2001 >> September >> A Marriage Of Glass  

A Marriage Of Glass

Reprinted from "Crown Jewels of the Wire", September 2001, page 24

Display by:
Steve Schingler 
40 Spring Branch Court 
Newnan, GA 30265 770-253-7028 

1st Place N.I.A. Go-Withs

Combining the best of both American coasts and two specialty hobbies to compete in the go-with category. Obviously, quality and not quantity was used to illustrate mid- to late-production of glass products on the west coast illustrated by products distributed by the Electrical Construction and Maintenance Company of San Francisco and American historical flasks from east coast.

Insulators from the West Coast
Electrical Construction and Maintenance Company and the California Electric Works 

In any historical account on the E.C.&M. Co., it would be lacking to leave out the influence of the California Electric Works, as both companies shared offices, employees and the C.E.W. actually used insulators for a time bearing the E.C.&M. Co. embossing.

(Receiving Award from NIA President Steve Marks)

The Articles of Incorporation for the Electrical Construction and Maintenance Company were filed on December 29, 1870 with the Secretary of State of California. The amount of capital stock of E.C.&M. Co. was one hundred thousand dollars, consisting of one thousand shares of stock at one hundred dollars each. The company offices were located at 134 Sutter Street in San Francisco. 

The number of Trustees of E.C&M. Co. was four: George H. Mumford, James Gamble, George S. Ladd and Stephen D. Field. Each of the above received 200 shares of the business. The officers of the company, George Mumford, Vice President in the Western Union Telegraph Company, James Gamble, General Superintendent of the west coast lines of the Western Union Telegraph Company and George S. Ladd, Assistant Superintendent under Mr. Gamble would point out the obvious connection between the E.C.&M. Co. and the Western Union Telegraph Company (W.U.T.Co.).

Since it was the only company of its type west of the Mississippi, it supplied construction and maintenance equipment including telegraph wire, insulators and poles to many of the western states. The poles used were unique to early western line construction as they were square in design and made of redwood. E.C.&M. Co. insulators have been found in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, British Columbia and Mexico.

The fact that W.U.T.Co.'s lines used, nearly exclusively, E.C.& M. Co.'s insulators and line materials until 1877, when W.U.T.Co. decided to move their headquarters for western line management to New York indicates that E.C.&M. Co. was used as the main construction arm for W.U.T.Co's massive reconstruction in the West. 

After the move of the western line management (of the W.U.T.Co.) headquarters to New York, the E.C.&M. Co. was sold, and the California Electrical Works was incorporated at the same address (134 Sutter Street, San Francisco) use formerly by the E.C.&M. Co.

The Articles of Incorporation for the California Electrical Works filed in June 1877 with the Secretary of State of California. The amount of capital stock of C.E.W. was six hundred thousand dollars, consisting of six thousand shares of stock at one hundred dollars each. Principal stockholders of C.E.W. included George S. Ladd, James Gamble, Cornelius Hertz, Russell J. Wilson and James T. Boyd. Paul Seiler began employment with C.E.W on June 22, 1877. At the board of Directors meeting in June of 1877, Joseph Hertz was appointed Business Manager, S.D. Field was appointed Electrician and Paul Seiler was appointed Mechanic. 

On July 10, 1877, the C.E.W. purchased from the E.C.&M. Co. all patent rights "of every character" for the sum of $8,258. This included its shares in the American District Telegraph Company and the California Electric Power Company.

In the June 1878 issue of "Mining and Scientific Press", there is an article that talks about spending the morning in the workshop of one Electrical Construction & Maintenance Co. which was then operated by the California Electric Works.

In 1880, the Nevada Central, and the Aurora to Candelaria lines were constructed by the Nevada and California Telegraph Company using E.C.& M. Co. insulators (manufactured and supplied by the California Electric Works).

E.C.&M. Co. had listings in the San Francisco Directory (located right under listings for the California Electric Works) in 1866. This was not a mistake, as they (E.C.&M. Co.) are listed fifteen times in four different categories. Listings continued each year thereafter through 1894.

