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.
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
The front is embossed WHITALL TATUM CO. NO.12 MADE IN U.S.A..
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
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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