My name is Christian Willis, and I collect Hemingray insulators as a hobby. It all started when I was about 10. On a whim I asked my dad to take me antiquing, so he drove me up to the Orange Circle. I only had $3.00 to spend, and the only thing I could find priced for that amount was a weird green glass thing. I thought it was cool, so I bought it. Little did I know...
Intrigued, my father and I went to our local library to research these odd pieces of glass. Before long, we were in touch with Carol McDougald of Crown Jewels of the Wire Magazine, and from there the National Insulator Association. We discovered that there was an annual insulator show held in Bakersfield, CA, which we attended for the first time in 1992. I became a member of the NIA shortly afterwards.
Also in 1992, I displayed my humble collection at the same local Laguna Niguel Library that I had researched what insulators were. I would display there again in 1993 and 1995. My 1995 display made the front page of the Laguna Niguel News.
I attended my first National insulator show in July of 1993 in Denver, Colorado. By this time I had decided to collect only Hemingrays. In 1995, I displayed my collection for the first time at the Western Regional show in Visalia, CA. Also that year, my father and I also began attending the annual Cayucos show.
In 1996, I displayed my collection again at the National show in Long Beach, CA. It was there that I met Bill Meier, Bob Stahr, and Shaun Kotlarsky, all fellow Hemingray specialists. Also in 1996, I began to draw the monthly Laugh Lines comics for Crown Jewels of the Wire.
I have since displayed my collection again at the Cayucos Show both in 2000 and 2005.
In 2003, I was appointed the committee chairman, newsletter editor, and webmaster for the Central and Southern Counties Insulator Club of California. I also joined the NorCal Insulator Club in 2004. Since then, the CSCIC and NorCal clubs had merged to form the Golden State Insulator Club for the entire state of California, and I acted as the GSIC's webmaster until 2013. We became lifetime members of the Golden State Insulator Club in 2008.
In February 2010, we moved to Colorado, and currently attend the annual show in Colorado Springs. We also attended the 2012 National Show in Kansas City, MO (my first National since 1996!) I displayed a portion of my collection there and won First Place for the Specialty category.
I am currently the Ad Manager for Drip Points, the official quarterly publication of the National Insulator Association, published by my good friend Shaun Kotlarsky.
About This Website
This website began in 2002 when I purchased "Hemingray.info", around the time that the .info domain name debuted. Hemingray.com, Hemingray.net, and Hemingray.org were already being used by fellow Hemingray enthusiasts Bob Stahr, Shaun Kotlarsky, and Bill Meier, respectively.
Initially this site started out just as a "place on the web" for me to put my personal info: show journals, insulator photos, and Laugh Lines comics. Over the years, though, I wanted to expand the site to actually be what its name implied: information on Hemingray insulators!
In May 2003, Hemingray.info version 2.0 was launched. The site was now a hybrid of Hemingray information and personal features. Over the months, I added the Hemingray Database, which at the time was MANUALLY input! It was months of work, and contained literally hundreds of individual HTML pages. It was an absolute nightmare to maintain, as you can probably imagine.
Flash forward to the year 2008: While working towards my Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology, my eyes were opened to the wonderful world of dynamic pages and relational databases! Through mostly self-study, I learned how to code in PHP and MySQL. Bill Meier even helped me out, which I truly appreciate!
In 2009, I revamped the site once again (version 3.0), what you see now. This completed the transition to Hemingray insulators as being the main focus of the site. Even now in 2011, this web site is constantly changing, a lot of it behind the scenes that visitors will never see. But I'm always using this site to continually better my fledgling programming skills. I hope you enjoy it! And if you have any suggestions on how to improve your experience here, please let me know!
Christian E. Willis
My first insulator:
a common Hemingray 42.