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CD 200 - Insulator of the Week on Thu, 27 Dec 2007



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California: Probably the most popular embossing for this CD style. Found in shades of purple, peach and purple/peach two-tone; rarely found in yellow. I only know of one specimen in yellow--any others out there? The deep purple/burgundy examples are scarce and highly sought after. I know of a small group of purples that came out of the Watts area of Los Angeles, CA. There are several other areas of origin, anyone care to share?

No 2 Transposition: These are found with a standard smooth base, but also come in a rare SDP version. A count back in the early 1990s put the SDP examples at 3 known. I recall seeing two SDP's in aqua to green aqua and a third with nice amber swirls. Are there more than three known now? The smooth base examples can be found in shades of aqua, green and amber swirled. An olive green is listed, but I have not seen a true olive green (anyone have one?). I have no data on where any of the No 2 Transpositions have been found, so please share.

Star: Embossed only with a star symbol on the skirt. Colors range from shades of aqua, blue, green to yellow green. The stronger shade of yellow green is quite scarce. Please share areas of usage for any of the star "tramps" [slang term for any transposition style].

As with all future IOTW postings, these are only my brief comments and opinions and are presented to generate discussion and hopefully more interesting information from all of ICON (and yes, even corrections). If I research and provide all information there would be little need for your interaction. YOUR participation is the goal, whether it be the sharing of locations of usage, known manufacturers or distributors, patent info, photos of your favorites from your collection, etc.

Doing a quick search in the ICON picture poster, I found the following photos to be of good general interest for this CD:

Grouping of CD 200 insulators
Grouping of CD 200 insulators

Now it's your turn to share info and/or photos of your favorite CD 200s!




Andrew Gibson commented on Fri, 28 Dec 2007

The thing that really interests me the most is trying to figure out the history of these pieces. When were the CD 200s made? Given that they were made by California (1912-1916), STAR (1900ish to 1910ish?), and NO NAME (No 2 Transposition), the unknown quantity there appears to be the NO NAME variety, Do we have any idea who made the NO 2 TRANSPOSITIONs? Was it Brookfield? If it was Brookfield, then one could assume that the SDP versions were made sometime after 1910 when the Hemingray drip point patent expired.

Given all that, it appears likely the CD 200 was made in the 1900-1915 time range, but that's mostly supposition on my part. Does anyone have more concrete information on the dates of manufacture and who made them?

Brent Burger commented on Sat, 29 Dec 2007

I think your timeline is pretty much spot on.

Those no name "No.2 Transposition" units are clearly Brookfield and date to after the 1908 changeover we have spoken so much of regarding silica sourcing. I have never seen one of these in a lighter (pre-1908) light aqua, nor have I seen an olive or amber leaning one, or one of those very late production blue dudes with the mass of snowflakes. One of these might expand the Brookfield timeline.

While I have no specific information, evidence we do have suggests that an industry change was occurring at this time as it related to these styles. The Star marked units (made by the Elmer firms) were clearly the earliest 200's made. If you line up a Star, a BF unit, and a California, the Star and California have a similarly narrow "trunk" just below the umbrella. The BF unit looks "chubby" by comparison. I have wondered that since BF ended up with the GE contract to make Star marked insulators when Elmer fizzled - and they ended up with at least some of the moulds, why did they not retool the Star 200 moulds to read "Brookfield" ? For that matter, why didn't they put their name on them at all ? Was it because they were jobbing the bulk of them through GE or other distributors ? Since BF took over the GE contract to job insulators some time around 1910, it seems GE had lost interest in having their mark on each piece of glass - as y! ou will note from the relatively small percentage of Stars found bearing BF characteristics. It appears GE just kinda dropped that concern and took available stock. I have a Fobes catalogue that states "We NOW carry a full line of Hemingray insulators". What did they carry before that announcment ? Same question for GE circa 1914 or so.

