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
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
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