1989 >> June >> Silver Carnival Whitall Tatum No. 1  

Silver Carnival Whitall Tatum No. 1
by Richard Wentzel

Reprinted from "Crown Jewels of the Wire", June 1989, page 10

For some time now, I have known of a local collector who has in his possession a silver carnival CD 154 Whitall Tatum No.1. A friend of his unearthed it during a bottle dig, and gave it to him. Under such circumstance, the collector has never doubted the authenticity of his prize. I have remained quietly skeptical and more than a little jealous.

Recently, while going through back issues of "Crown Jewels of the Wire," I noticed a letter from a person owning a "silver carnival" CD 214 Whitall Tatum No.10. This person was seeking verification of the authenticity of his insulator from Mr. N.R. Woodward. 

Mr. Woodward's response supplied a fairly plausible explanation, based on the supposition that early Whitall Tatum glass might iridize if left in direct contact with alkaline soil over a prolonged period of time. Mr. Woodward also indicated that to his knowledge, no glass insulator produced at Whitall Tatum had been treated with a metallic coating.

CD 176, nicknamed "The Mushroom " is embossed along the lower wire ridge. 
The front is embossed WHITALL TATUM CO. NO.12 MADE IN U.S.A..
The rear is embossed PATENT NO.1708038

The accompanying letter, dated August 1, 1934, with an attachment dated August 8, 1934, came from the original Whitall Tatum file on the CD 176 No.12 CDS insulator. It indicates that the plant was indeed experimenting with the application of metallized coating to Whitall Tatum insulators as of these dates. One might surmise that a "mother-of-pearl" coating as mentioned would give a silver carnival appearance to an insulator.

It is my belief that such experimentation was very brief, as this letter is the only reference to metallized coatings of Whitall Tatum insulators I have found in my studies of the 20 volume set of Whitall Tatum insulator design, development and production records.

This appears to be a rather important development in our knowledge of Whitall Tatum insulators, certainly something that should be shared with the readers of "Crown Jewels."

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