2008

I don't think it was me; I certainly have never bought any quantity of castles! (I don't remember the oil field story either.)

Mary Randi commented on Thu, 18 Dec 2008

wow it really does look like a castle. Including the ones you play in chess.

Bill Meier commented on Thu, 18 Dec 2008

Within the hobby, that's how many of the nicknames came about. Because of their similarity with other familiar items.

Browse through this glossary

and see the nicknames, they are the ones in quotes. Some of the nicknames reflect some of the embossing on the insulator, and aren't as clever as Castle, Mickey Mouse, Frog Eyes, Pluto, Spaceman, Tea pot, etc.

Steve Roberts commented on Fri, 19 Dec 2008

Two years ago while in Hawaii, I visited with a collector who told me many stories about finding castles. He related to me that he traded or sold all of them to collectors on the mainland. Additionally, he had a photo album full of pictures taken years ago showing his entire family conducting insulator hunts, and many of the castles that they found. There was one picture of about a dozen that were found in the vegetation at the base of a pole. He said that in a period of a couple of years he found in excess of a hundred.

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