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CD 260 - Insulator of the Week on Thur, 10 Jan 2008


"Roman Helmet"

Related Patents

Utility Patent 430,296 issued to Samuel Oakman on June 17, 1890


Cable: Found in shades of aqua and green. These are much more difficult to find compared to the CD 259 Cables (CD 260s have inner skirts; CD 259s do not).

California: Sage green is the most common color. The true light/medium green shade is very rare. The purple and yellows are scarce, but obtainable. Two-tones exist, some with a mix of purple and yellow and/or peach, some may also include patches of sage green. Most of the yellows have come from locations where they were used inside of buildings and protected areas, preventing them from turning purple from UV sunlight exposure. A "pinch eared" variant is found in aqua to green aqua and considered scarce. CD 260 Cals in general have been found from San Diego to the northern border of California. Any other locations?

Hawley: Found in aqua and once thought to be very rare on the collector circuit. Several have been introduced to the hobby over the last few years, so they are now considered scarce rather than rare. However, examples in VNM to mint condition can still be considered quite rare, since a good number of the known specimens suffer some form of damage or repair. A few are known to contain milk impurities. Anyone care to share any known locations of usage?

Star: Found with and without the June 17 1890 patent date. Those without the date are only found in aqua shades; those with the date have been found in shades of aqua and green, including a gorgeous deep yellow green. Some of the aqua and light/medium green shades can be found with snow. Any known locations of usage?

No Embossing: Only found in aqua and quite scarce.

A quick search of the ICON picture poster found the following photos to be of good general interest for the CD 260:

These brief comments on the Insulator of the Week are presented to generate discussion and additional information from ICON. Now it's your turn to share info and/or photos of your favorite CD 260s!




Brent Burger commented on Thu, 10 Jan 2008

Purple 260 California's were found at several locations around western Washington. The No.9 minehead at Newcastle had a number of them around it. Several dozen were taken off the rooftop "sawhorses" on the Weyerhauser mill north of Everett as well.

Richard Case commented on Thu, 10 Jan 2008

There were a few star insulators found in Rockford, Ill. , located in northern Illinois, in the early 1970's in a local RR yard. The local lineman said it was the only ones he saw in all his years of service with Com Ed. A few CD 260 stars and CD 200 stars were also found in Dixon, IL. area .

Colin Jung commented on Thu, 10 Jan 2008

Regarding just the California helmets, CD 260:

The pinch -ear helmet variants have been found in at least two different locations-- recovered from an oil refinery in the Richmond, CA area. I believe that report was written up by Brent Burger in one of his California articles in CJW. Some have been found in Montana substations as told to me by Ron Yuhas.

Some California helmets, perhaps other kinds, are still being recovered from an active sawmill on the northern, northern California coast. Hearsay says that an individual associated with this find appears annually at the Canyonville Insulator/Bottle Show to auction off a few of the helmets. This is where the recent yellow helmets are coming from as they were installed under the roof of this sawmill.

Dave Hall has the best collection of California helmets that I have seen, but I hear that if you want to see something unusual go visit Duane Davenport's place.

Has anyone seen a California helmet with major foreign inclusions or amber swirling? Would love to see a photo of any that exist.

Caleb Thimell commented on Thu, 10 Jan 2008

I've met this individual at Oregon insulator shows and he has brought both Sage Green and yellow Cal Helmets for sale. He did not reveal the source (or quantities) to me personally but discussions at the shows centered around a lumber mill along the coast.

I remember a previous ICON discussion about his CAL Helmets.

John Wise commented on Thu, 10 Jan 2008

I would also like to respond to Dwayne's comments about the CD 260 Californias. I have an 8 x 10 photo I took of a pole at crossarm level. The arm was a secondary drop to houses and held 3 CD 260 Cals in sage green. I found three poles in a row, each having three of the Cals. These poles were on Santa Catalina Island, west of California. I retrieved all 9 Cals in less than an hour. The photo is in an early 1970 issue of Crown Jewels. Regards to all.

Keith Roloson commented on Fri, 11 Jan 2008

Out of curiosity, I went to the CJOW online archives but could not find the photos in 1970 Is it possible it was another year? You can do a search by year here, see left margin.

I realize that not every article or photo in the archives is reproduced from the original magazine.

I also did a search on 'John Wise' and got 3 hits, but nothing earlier than 1982.

Keith Roloson

PS - in any event, this is a FUN site to snoop around in. Great articles, great photos, great history preserved online for us all!