E.C.&M.Co. S.F. Insulators
Glass insulators were produced bearing the company initials in the CD 123 style. One of the earliest variants had the "E.C.&M.CO. S.F." marking placed upside down in the mold. A limited number of these examples were produced, and they remain extremely rare. The mold was quickly reworked to properly correct the embossing. The correct version is the well-known mold variant with the square dome and flared skirt. 

These two molds were reworked to create even more mold variants. (Reworking the molds saved the cost of producing new ones). 

E.C.&M. Co. historian, Fritz Kettenburg, originally identified and cataloged eight varieties of molds that were found at the time on these insulators. It is believed that they were primarily produced in a western glasshouse(s), possibly the Pacific Glass Works of San Francisco. These include:

A - Rounded dome, flared skirt; B - Square dome, straight skirt, C - Beveled dome, straight skirt; D- Beveled dome, straight skirt, heavy "sheetmetal" mold line; E - Upside-down embossed; F - Square dome, flared skirt; G- Square dome, straight skirt; "Square dome, straight skirt, lumps of glass in the wire groove.

Additionally, several other mold variants have been subsequently been uncovered including: 1 - Bevel dome, straight skirt, larger diameter body; 2 - skirt embossed; 3 Unembossed; 4 - Square dome, straight skirt with rounded mold dot (Sacramento discovery); 5 - Rounded dome, straight skirt with rounded mold dot (Sacramento discovery).

In the mid-1990s during the construction of the Federal Building at the corner of 5th and "I" streets in Sacramento, the construction crew came into a cache of blue, blob top sodas. Shortly thereafter, they came into a cache of E.C.&M. Co. insulators. These insulators, along with the sodas were found eighteen feet below the surface. The amount of glass uncovered closely paralleled the famous "San Francisco dig" of 1998, where large amounts of bottles and glass were uncovered, including many new and unique examples

It is interesting to note that the Southern Pacific Glass Manufacturing plant was located on one side of the find and the Pacific Electrical Works (owned by R.A. Fish and located at 1023 Fourth Street) was located on the adjacent side.

It is highly possible that additional glasshouse(s) were employed (possibly one or more in the Sacramento area as indicated above) to supplement production during the heavy demand times. As of this writing, the actual glasshouse(s) that produced the CD 123 insulator remains uncertain. The evidence discovered present an enlightened perspective on the "new" colors, mold variants and embossing variations (both skirt embossed and unembossed) that have been discovered in the last decade.

Historical Flasks from the East Coast

No other category of American blown-molded glass is so rich in variety of design and that none so excelled in variety of color as historical flasks. Though blown mainly from green glass in all nuances of its natural colors -- ambers, from deep olive-amber to light amber: greens, from deep olive to light aquamarine -- they were blown also from artificially colored metal (molten glass) -- ambers, from golden to deep brown; green, from sea to emerald; sometimes blues, from pale to deep cobalt; rarely amethyst, from reddish tone to brownish (puce); very rarely deep purple and occasionally from colorless glass or glass meant to be so but tinged with pale blue, green or amethyst. Yes, historical flasks and insulators share the same plethora of color variations. 

Historical flasks have a more opulent background of national tradition, historical and social significance, and topical interest than any other category of American glass. In the historical family are found emblems and symbols of our national sovereignty, portraits of national heroes and designs associated with them and their deeds; portraits of presidential candidates, emblems and slogans of political campaigns; portraits of two captivating foreigners; emblems and designs, slogans and quotations, related to our economic life and hopes, including our defeats and victories at war.

(Information compiled by Steve Schingler for display handout.)

