1983 >> April >> Letters to the Editor  

Letters to the Editor

Reprinted from "INSULATORS - Crown Jewels of the Wire", April 1983, page 26

Dear Don & Dora, 

I didn't mean to let my subscription run out. So here's 18.00 for a first class subscription.

I haven't been very active in insulator collecting since I got married a little over a year ago. But I wouldn't be without C.J. of the Wire every month. I still have my EC&M collection and collections of color-shape and carnivals.

I've been wanting to write a couple articles for C.J., but just haven't had the time. Now with summer coming on, I may not get to it. 

Here's a couple invoices you may want to reprint in C.J. The originals are in my collection.

Keep up the good work with the magazine. I don't know where the hobby would be without it.
Fritz Kettenburg
Anchorage, Alaska

(Invoices are reprinted on the following two pages. Thanks.)

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For about a year now I have had an insulator in my display case that stands out from all the rest. It is a beautiful strawberry red. The color has been flashed on and is very even and well done.

The insulator is an Armstrong's No 9 Back - MADE IN U.S.A. A (in circle) 16 50.. 

I have not been able to find out if Armstrong even made any flashed insulators, more less a red one. I have felt that, up until now, the insulator was fake. 

But, as I read the sales lists in C.J. I see there are more and more flashed insulators turning up, and I am beginning to wonder about the one I have. 

I don't plan to throw away this insulator, but I would like to know if it is for real. I would appreciate any information I can get on this subject.
Fred R. Collier, Jr. 
Rt. 1 Box 418
Ruckersville, VA 22968

Dear Dora,

Throughout my eleven years of collecting insulators I had heard stories of the old telegraph line which ran through East Texas during the 1850's and 1860's. Somewhere I had heard that threadless insulators had been found buried in Galveston, Texas.

Galveston has had quite a history. It was named by the Spanish in 1785 after Count Bernardo de Galvez, Viceroy of Mexico. From 1815 to 1821 the Island was used by Buccaneer Jean Laffite as a base for his piracy operations in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1839 Galveston received its city charter. Because it was at the mouth of the Trinity River and lies near deep water, it became a fast growing port city. Then in 1900 a hurricane struck the island killing 6,000 people, one of the worst disasters of all times. Industry and commerce then moved to the town of Harrisburg, now consumed by Houston.

So being somewhat of a Texas history indulger and long time insulator collector, I decided to search for information about those early days of the Texas Telegraph. I logically started searching in Galveston. There in the City Archives I found the enclosed information on this line. It was fascinating reading and I quickly drew out a map of the Telegraph line after finding out which towns it went through. Then it suddenly hit me. I had drawn a line right through Lovelady, Texas. I remembered a young man tell me nine years ago that there was an old line of insulators that went through their family's land which was close to Lovelady. I should kick myself for not responding sooner to his lead, but like so many stories that I hear from non-insulator enthusiasts, I visioned his old line of insulators to be nothing greater than Heminray 42's.

I then bought topographical maps for the area and made several phone calls to try and locate this guy that I had not seen during the nine year period. My Father, Brother and I took off for the deep woods of East Texas with an approximate idea of where the line crossed the property, only to find that the current owner had bulldozed much of the area the previous Spring. You can imagine how disappointing it was. 

Our search only entailed several miles in the area. However, there are hundreds more to explore. If anyone out there has additional information on this telegraph and, more importantly, on the insulators which were used, I would be eager to hear from them.
Yours sincerely, 
Frank W. Shiels 
3705 Mockingbird Ln. 
Fort Worth, TX 76109

(Following is the map and other material mentioned above. Thank you, Frank.)

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