1971 >> July >> Insulators Abroad  

Insulators Abroad
by The Traveling Lippincotts of Winnetka, Ill.

Reprinted from "INSULATORS - Crown Jewels of the Wire", July 1971, page 17

We are returning home in a few days from a trip abroad. I thought you might like to hear something of insulators on this side of the pond.

We picked up a car in Zurich and drove south along the west coast of Italy to Elba and Sicily, each of which we covered pretty well. At Bari we ferried to Dubrovnik in Yugoslavia, drove through Macedonia to Greece, returning north through Yugoslavia to Austria. Shortly we shall fly home from Zurich.

During our nearly 7000 miles of driving we have seen quite a variety of insulators. They are not easy to get. Poles, usually wood or concrete, are 20 to 40 feet tall. In the villages and cities they are usually mounted on the front wall of the building at a height of about twelve feet, or directly under the eaves. They are tantalizing and quite unobtainable. Only in rare cases is a pole with insulators found on the ground.

We estimated about sixty different shapes, sizes and colors in Italy, including a few lovely SCAs we could not get. About half are white porcelain, a few brown, the rest glass, clear or dark green. They range from small, usually with a groove on top, to large power insulators with three skirts. Others are tinted green.

An English speaking Italian kindly wrote a note for us which we could show to the linemen. The response was almost always good, and on several occasions we followed the lineman's truck through a maze of narrow alley-like streets to the garage where we were given insulators. In all, we must have contacted thirty line crews. We have about twenty-five varieties and colors. Weight problems flying home have necessitated our rejecting perhaps ten less interesting varieties and discarding along the roadside two large glass power varieties.

Yugoslavia proved very difficult. We saw only three glass varieties, one an exchange type. Eventually we found one pole on the ground with four insulators intact. Imagine our disgust when we found them to be Armstrong 56's They are still on the pole. Many were cemented on the iron screw rod. Others could be unscrewed only with great difficulty, as strands of hemp rope were wound about the screw post as insulation.

We saw only white porcelain in Greece, similar in shape to the Italian, but with small diamond-shaped identification marks. The two we succeeded in obtaining were unfortunately broken as we tried to remove them from the rod and cement fill.

To date we have seen only white and brown porcelains in Austria, similar for the most part to Yugoslavia. This includes a two piece transposition. So far, we haven't been lucky enough to find one.

Switzerland, to date, has been all white porcelains, similar to others we have seen. But here again we hope to find others during the few days we shall be there before leaving.

I neglected to mention a black glass insulator used by a railroad in southern Italy. We thought this was rubber until we were given one at a small station in the mountains.

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