Denley Bryson commented on Fri, 11 Jan 2008

The Pacific Lumber Co, Lost part of the [B] mill, and the mill pond. In 1978 Gary Cook was in charge of hirering. people to work in the new plant in Scotia. They still have tours. The plant has several Cable insulators. McL,s and Cals. They are real. Denley.

Ron Jenkins commented on Fri, 11 Jan 2008

Those yellow helmets from the sawmill sounds pretty fishy to me if you know what I mean. If they were being recovered, to me, they would be recovered all at once, not just a few popping up now and then. Just something to think about.

Paul Greaves commented on Fri, 11 Jan 2008

One tidbit I can add about the Star helmets... I have a pair, one with the patent date and one without that were clearly made in the same mold. They both have the same mold defect; an oblong lump of glass on the left ear. So the dated ones were made at a later time than the "Star only" ones, the date having been added into the mold. All part of the Elmer, NJ story I suspect...

Cody Zeleny commented on Sat, 12 Jan 2008

I have found three star CD-260's. Each has the patent date on back

One in a fantastic Yellow green, and two in a super snowy blue, one which I have sold. I found them in a small antique shop in warren ohio.

PicturePoster #203962038

Robin Harrison commented on Sat, 12 Jan 2008

I have a small tidbit for the insulator of the week discussion. I bought two California aqua pinch ears from a railroad line maintainer about 6 years ago. He had the two Cals and two 259 NN Cables. He said he picked both of them a few decades ago from a railroad signal line road crossing in Montana, which is where I ran into him. He had a lot of Great Northern related stuff, so I think that was the railroad he worked on. I've learned to be very skeptical of wild stories from the field, but since most of his other insulators were railroad signal types, I felt this was a reliable report.

Bobby Foster commented on Sat, 12 Jan 2008

Reference post by Dwayne Anthony. "CABLE" Found in shades of Aqua and Green. These are much more difficult to find compared to the CD 259 Cables (CD 260s have inner skirts. CD 259s do not".

Question? - Should this inference be the sole criteria, utilized in determining the difference, between the 259 and 260 ??

The 260 has a visibly wider saddle groove than the 259 ? The 260 is shorter than the 259? The 260 has a flat lower ear, while the 259 has distinctive ear lobes? The total span from ear to ear is greater on the 259, than the 260?

Given, quality control standards, during production years, was most often considered lesser importance than numbers; would it be possible for a CD 260 to exist without an inner skirt? Is it possible for a 260, minus the inner skirt, resulting from an under-pour to exist? As Mark Lauckner points out in his excellent article on glass molding; the existence of a true under-pour are rare. However, should it occur, it would be in the skirt area, or inner skirt, as a result of temperature changes. Could it not also result, from trapped air/gas in the inner skirt, preventing glass entry and no vent holes?

Who manufactured the Cable CD 260; Hemingray? / Brookfield?

Would it have been possible to mix the base mold of a 259 with components of the 260?

What would you call a Cable, with all descriptive properties of the CD 260, but has no skirt, partial skirt or deformed pinhole area with swirled glass?

Insulator manufacturing and collecting is somewhat less than an exact science; and those things we sometimes hold as self-evident, are not always true.

James Doty commented on Sun, 13 Jan 2008

Here are 6 CD 260's Cals, Star and Hawley [ ]

Steve Blair commented on Sun, 13 Jan 2008

My story on cd#260goes like this. In early 70's Lois and I went to a flee mkt. about 45 mi. from home. At this mkt. a guy had several star 260's for $25 each. I was a starving phone man and that was a days pay. WE decided no and went home. The next month came around and we had saved up for our prize,stars were my passion at the time. We found the guy you guess it he had sold them all except a damaged one. We talked for a while and he told us that they were found in a construction site in Columbus O. He sold us the damaged one for $5. It is the pattern for my Mid-Ohio Mini's.

Terry Drollinger commented on Sun, 13 Jan 2008

Just a few pictures to help tell the story of the CD 260 Cals that showed up at the Canyonville Oregon Show. In 2003 maybe earlier, they started to show up at the show. PicturePoster #72412145

In 2005 maybe the last two yellow ones walked into the show? PicturePoster #134767266

This is the one I was lucky to buy. PicturePoster #135048880

On the way home from the show, I took a rest stop and snapped a few pictures of my favorite insulator. This was my first Insulator picture to make the Crown Jewels magazine. PicturePoster #134697661

Bill Harrison commented on 14 Jan 2008

I bought the one from Cliff that Terry refers to and it had remnants of white wash as well.The next year I bought a second one and it had no whitewash at all. I still have the one and it is nearly mint. In response to Bobby Fosters questions of yesterday. Width of saddle - I have 259 cables both wider and narrower than the 260 Cable.The same goes with the height.As for the ear lobes I see very little difference on the cables but the Cals are definitely angled up. One thing I did notice is the cable groove is not centered in any of the 20 or so Cables we have. The Cals and Stars are centered.Also the Hawley dome is very square campared to the Cals or Cables. Sorry to ramble on there is more differences.

