2001 >> September >> Hemingray Carnivals  

Hemingray Carnivals

Reprinted from "Crown Jewels of the Wire", September 2001, page 11

Display by:
Bob Stahr 
11728 Leonardo Drive 
Saint John, IN 46373-9448 

1st Place N.I.A. Color

What is carnival glass? 

Basically, carnival glass is regular glass that has been sprayed with a metallic oxide while the insulators were still warm from the molds. This metallic oxide is slightly conductive and was used to help reduce radio interference from the power lines. These carnival insulators were also used for low leakage by making the insulator slightly resistant. (See the Western Union Specifications below.) 

Fifteen different CD styles, most used in known installation applications and several specimens which have only been found in a Hemingray dump, are displayed along with four different carnival bottling products made by Hemingray.



March 16, 1935


PURPOSE AND DESCRIPTION: The purpose of the TS-2 Insulator is to provide a greater resistance to leakage than is obtainable from our present standard double petticoat insulator. This is done by treating the surface of the insulator to make it highly resistant and then protecting a portion of the inner surface against dirt.

The protection is afforded by the metal insert or bushing which is screwed tightly into the lower part of the insulator. As can be seen from the accompanying drawing, the bushing clears the cob and pin and is in contact with the insulator only at the threaded portion. Behind the upper part of the bushing is a dead air pocket into which dirt particles enter only with difficulty. As long as this surface remains reasonably clean the high insulation should be maintained. 

INSTALLATION: These insulators may be handled and mounted in the same way as our standard insulator. However, the following precautions for insuring a good installation should be taken:

  1. In handling these insulators and in distributing them along the railroad right of way, care must be taken to avoid subjecting them to dirt, mud, water or any other contamination. 
  2. They must not be mounted on split or broken cobs or on pins upon which long scales of rust have formed. If defective cobs or pins in poor condition are encountered, they should be replaced. 
  3. If existing cobs are fit for reuse, they should be cleaned of splinters, cocoons or other matter adhering to or projecting from them. A film of dirt on a cob, unless of unusual thickness is not objectionable. 
  4. Before each insulator is mounted, the lineman should carefully examine the inside to see that no dirt, twigs, straws or other foreign matter has collected which would bridge between the bushing and cob and thus short out the protected path. 
  5. If by accident or otherwise a bushing becomes loose in an insulator, it should be tightly screwed back. 
  6. No cracked insulators shall be used. If found they shall be discarded and the bushings salvaged.

 (Information compiled by Bob Stahr for display handout.)

Hemingray Color by Bob Stahr
1st Place N.I.A. Color

INSULATORS: CD 230 Broken aqua with remnants of carnival coating dug at Hemingray  factory site, Muncie, IN; CD 297 Hemingray-72 was once carnivalized; CD 281 Hemingray-71, CD 262 IIcmingray-62 -all specimens from Hemingray dump sites.

CD 2B2 An unusually dark Hemingray D-513 with original brass bushing from Hemingray dump; CD 154 Hemingray-42 is a darker example than most. A grouping of these were found on a railroad line in northwest Indiana, most of them were quite dirty and hard to clean; CD 118 is unembossed and was originally outfitted with a large copper skirt that threaded itself onto the outer surface of the insulator, very few of which have survived; CD 142.4 Hemingray TS-3 has a glass bushing cemented inside of the insulator which was also sprayed with carmival.

More common styles of Hemingray carnival included in this display: CD 168, CD 230; CD 162 Hemingray-19 signals which were installed in the Hutchinson, Kansas area; CD 1052 Hemingray D-518 rack spool; CD 164 Hemingray-20 signals in a lighter coating of carnival were prevalent in Ontario, Canada; CD 142 Hemingray TS-2 was manufactured with a threading on the inside of the outer skirt to accept a copper bushing.

Just to the right of the name card at the left of the display are shards which I believe to be a made-for-export insulator. The threading and general style of insulator does not seem to coincide with any of the TS series.


  • Ginger Ale Bottle: Unembossed, but stippled surface design, mold number and a raised dot on the bottom are typical of Hemingray bottles. 2 known.
  • Universal Home Bottle: patented on June 2 1931 by Hemingray employee Willard P. Zimmerman. Measuring lines down the side of the bottle indicate it was probably used for household measuring purposes. 6 carnivals known.
  • Hammers: This 7-up colored bottle is carnivalized. The bottle embossed "Hammers Bubbles of Health" depicts a little champagne glass on the bottle. Shards were found al the Hemingray factory site. Hammers was a bottler from New York. 3 known. 
  • Sun Punch: Patented by Ben Domont of Indianapolis, IN on February 9, 1931 and used by Monument Bottling Co. of Indianapolis to bottle sun punch in a "bottle pitted and orange colored similar to the surface of an orange. Shards found at Hemingray factory site. Over 10 known.

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