Brookfield CD 101

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CD 101 - Insulator of the Week on Fri, 29 Feb 2008


Mushroom Top

Related Patents

The CD 101 was a later design variant derived from Tillotson's original introduction of the "pony" insulator (CD 102) that was patented by Brookfield in 1879 (patent applied for in 1878): Design Patent 10,981 issued to James Brookfield on January 14, 1879


Manufacturer: Brookfield-- Two primary embossing variants exist: "Brookfield No 9" and simply "Brookfield". Shop numbers can be found on the dome and/or skirt on some. They are found with a smooth base or sharp drip points.

CD 101 & 102 comparison: PicturePoster #133720894

Colors: Varying shades of aqua, blue and green; including yellow green, emerald green, olive green, olive amber and red amber. Some of the olive to red amber shades contain beautiful amber "tiger stripes". Some aqua examples have been found with milk swirling, with some appearing near jade-like. A few have also been seen with milky carbon bands throughout. As would be expected with Brookfield products, rocks, debris and large bubbles have also been found in CD 101s.

This CD is often found crudely made, especially the smooth base examples. My personal favorites are those found with offset domes, where the mold was not properly aligned and the domes emerged appearing as though they are at the verge of sliding off. The sharp upper wire ridge is often very sharp, making them prone to damage.

It appears Brookfield produced the CD 101 later in their insulator production period, possibly as late as the 1915-1920 period? There exists the possibility that the CD 101 was a beefier, upgraded design that was put into production as an eventual replacement for the standard CD 102 style, but that is only speculation. There is much more to the CD 101 that can be discussed here, so please join in!

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 photos of your favorite CD 101!




Brent Burger commented on Thu, 28 Feb 2008

I believe there are some dynamics that were going on at Brookfield that we will never know, but outside evidence indicates something was "up"

The CD 101 was primarily found in Canada. I can count the number of 101's I found south of the 49th on one hand, while they were all over the lines in BC and Alberta, and I know that many of the collectors in the eastern provinces were finding those razzoo colored ones back when openwire was still present.

The glass quality (or qualities) that BF was pumping out at the end is unlike anything else they ever made. It really helps date their end-run stuff. The CD 101 can be found in this type of glass, whereas any 102 just is not. I believe Dwayne's assertion that the 101 was a "newer, better" pony replacement for the 102 is correct, probably in response to other mfr's going to the CD 106 design. BF was in deep doo-doo by the late teens, refusing to comply with standards demands of the buying industry, they saw sales decline year after year, while Hemingray took ever larger shares of a shrinking market. BF's refusal to upgrade plant and product quality had them circling the proverbial "drain" by the time the really crude stuff was being made, and I suspect they had pretty much lost most of their US buyers and were selling anywhere they could and Canadian utilities were not that picky at that point in time, so most of their sales went north (or out of the country ?)

I regret that my own analytical observations about insulators were not where they are today when I was corresponding with William Brookfield in the 1970's. I would have asked more pointed questions about the company's mystifying business strategy, post 1910. It appears they just gave up, hoping for a better wind to blow. Not the best business strategy in a competitive market. I suspect any such questions would have been blown off by Mr. Brookfield, as he had a rather "sunshine and lollipops" response to my other questions about how an industry dynasty went down the toilet with hardly a fight.

Anyway, ... those badly made insulators from the end-run make for some interesting collecting today, for sure.

As most 101's were found in Canada, they have interested me little as part of my own collection. The first one I ever found was on a single with telephone line running cross country up in the Caribou country of BC. It was on a sidepin nailed to an enormous Ponderosa Pine at the top of a steep hill above the Bonaparte River. The wire had been hit by falling limb or something and broken the pin, so the insulator hung upside down with the split pin wedged in the glass so tight it took me days to nurse it out. It was a SB model in a blue color with a lot of snow in the glass. I think that was 1974.

Another one of interest is this "featherweight" example :

Title: Small Bubbles 101 PicturePoster #208789355

BF made a lot of crude and crazy glass at the end. It is a shame the market was going in the opposite direction. Had they made their 1880's glass in 1920, and their 1920 glass in the 1880's, it would have sold perfectly fine and they might have survived at least a little while longer. But they seemed to be on the ropes and doing things backwards from the moment Hemingray got a foothold on the market. William Brookfield adamantly claimed the plant fire is what did them in, never addressing the fact they put themselves in a weaker and weaker position by not upgrading their products to the emerging standards being placed on the market.

Oh well, ... it is all history now. I think these little 101's hold more evidence in what was really going on at Old Bridge than we will ever know.

Bob Stahr commented on Thu, 28 Feb 2008

Following Daniel Hemingray's death in December 1911, Hermingray hired Brookfield's salesman/vice president, Bertram Downs, as their salesman. It is interesting to note that he attended Daniel Hemingray' s funeral and just over three months later was employed by Hemingray. Brookfield discontinued bottle production in 1912 too. I agree, it seems that Brookfield gave up, maybe the Novelty/Elmer business took a toll as well.

Bill Reagan commented on Mon, 3 Mar 2008

Here is a mushroom in a nice color not seen that often PicturePoster #209148669

Peter Beshara commented on Wed, 5 Mar 2008

Not sure if I'm missing something , I have only seen 2 responces to the CD 101, IOTW. Brents info , that these were used mainly in Canada was very interesting. I don't keep US glass for myself , with the exception of 101's. They were the first insulators I ever picked up. The color variables look great on a shelf. Bubbles and underpours only add to the charm. I would love to hear of other US ins. used primarily in Canada.

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