2001 >> September >> Researching the Road of Colors  

Researching the Road of Colors

Reprinted from "Crown Jewels of the Wire", September 2001, page 13

Display by: 
Clay Bledsoe, age 7
1140 Ranchero Avenue 
Titusville, FL 32780 

1st N.I.A. Junior

Frank Miller of Tulsa, Oklahoma began the National Show glass commemorative in 1970 as a private venture. The commemorative insulator he designed replicated the early threadless "pilgrim hat" (CD 736) and is almost 4 inches high and 3-1/4 inches across at the base. Each year the base embossing (location of the national show) and glass color has changed. In 1979, John and Carol McDougald of St. Charles, Illinois continued the project. Beginning with the Houston National in 1988, the dome of the commemorative was also embossed. 

Using a rug with the outline of the states, each year's commemorative was placed on the national show's location. Following is a chart of the first through the thirty-second nationals indicating the show location, commemorative colors and survey responses (X) from Hosts/Co-hosts of national shows:

Special 'Thanks" for information gathered from: www.nia.org, www.crownjewelsofthewire.com, www.insulators.com. survey participants and 1999 Price Guide for Insulators and Two Decades of Memories, both by John and Carol McDougald.

Synopsis of Survey responses received from hosts/co-hosts of national shows: 

1. How did you start collecting insulators? 
Answers: Job, found insulators at the flea market or garage sales, walking the railroad tracks, family/friends, saw at a show. 

2. How many years have you been in the hobby? 
Answers: An average of 26.19 years from all responses received.

3. What made you decide to host/co-host a national show?
Answers: After hosting small shows wanted to a larger show; after attending another national wanted it local; wanted to give back to the hobby.

4. How did you pick the city it was held in? 
Answers: Accommodating facility, price/access; a large number of collectors in the area; close to home; a club city; central to all collectors; easy access to the airport.

5. Did you have input in the color of the Commemorative? Yes or No 
Answer: Received a mixed number of "yes" and "no" due to the year the show was hosted.

6. If yes, what color did you pick and why? 
Answer: Many colors have been used. Chart above gives colors used, book with display containing individual answers as to why a color was selected. 

7. Did the color you picked turn out like you thought? Yes or No 
Answer: Of those who responded, all have liked the color since the mid-80s. 

8. If you could tell a new or young collector why they should start collecting or continue what would it be?
Answers: Ability to learn about the history of the telegraph; meet nice people and form lifelong relationships; learn from other collectors; collect good quality; specialize; go to lots of shows; can find shows anywhere; join a club; get involved; it's not a business, but a hobby -- have fun! 

(Information compiled by Clay Bledsoe for display.)

Researching the Road of Colors by Clay Bledsoe
1st Place N.I.A. Junior

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