Ron Jenkins commented on 14 Jan 2008

This picture makes me wonder why there is paint in the wire groove. Seems to me this is the only place paint shouldn`t be. Just a thought and very sceptical about those yellows from the old sawmill.

Dwayne Anthony commented on 14 Jan 2008

PicturePoster #134697661 Yes, paint covers the top saddle groove, so how about a side tie where the cable makes a 45 to 90 degree turn? Isn't it standard practice to side-tie in such applications? I don't see any paint in the side wire groove, so that's my best explanation.

Ron Jenkins commented on 15 Jan 2008

That is a possibility, I really would like to see pictures of the construction and the voltage. It just got me thinking when all of a sudden all these yellows recovered from the sawmill are starting to turn up when from the way it sounds, to get one out of there would be trying to escape from alcatraz. The yellow cals vary considerably in color from bright yellow to peach and I have never seen anything else that was made of glass in those weird colors like you find in other cullet used to make insulators. Maybe California used special glass. In all probability they still exist in the saw mill but so many have been home made that it puts them in the same catagory as the carnivals and its really a shame .

Caleb Thimell commented on 15 Jan 2008

A strange coincidence but insulators found in Colombia that are now attributed to COOVINAL production are marked TELECOM and have been found and recovered in this same strange patterns of colors- everything from Smokey Amethyst to Smoke to Peach to Pale and Light Yellow to the brilliant Yellow Green! I believe its a combination of the unique sand and chemical compositions of the cullet used in making them. I've also seen them in service in these colors. The main difference here is that the Yellows I located were sometimes (but not always) protected by trees, roofs, etc. And I don't recall any of them being as bright or rich of a Yellow as say a 154 Dominion.

Bill Meier commented on 15 Jan 2008 20:31:18 -0500

Is this related? Those that get less light tend to be more on the yellow side, rather than being a darker difference color? Cals in the sun vs. Cals inside a building?

Mike Shelley commented on 15 Jan 2008 20:39:56 -0500

Possible reason why the painted insulator is the way it is:

PicturePoster #205016858

Terry Drollinger commented on 15 Jan 2008

I and several other collectors have seen the yellow Cals and examined them, they are a real yellow. The paint is off the wire groove area, it looks like the wire was wrapped around the sides and not in the saddle. These were hanging saddle down inside the plant. Denly Bryson worked at this location in 1977 he saw the painted Cals. hanging in the top of the plant.

Colin Jung commented on Wed, 16 Jan 2008

One more word on the yellow Cal helmets. The Pacific Lumber Mill is not the first discovery of such. If you go back thru the CJW issues, you will find an article written by Marvin Collins, an early pioneer in California insulator collecting. He recounts his personal efforts involved in recovering yellow California helmets from inside lumber mill buildings. At the time he lived in Eureka, CA. Several years back I wrote a letter to the CJ editor retelling a story from Richard Musante about purchasing from a scrounger a hoard of Cal helmets covered in cement, some of which were yellow underneath.

Larry Volmer commented on Wed, 16 Jan 2008

I have removed thousands of insulators from the sides of buildings, backs of houses and inside buildings. Most if not almost all of them were covered with paint. When painting the area around insulators it was common to paint them also to make them look like the rest of the building. It was common on house deadends to wrap the copper weather proof wire twice around the insulator if not three times. Even though the wire grove had wire around it when the paint went on it ran under the wire and soaked in to the weatherproof insulation. So it would not be at all strange to find paint any where on the insulator including inside.

Larry Volmer commented on Wed, 16 Jan 2008

I have a concern that needs to be addressed about the post I left pertaining to paint on insulators. A reply to me said that maybe the paint was the reason there were so many two tone WGM insulators and we need to put a stop to this thought. I have promised several folks in the hobby the whole story about the KILN heated Denver's and I need to fullfill my promise. There are around 15 of us old Denver Lineman and a couple of others who don't live here any more that will back up the story that never was one of the KILN heated colors ever taken off a pole or building or if it was found under an old telephone line or in the air it was planted there. but this will all come out in the Denver Kilned glass history letter. Back to the painted on the backs of houses or buildings. If the insulator was exposed to the sun and was of the type that would turn purple it would. It probably turned before the house paintings covered it up, but paint on an insulator will not stop it from turning if it gets direct sun. The one's and I'll use WGM for an example that were mounted on a house or building that never saw the sun would still turn color purple based on the reflections from adjoining building. But we took down a lot of clear to clear grey WGM's that were painted and on the side that never saw the sun. I have some of these and also a few that have been dug that were lost and buried before they were ever used and remained as they were made, clear. Among other things that went into the batches of glass was Manganese and it was suppose to keep the glass clear for one thing. The POOR quality of the Denver glass plants production lead to it's demise for sure. The clear WGM off the house would turn! purple if placed in the sun we saw this many times. So paint on Denver glass did not lead to two tone WGM's there phoney as the day is long.