As another point to ponder, ..... Hemingray decided they would offer a one piece tramp in the shape of a 201 in the early days, later morphing it into a 202(?). California is the oddball that made BOTH. But the careful study will note that all California 200's are sca (or some variation of a color-altered flint glass), indicative of being early production, while all known 201's are green-aqua-blue, ... indicative of being late production. It seems California jumped to the 201 design somewhere mid-stream. The California specialist will note that a number of styles got changed like this, and that the colors changed at the same time. Also note that "C.G.I.Co." got dropped in favor of "California" spelled out on the 102. One might deduce this occured when the name changed upon the 1914 reorganization, as the company name went from "California Glass Insulator Co." to "California Glass Works" and therefore the embossing no lo! nger was accurate. Remember, California was fighting an uphill battle for their life. They could not get large buyers like AT&T to do contract work, and were relegated to the open market to sell their wares. Having the wrong name on your wares would be unacceptable in that business climate. California never did turn a profit. They went down fighting with the 1916 flood that buried them. I think this speaks volumes for the environment they were operating from, and while this seems to be getting off subject, I would submit the 200 California was no longer offered after stocks were sold that had been made prior to the 1914 re-org and subsequent orders were filled with the new 201. Obviously, neither were a high demand item for California.

On the subject of usage ....

By the time I was climbing poles and noting what I was looking at, the only one piece tramps I ever saw with a wire on them were not in service as part of a transposition - just regular insulators. The various pins / brackets designed for tramping had taken them out of service for their original intended purposes. That is IF I exclude CD 197's and 203's. I did find an occasional 2-piece tramp in service as intended, but can't recall ever finding an old style one-piece dude with two wires on it. Too many years of declared obsolescense and routine maintenance had wiped them off the polescape. I did find them in lots of insulators taken down by phone men and signal maintenance guys working for municipalities. I heard a story of a California being found on a rooftop of a downtown Seattle building eons ago. I heard many stories of them being found on lines in the Sierra foothills. The Stars and BF units were found all over. So! me old dog linemen on this list ought to be able to tell us more about actually seeing them in use. I may have started this a long time ago, but I was just a kid looking up from the ground at sparkly glass things. I had no knowledge like a professional lineman at that age.

David Fountain commented on Fri, 28 Dec 2007

For the Insulator of the week, you have picked one of my favorites (as if I could pick one favorite). I have added my only 200 in the Insulators with Junk album. I got this insulator from someone here on ICON. Sorry, I just cant remember who. Love those stretchy bubbles and looks great at full view. Thanks Bill for making that available. Enjoy:

Full view: PicturePoster #203439122

Junk under umbrella: PicturePoster #203439244

By the way... are there plans for making an insulator of the week album in the picture poster?

Colin Jung commented on Fri, 28 Dec 2007

Other known locations: fire alarm circuits in Santa Monica, CA and Santa Clara, CA.

I have purchased two dark purple pairs of these insulators. The first pair came off Ebay from a southern California bottle collector/dealer. I kept one, the other went to Ian Macky. Ian's 200 is totally mint, not even a cooling fracture in his. The other pair came from a retired PG&E lineman who picked them from a pole in Santa Clara, CA in the early 1970s. I kept one and the other went to David Brown who sold it to Bob Gendron who I heard sold his collection to Dwayne Anthony. Jack Foote purchased a pair recently at an antique mall, so I guess that is how they were installed -- in pairs.

Peter Beshara commented on Fri, 28 Dec 2007

Over the last several years I have seen about 12 of the CD 200's. These have been in eastern Ontario and western Quebec. Canada A few were (010) No 2 Transposition in aqua shades. Stars seem more often found. I have sold 3 of them. The last being just sold. See link. It had the Elmer ring, see post in link.

Bob Loftus commented on Sat, 29 Dec 2007

I'm just a little more curious about the 2 Cal CD 200's that changed hands in Santa Clara, Ca in the early 70's...1 mint and the other near mint. I sent 2 collectors to see a lineman named Von that worked for Santa Clara Municipal Utilities (one of the few cities in the Bay Area that wasn't covered by PG&E) I believe they paid $75 and $50 for the pair....toooo expensive for me at the time! Von also had boxes of mint purple Cal signals for $5...or 3 for $12 Could this be the same transaction?

A nice CD 200 with great amber swirls

Bill Vincent commented on Sat, 29 Dec 2007

The CD 200 is one of my favorite styles and little was known till this topic came up for discussion. This is why I love ICON, for this great historical information. Here are the links to the CD 200 [010] NO. 2 TRANSPOSITION that I have in my collection. Enjoy the photos and as always Happy Collecting.

Bob Berry commented on Sat, 29 Dec 2007

There is a porcelain insulator similar to CD 200:

Claude Wambold commented on Sat, 29 Dec 2007

All of the ones that I found were on the Lehigh and New England Railroad. It was abandoned in 1972 and I walked miles and miles of the grade looking for insulators and tie date nails. All of the ones that I found were aqua. They also used CD202 No. 14 and No. 51 with blotouts. Some of these were Emerald Green and Yellow Green, never found any 2 piece Tramps on this line. This is the only line that I personally found CD200's on.