TOP SHELF:  Bubbly Clear Unlisted1
Deep Amethyst, Unlisted2 on original pin
2nd SHELF:  Amber B
Olive Amber, H
3rd SHELF:  Chartreuse, B
Dark Green, A
Yellow Green, Unlisted3
Emerald Green, Unlisted4
4th SHELF:  Teal Blue, C
Midnight Blue, A
Ink Blue, A
Cobalt, F
Bottom SHELF: 
Light Aqua, C
Aqua, F
Aqua, G
Swirled Aqua, B
Mint Green, G

A Marriage of Glass by Steve Schingler
1st Place N.I.A. Go-Withs



GI-71 Portrait Gen. Zachery Taylor. Major Ringgold, Baltimore Glass Works, c. 1848


GI-73 Portrait Gen. Zachery Taylor, Washington Monument, Baltimore Glass Works, c. 1848


GI.38 Portrait Gen. Washington, General Taylor. Dyottville Glass Works, Phila., c. 1847


2nd SHELF:   

GII-54 American Engle, Coffin & Hay Glassworks, Hammington, NJ, c. 1840


GI-94 Portrait Benjamin Franklin, T.W. Dyott, Kensington Glass Works, Phila., c. 1825-26


GV-5 Railroad 3-mile horse-and-cart Quincy or Granite Railway, Mt. Vernon, NY and Saratoga, c. 1830-1840


3rd SHELF:   

GII-24 American Eagle, possibly Kentucky Glass Works, c. 1840


GIX-10 Scroll Flask, unknown Midwestern glassworks, c. 1840


GIX-10 Scroll Flask - marked flask made by five companies, all mid-western, c. 1840


4th SHELF:   

GI-40b Portrait Gen. Washington, General Taylor, Dyottville Glass Works, Phila., c. 1840


GIX-2 Scroll Flask - one of 75 mold variants produced in Midwest from c. 1827 thru 1850s


GI-14 Portrait Flask - "Firecracker" commemorating July 4, 1826, Kensington Glass Works, c. 1827


Bottom SHELF:   

GII-7 American Eagle, Glasshouse unknown: Monongahela and early Pittsburgh District, c. 1820


GX-22 Miscellaneous Flask, "Hard Cider" blown for 1840 presidential campaign of William Henry Harrison, Glasshouse unknown: Monongahela and early Pittsburgh District, c. 1840


G1-11 Portrait Flask, General Washington, Monongahela and early Pittsburgh District, c. 1825

INSULATORS *UNLISTED VARIANTS - First discovered in the cache of glass found in a construction project in downtown Sacramento in the mid-1990s. These were located eighteen feet underground by construction workers. The clear example (1) is a rounded dome straight skirt variant while the green examples (3 and 4) have a square dome and straight skirt. The amethyst example (2) on the original pin has a square dome and straight skirt. It was not found in the same location as the other three examples in this display.

Provenience: Unlisted 1 and 3 - Pat Patocka; Unlisted 2 - Ron Souza; Unlisted 4 - Lou Dieke; Amber "B", Chartreuse "B", Teal Blue "C" - Dwayne Anthony; Olive amber "H", Aqua "F" - Ray Klingensmith;, Ink Blue "A" - Klingensmith/Milek; Dark Green "A" - Fritz Kettenburg/ John Milek; Midnight Blue "A", Swirled Aqua "B", Mint Green "G" - John Milek; Light Aqua "C" Ross Baird; Aqua "G" - Found near Tonopah, NV.

FLASKS - Provenience: GI-71, GI-94, GIX-10 - Frank Brockman; GI-73, GIX-10, GI-40b - Dr. Burton Spiller; GI-38 - Dug in Stockton, CA; GII-54, GI-14, GII-7, Gl-11 - Jim Hagenbuch; GV-5 - Antique shop in Atlanta; GII-24 - Jim Wichmann; GX-22 - Elvin Moody 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: John and Carol McDougald, A History and Guide to North American Glass Pintype Insulators; Dwayne Anthony, former President of N.I.A., Open Wire Insulator Services; Lou Dieke, historian with primary research in the history of western telegraph; Ray Klingensmith, Pole Top Discoveries; Ron Souza. historian with primary research in the history of western telegraph. George P. and Helen McKearin, American Glass; Helen McKearin and Kenneth Wilson, American Bottles & Flasks; Helen McKearin. Bottles, Flasks and Dr. Dyott.

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