Ron Jenkins commented on Wed, 16 Jan 2008

I wasn`t going to say anthing more about the insulator of the week but I do have two questions. Has anyone actually took a yellow cal and put it in the sun to see if it turns purple and has anyone out there took a purple call and turned it yellow. and if I took my yellow 260 out in the sun, how long would it take to turn it purple?

Brent Burger commented on Thu, 17 Jan 2008

In the late 1970's, I took 10 yellow Cal 152's off the UP line coming into Portland. These were the greener leaning "chartreuse" kind of yellow. They were in full exposure to all elements.

I took a yellow-smoke PT CGICo off a line south of me that also had full sun exposure. As far as I know, Carl Scott still has this piece.

The two yellow CGICo's in my collection today came to me from non-collectors who simply had them amongst bunches of dirty insulators, just as they had been found and tossed into buckets, etc. Interestingly, the more bright yellow one has a chunk of metal in the dome with a small potstone kind of fracture around it. I am suspicious that any sort of radical heating of this piece would surely have resulted in that little "star" fracture expanding into more serious damage. The other one I have is two-toned, with a part of the skirt being peachy-pink in an otherwise yellow insulator.

The brighter yellow of my two spent two years sitting in my window in some unscientific attempt to establish some how and why about yellows changing color. I figured a nice peach colored one was every bit as interesting as a yellow. It looks to be as yellow as ever.

As for heat altering any California, some make sense. Others decidedly do not. While a yellow 161 might very well bring far more dough than a comparable purple, a yellow helmet hardly differs in price from a purple. The risk in cooking such a piece hardly warrants no real gain in monetary value. So, what's the point ?

Personally, I see heat reversal of colors little different than a "restoration" of a piece to its original color. Taking this logic one step further, it is the purple ones that are "altered" .... albeit by a natural chemical process. But if we define altered as "being changed from how it was originally made", then purples are indeed "altered". Not that any of this matters. They is what they is. I hate to see people baking them and damaging them in the process, and I really don't like the idea of doing it for monetary gain, but there is a huge difference in my eyes between reversing a color change and irradiation that makes something that never was, or going the Souza route and just making something up in the back yard.

Ron Yuhas commented on Thu, 17 Jan 2008

Thanks Dwayne Anthony for a great topic. The CD 260 is a favorite style of mine and one of the first insulators I purchased was a sage CD 260 California. It is a style that fits into many different collecting schemes including, power, color, company, and nicely in a general collection. I have posted some photos of CD 260's that I have. The only one I know where it is from is the pinch ear California. The lineman that I got it from said they came out of Old Milwaukee Railroad substations in Western Montana. Probably the only good thing that ever came off the Milwaukee.

Dwayne Anthony commented on Thu, 17 Jan 2008

The current Insulator of the Week appears to have been a popular one. We had over 30 posts related to this week's CD 260 topic and thanks to Ron Yuhas, a nice assortment of photos were posted to top off the week's discussion. Not to take anything away from all the other informative posts, because they were all great, I'd like to place special recognition on Bill Harrison's post relating to the variances in the shapes, ears, the centering and off-centering of the cable groove, etc. When a specialist jumps in with their observations we can truly learn something. It is also a treat to hear from our long time collectors relating stories from the past! I hope we all learned a lot from each other, I know I did.

Bob Berry commented on Sat, 19 Jan 2008

I did have a little more on the CD 260 -- I added some examples to the CD pages: CD 260 Includes the relatively scarce CABLE with an inner skirt

Steve Roberts commented on Mon, 21 Jan 2008

In the early 1970's I retrieved a mint Hawley helmet from an alarm circuit that went under a pre Civil War RR overpass. The location was Nashville, TN. Unfortunately, I didn't get to keep it. At the time I was a Ma Bell lineman. My second level foreman was the one who noticed the insulator and he asked me to retrieve it for him during lunch. He was kind enough to flag traffic for me, then promptly took the insulator... with a smile. :)

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