1987 >> November >> Ask Woody  

Ask Woody

Reprinted from "Crown Jewels of the Wire", November 1987, page 28

I am most grateful to Mr. N. R. Woodward, Houston, Texas, for his willingness to answer reader's questions. Mr. Woodward is the author of The Glass Insulator in America and developed the Consolidated Design Numbers identification system for glass insulators.

Question: What, if anything, can you tell about the age of an insulator from the patent date? (Ed Haas, Omaha, Nebraska)

ANSWER: Patent dates are of only limited value in determining the date an insulator was actually produced. The only thing certain is that it was manufactured after the latest patent date shown thereon. Normally molds were not engraved with the patent date after the patent had expired. That could vary depending on whether a renewal was granted. And, too, there would be no reason why the mold shop would rush to remove the date from existing molds when it expired. In most cases, the molds were probably used until they wore out without going to the expense of removing dates that referred to the expired patents.

Question: I would like to know if you have ever heard of the following Hemingray-20 misprint:


Both the "E"s in Hemingray and Made are missing the middle bar. (Jack O'Neal, Middle Island, New York)

ANSWER: I have no record of ever having seen the HEMINGRAY-20 with the two unfinished "E"s. You did not specify the time period involved; but for a popular style like the 20, they had several hundred molds throughout the years it was made. In engraving all of those molds, parts of letters, or even entire letters, were occasionally left off. In the case of the missing bar in the E, it could easily have been added later, so perhaps that "error" existed during one production run only.

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