About Me: Displays: 2012 Kansas City National  
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This was my most recent display, and my first National display since 1996. Titled "Undercover Hemingrays", this was essentially a rebranding of my 2005 Cayucos Show display, which focused on insulators manufactured by Hemingray that aren't actually embossed "Hemingray" or "H.G.CO.". Since my 2005 display, I had acquired a couple dozen additional pieces, which required me to add a second display cabinet for spools and wall tubes.

I was very grateful to win the First Place award for the Specialty category!

Click here to see more photos and read my show journal.

At first glance, this may look like just your average display of Hemingray insulators. But look again! Not a single insulator here bears the iconic name “Hemingray” or even “H.G.Co.” Did you know that out of 170+ CDs attributed to Hemingray, only about 60% of them identify their manufacturer by name?

Flash back to the year 1871—December 19th, to be exact. On this day, Robert Hemingray was granted a patent for a glass insulator molding technique (U.S. Patent No. 122,015). Almost all of Hemingray’s earliest pieces are solely embossed with this patent date. Hemingray also manufactured insulators for A.U., B&O, Chambers, Seilers, T-H.E.Co., W.E.Mfg.Co., and W.U.

In the 1880s, Hemingray began embossing their insulators with “H.G.Co.” During this time period, they also manufactured insulators for other companies as well: F.M. Locke & Co., New Eng. Tel. &Tel. Co., S.S.&Co., and S.B.T.&T.Co. are some notable examples.

1893 was another significant year for Hemingray: on May 2nd, Ralph G. Hemingray and James C. Gill were awarded the patent for drip points (U.S. Patent No. 496,652). Hemingray began embossing virtually all of their drip-pointed products with the May 2, 1893 patent date. Beginning in the 1900s, Hemingray used stamped lettering, making embossed products easily recognizable from this point on. In the case of styles that were produced by both Hemingray and Brookfield, such as the CD 121 Am.Tel.&Tel.Co. and CD 147, the embossing style will give away a Hemingray every single time.

In 1933, Hemingray became a division of Owens-Illinois. Consequently, any insulator bearing the Owens-Illinois logo was manufactured by Hemingray. In the 1940s, Hemingray produced a line of insulators bearing the “Lowex” trademark, which stood for Low Expansion—Low Expense, a reference to a new type of glass being used. The trademark appeared on several Hemingray-embossed styles, but also appeared on its own. And finally, in the 1950s, Owens-Illinois’ Kimble line of power insulators was manufactured at the Hemingray plant in Muncie, Indiana.

Despite all this talk of embossings, many insulators manufactured by Hemingray were never embossed at all! For example, the majority of Hemingray’s break knob spools and floor/wall tube insulators were never embossed, despite catalog drawings showing the contrary. There are also many Hemingray insulators considered to be “no names” due to an engraving error. For instance, the CD 154 No Name in which “Made in U.S.A.” appears on both sides of the insulator. These types of embossings are often quite scarce and demand a premium over their correctly-embossed brethren.

Put all of these insulators together, and you have quite a wide variety of styles manufactured by Hemingray from the 1870s to the 1950s that never even mentioned the glass company that produced them. These are the Undercover Hemingrays.

Row 1

CD 124 Dec. Pat.
124.2 Dec. Pat.
124.3 Dec. Pat.
127.1 No Embossing
126.4 W.E.Mfg.Co.
125 W.U. [060]
126.3 A.U.
116 A.U.
121.4 A.U.
134 Dec. Pat.
106 Patent-Other
120 Dec. Pat.

Row 2
145 No Name [010]
131.4 No Embossing
136 B&O [040]
132 Dec. Pat.
132.4 Dec. Pat.
317.5 Chambers
133 Dec. Pat.
133.1 Dec. Pat.
134 T-H.E.Co. [010]
133.4 Dec. Pat.

Row 3
185 Mine Insulator
1090 No Embossing
185 Jeffrey Mfg. Co.
122 No Embossing
142 No Name
118 No Embossing
142.4 No Embossing
147 No Embossing
144 No Embossing *
210 Postal [030] *

Row 4
162 No Name [030]
121 Am.Tel.&Tel.Co.
167 Owens-Illinois
162 No Name [020]
113 No Embossing
257 Patent-Other
112 S.B.T.&T.Co. [010]
104 N.E.T.&T.Co. [075]
162 S.S.&Co.
160 S.S.&Co.
133 No Emb. [020]

Row 5
190/191 Am.Tel.&Tel.Co.
137.5 No Embossing
Bushing No Embossing
219 No Embossing *
1052 No Name
1052 No Embossing
1052 St.Louis Malleable
154 No Name
100 Surge
100.6 No Embossing
190/191 Two Piece Tran.

Row 6
230 No Name
230 Lowex
231 Kimble
239 Kimble
231.2 Kimble
216 Lowex
287.1 F.M.Locke {Tall}

TABLE, Left Side
283 V.G.Converse
304/310 No Embossing
317 Chambers

Row 1

CD 1073 S.B.T.&T.Co.
1110 B.E.L.Co. [005] *
1106 No Embossing
1104 No Embossing
Row 2
1087 No Embossing
1104.1 No Embossing
1094 No Embossing
1080 No Embossing
1080 The E.S.G.&Co.
1085 No Embossing

Row 3
1049 Owens-Illinois
1053 No Name
1045 No Embossing
1032 Owens-Illinois
1085 S.B.T.&T.Co.
Row 4
24 National Battery Co.
1140 No Embossing
1138 No Embossing
24 US Light & Heating
Row 5
No.132 Floor Tube
No.124 Floor Tube
No.122 Floor Tube
Row 6
No.130 Floor Tube
No.129 Floor Tube
No.126 Floor Tube
* Suspected but unconfirmed


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