1985 >> July >> Bea Lines  

Bea Lines
by H.G. "Bea" Hyve

Reprinted from "Crown Jewels of the Wire", July 1985, page 15


The Milhollands moved from Sequim to Spanaway, WA, in May of 1975. This location was not as isolated and brought them closer to medical facilities and such. In June of that same year they put up the building next to their home which became the Milholland Insulator Museum.

This building is a wooden structure measuring 20' by 30' , and has a metal roof. It is set on a cement foundation and has a cement floor which is fully carpeted. The inside walls are lined with wood paneling. One corner consists of an 8' by 10' office. There's an open ceiling leaving 2 by 4's and rafters on which hang large insulators, and 2 by 4'a are set around on all four walls for the many smaller insulators. Gas heat keeps the numerous books dry.

The Milholland Museum

Inside museum, ceiling shot

Wall shelves

Evelyn inside phone booth

Corner shot

The museum contains approximately 3,900 insulators! And, they are not restricted to glass., There are insulators made from porcelain, rubber, plastic, wood, composition, and fiberglass. They range in size from the tiny Pyrex CD 100.5 to the mighty Pyrex 701, CD 331, which is the largest single piece glass insulator ever cast, weighing in at 38-1/4 pounds. But probably the largest insulator in the museum is a large gray porcelain about three feet tall, used for 115,000 volts. It must weigh about 90 pounds! I remember Marion telling us that it was given to him by some employees of a local power company. They had heard about the museum and brought it over one day and sat it in the room. Along with the insulators is a fascinating array of go-withs, including a phone booth.

To list every item in the museum would fill about 6 issues of Crown Jewels, so I'll list just a few here. There is a CD 138.9 "Twin Pin" in light aqua, a CD 176 Whitall Tatum "Mushroom" in light straw, a CD 240.2 with copper cap over the crown in clear, a CD 344.5 with an aluminum cap over the crown in light olive, a CD 221 Whitall Tatum in red amber. Evelyn says this WT No. 514 is as red as any insulator they ever saw in glass. And, there's a CD 105 Am. Ins. Co. Pat. Sept. 13, 1881, with lines and dots carried over the dome. The dots are a quarter of an inch apart, three lines on each side of the dome, six all together. Color is light aqua. And those I've mentioned are just a smattering of what the museum holds.

Evelyn's Favorite

I asked Evelyn which, of all of those insulators, was her favorite. It is similar to a CD 1O1, a Brookfield pony in light aqua. It is embossed "Brookfield" in front, and in back, "No. 9", and is 3-1/2" high with a smooth base. But what is so unusual is that the crown is shifted to one side! It is a cutie.

Evelyn maintains the museum herself, and no visitor who wishes to see this fine collection is turned away. As mentioned earlier, we first saw it in August of 1975, and we found the Milhollands to be very enthusiastic, on top of being very gracious hosts. I now regret that we didn't spend more time there that year, because in the short time we had, we just couldn't see everything. So when we came back to the Pacific North-west last mummer, we were eager to revisit it again.

The Milholland Insulator Museum is located at 145 E. 168th Street, Spanaway, WA, 98387. You might want to call first and make arrangements with Evelyn before visiting, and her phone number is 206-537-3729. Evelyn knows the story behind every item in the museum, and is a lively and interesting guide. Anyone wanting to experience a delightful time should visit Evelyn and the museum.

Evelyn says that the future of the museum is undecided. "What I want is for it to be seen and used as it stands, for the future generations. The reason being it is set up to correspond with the Milholland insulator books and price guides."


Along with insulators and go-withs, the museum holds the awards and honors bestowed upon the Milhollands over the years. I think it is important that these awards be listed for posterity, so I am going to do so here. It is an outstanding list, and one that I imagine anyone else in the hobby would envy!


* Plaque -- Most Miles Traveled, London, OH. One also in 1971.

* Special Award Ribbon, Chicago Mid-West Show.


* Large plaque from the Capital District Insulator Club at Clifton Park "In Honor of the dedicated Research and Devoted Effort Extended to Propagate the Hobby of Collecting Glass Insulators". 

* George C. Scott Probe Award from the Antique Bottle Clubs of Florida. 

* Mounted EC & M Co. of S.F. from Western Regional Insulator Show at Oroville, CA (about 1974).


* Plaque -- Dedicated Service from San Diego County Insulator Collectors Club, 1975.

* Mounted Jumbo insulator from Capital District Insulator Club.


* Plaque -- Researcher Author & Friend, From the Ohio Valley Insulator Club, NY.

* Mounted cobalt insulator and slag ball from the Hemingray Glass Co., Muncie, IN, for service to the NIA, given by Jerry Turner. 

* Hand-drawn portrait of "Marion Milholland drawn and given by Rick Jones at the Berea, OH National Show. Presented to Evelyn Milholland. 

* Lifetime membership, NIA, presented to Evelyn Milholland at the Berea, OH, National Show.


* Two pillows given by the Central Florida Insulator Club and made by Sylvia Haymond.

Some of the awards

In the early 1970's, the NIA instituted the presentation of the Milholland Educational Award, to be given for "the one exhibit which most effectively achieves an educational theme". Evelyn says that this award was a total surprise to them (and a nice one, I imagine!) This award is given to the qualifying displayer at each national show "in recognition of Mrs. Evelyn Milholland and her late husband, Marion Milholland, for their tireless work over many years to research and publish information on glass insulators, all of which contributed immeasurably to the growth and enjoyment of the hobby."

It should also be brought out here that for years the Milhollands awarded a copy of their book, Brookfield Insulators, Reprint, to the best Brookfield display at a show.

Lightning rod & accessories
Chambers & Chambers companion

I would like to thank Evelyn Milholland most sincerely for her cooperation in getting together this interview, and for her patience in taking so much time to answer all of my questions. She did a super job! I also want to thank her for permission to quote from her book, Milholland's Most About Glass Insulators, 4th Revision, and for allowing me to use the photos of her and Marion. She was so generous with photos that I had a most difficult time choosing which ones to use out of the many excellent ones she sent. And I thank Andy and Vi Brown of Redmond, WA, for providing all of the interior photos of the museum and of Evelyn's favorite insulator.

Evelyn would like to send a message to everyone who reads this story. "I wish to thank every one of the collectors for all they have done. We could not have done anything without help from the collectors. I just hope the museum and books will be around for a long time to come." We wish the same for you, Evelyn. And I would just like to add that this hobby would never have been where it is today without your and Marion's help.

The Milhollands. . .true pioneers in the hobby of insulator collecting. All or us will continue to use, and our enjoyment or the hobby will be enhanced by, the things they have done. We owe them more than we realize. Our debt to them is enormous, and one it would be impossible to ever repay.

Marion Milholland

Evelyn Milholland
At Diamond Point, near Sequim


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