I will be bringing a large assemblage of glass insulators to the flea tomorrow.They will be priced at an affordable $5 each. I love the color and shape variations of these early 20th C beauties.
Glass insulators were first produced in the 1840s to insulate telegraph lines from lightning strikes. To contain electricity you need an insulator. As technology and industry advanced, they were needed to protect telephone and power lines as well.
insulator companies were making glass pieces they used
whatever glass was available
to them at the time. Many companies also made alot of other glass
products such as bottles, fruit
jars, and oil
lamps. They would use whatever glass was left over from the
other lines and mix it all together. In
doing so, they would come up with
different colors and textures. This miscellaneous glass was called cullet
and sometimes objects would
end up getting mixed in by
accident such as furnace brick pieces, coins, nuts, nails, paper clips, etc
and become embedded into
Production of insulators ended around the 1960s. Most lines are buried these days and the exposed lines tend to use brown ceramic insulators. Many people collect rare and unusual insulators. Others just like to put them in a bright window and appreciate their colors and forms.
You can read more about insulators here