Andrew Gibson commented on Sun, 30 Dec 2007

In regards to the CD 200 NO 2 TRANSPOSITION, I pulled out my 1912 Brookfield catalog, and found this insulator listed there. It is listed as No 52 (Old Number 2). If Brookfield started making these after 1908, perhaps even after 1910 if that's when Brookfield took over the GE contract, then the NO 2 designation didn't have very long to become "old" as the catalog indicates. And there are no units with the NO 52 designation either, so one wonders if they continued using the NO 2 designation in spite of changing the number to 52, or if perhaps they stopped selling them sometime around then.

Colin Jung commented on Sun, 30 Dec 2007

They are two different transactions, two different pairs of California CD200's.

Mine came from Vince Perriandre Sr., a PG&E lineman, who took them down from a Santa Clara City pole at the request of his supervisor Louis Musante, a long-time lineman and Bay Area insulator collector. I made this contact through his son Vince Perriandre Jr., who was a lineman doing some work across from my place of employment in 2005. I handed him a San Jose NIA National flyer and asked if he had any insulators. He didn't, but his dad had quite a few. Junior ends up taking Senior to the National, and Senior sees my "Insulators Wanted" poster with a photo of a pair of California CD200's. Senior says, "I have a pair of those too." He ends up taking my collector's card, along with everyone elses. About a year later I get a call from Dave Brown of Exeter asking me to confirm a contact/story about an old lineman from San Jose with two California tramps. So why does Vince Sr. call Dave who lives 300 miles away, instead of me who lives about 10 miles away? Dave apparently has the most honest-looking face of all the dealers, according to Vince Sr. Dave and I ended up partnering on the deal which took another 6 months to consummate. There is a lot more to the story and I'll get you the details when we see each other again. I made the Musante-Perriandre connection when I casually remarked to Lou at a Mountain View Show that I ran into his buddy Vince Sr. Lou started complaining about how Vince Sr. cheated him out of a pair of California tramps that they were suppose to split after Lou revealed their location.

Robin Harrison commented on Sun, 30 Dec 2007

I picked two dark aqua No. 2 Transpositions in 1972. I was on a post high school bicycle tour into southern Ontario. I spotted a very tall pole in Sherbrooke, Ontario with climbing pegs in place. On top was a four pin crossarm; on each side was a No. 2 Transposition and a NN MLOD green pony. I traded the extra tramp on my way back home to a bottle shop (remember those?!!...sold primarily antique bottles and other miscellaneous stuff) in Southern Vermont. I traded for several insulators and had run out of room on my bike, so asked the owner to hang onto my insulators until I could come up later with my folks to pick them up. I didn't get back until a year or more later and the owner had long before given up on seeing me again and had sold the insulators. He was a good guy, though, and felt bad about the whole deal, so let me pick out a generous trade of insulators again. I don't remember what I originally selected nor any ! of the glass pieces I traded for, but in the second lot was an nice light NN Lima cable that I still have in my collection and really like. The sad part of this story is that north of Sherbrooke, they were taking down the signal lines along the railroad. I picked up several 145 GNWs in dark purple, but didn't have enough room for much on my bike, so I left all but two. It sounds insane today, but at the time I was looking at hundreds of them and the supply seemed endless. I was planning to come back later with a car and pick up more; that trip never happened. If I could only go back in time......

Still have the No. 2 Transposition, MLOD 102 and a nice GNW from that trip.

Richard Wentzel commented on Mon, 31 Dec 2007

Probably no one links Whitall Tatum and CD 200, but there is a bit of a connection. Please go to the following link if you're interested:

Brent Burger commented on Tue, 01 Jan 2008

This drawing looks like the original was supposed to be a 197-ish design, but with the large "umbrella" ridge transposed with the smaller lower ridge. The red modified profile looks very much like a 197 outer profile, but but show an inner skirt (which I believe no 197's have been found with?)

Remove the umbrella from a CD 200 and it is quite a small insulator - almost pony size. A CD 197 is quite large by comparison.

Howard Simon commented on Tue, 1 Jan 2008

During this discussion of CD 200 Transposition No 2 insulators Brent B. had mentioned he never saw one of the junky blue ones. Here are the links in the "Insulators with Junk" folder.

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