1986 >> February >> Diamond Glass Company 102s  

Diamond Glass Company 102's
by Morgan Davis

Reprinted from "Crown Jewels of the Wire", February 1986, page 20

I began collecting insulators when a couple of common pieces caught my eye at a garage sale. I picked up a clear Pyrex and a Dominion-42 for 25 cents each and soon began hunting for glass. When I had accumulated 35 or so pieces, I figured that I must have had just about every type made. Was I in for a shock!

I found a reference in an antique magazine to "The Glass Insulator -- A Comprehensive Reference" and ordered it. Well sir, that opened up a whole new world for me. So I figured right quick that I had better specialize. Among the insulators I had at that point were a few CD 102 Diamond ponies. These particular insulators really appealed to me. The glass seemed very old and crude, the embossings also varied greatly, and they were compact. (I live in a very small apartment!)

Soon after my decision to specialize in Diamond ponies, I was working in London, Ontario. I am a musician and traveling from town to town gives me lots of time to go huntin' during the daytime. I was cruising the surrounding countryside for antique and junk stores and came upon a small out of the way shop. The couple who ran it was in their 70's and had amassed a fantastic museum quality collection of tin and wood primitives. I spent over three hours taking the "tour" of their collection. (Time flies when you're having fun!) The highlight of my day came when, after inquiring about insulators, the owner directed me to a couple of large boxes filled with glass telephone insulators he had picked up from lines downed in storms. To my delight, most of them were CD 102 Diamonds! I had a ball going through them, and for $1 each I added 30 different Diamond ponies to my few pieces back home. I was one happy boy! Most were what I now know as the common colors, but they were all in VNM or better condition. That lot of glass was the foundation of my present collection. I did, however, find a few gems in that bunch, such as: a teal blue with amber swirls; a nice light, bright olive tone; and a couple of the crudest blackglass pieces I've seen. One has the appearance of elephant skin, all folded and wrinkled. The other has a very crude, lopsided on front and back.

By now I was bit bad! Like they say, he might get better...but he'll never get well!

At this time I have over 80 color/embossing variations of the single CD 102, as well as 7 front and back varieties and over 20 and types. Along with the many styles of embossing (I have over 40 varieties), some of these insulators have mold numbers on the back lower skirt and on top of the dome. (I have found 18 different ones). There's a lifetime of searching cut out for the serious CD 102 Diamond collector. As you can see, the possibilities are endless!

In this article I will attempt to classify just the single CD 102 into the mold styles I have so far encountered. This is by no means definitive, as I have only collected for three years. Any help, information or additions are encouraged.

First, a little history. The Diamond pony was what I call the "second wave" of insulators in Canada's telephone line development that were used by many independent telephone companies as well as the Bell Telephone Company of Canada. Since they were all made in a three-piece mold, that would date them no earlier than 1890 when the three-piece mold was developed. (Thanks, Eric Halpin!) The earliest phone insulators in Canada were made in a two-piece mold, and several varieties of unembossed, MLOD ponies were used from 1878 to 1890. Their manufacturer remains a mystery, except for one variety with a curved under base which has been attributed to the Hamilton Glass Company. This makes sense to me, as the base style is very similar to the CD 162 Hamilton Glass insulator. Also, the time period fits as Hamilton Glass was in operation from 1865 to 1895.

But let's get back to the Diamond pony! They were manufactured by the Diamond Glass Company originally of Montreal, Quebec at DeMontiguy and Parthenais Streets. In 1901 it became the Diamond Flint Glass Company and branched to Toronto, Ontario, as well. In 1913, Diamond was amalgamated into the giant Dominion Glass Company (which bought smaller glass houses all over Canada -- a Wallaceburg and Sydenham Glass were among those purchased). It's my feeling that the pre-1913 CD 102s manufactured by Diamond were what I classify as Mold Styles I, II, and III. After the Dominion takeover, I believe that these molds were discarded and Mold IV replaced them. The uniformity of glass color also indicates the standardization that took place, and the use of selenium to get that typical Dominion straw color leads me to believe that Mold IV can be dated around 1913 to 1917. These Mold IV ponies, though markedly different in design, were still embossed with only a single . In 1928 the trademark was adopted and the CD 106 pony had replaced the CD 102. My guess is that the CD 102 , with a single diamond only (with a few exceptions), were made from 1890 to 1913, a space of only 23 years.

I have listed the four mold styles and their identifying characteristics. Also listed are the most common colors in which they appear. I hope this guide will give assistance to many collectors. I have also compiled a list of all the color shades I have accumulated so far. Needless to say, naming colors is very arbitrary, so the shades listed are relative only to this insulator family. Along with the colors listed, amber swirls are quite common in CD 102 , especially in the teal shades which are beautiful insulators!


Characteristics Colors
Mold I Round dome Dark olive
Gentle wire groove ridge Blackglass ambers
Crude , crude glass Pale green aqua


Characteristics Colors
Mold II Flat-sided dome, short and "squat" Dark greens and olives
Sharper wire groove ridge embossed lower on skirt, lines often run off the embossing ( )
Creased, rippled, folded glass


Characteristics Colors
Mold III Large "umbrella" or "mushroom" dome Light greens and blues
Pronounced rounded base (not always)
Uniform, smaller
Smooth, slick glass



Characteristics Colors
Mold IV Small dome Straw
Small, sharp wire groove ridge
High skirt
Uniform , smooth glass

Note: Photos for this article were provided by John LaRoque.



Olive amber


Red amber


Yellow amber


Brown amber




Pale Green - 2 shades


Lime - 4 shades




Mint green


Olive - 7 shades


Dark green - 3 shades


Forest green


Kelly green


7-up green


Emerald green - 2 shades


"Teal" green




Lemon yellow






Pale Blue


Sky blue


Deep sky blue


Turquoise blue


Turquoise green


Teal blue


Midnight blue


Light "honey" amber


Bright gold-brown


Bright reddish-brown


Olive amber




Pale S.C.A.


Light S.C.A.


Medium S.C.A.


Dark S.C.A.


Medium Purple

I know of no other insulator with a single embossing (a single) style which appears in as many mold styles and in such a wide range of beautiful colors. With the help of you collectors out there, I hope to submit further articles on mold numbers and colors, as well as mold variations (drips, etc.).

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