Mysterious Hemingrays  

Whether it's a new embossing, color, or even a new CD, collectors occasionally discover Hemingray insulators that have remained under the radar for decades. On this page, we'll be discussing the Mysterious Hemingrays; that is, Hemingray insulators we have drawings of, but nobody has ever seen in the past 40+ years!

1. Hemingray-49
2. Hemingray-517
3. Hemingray No. 41
4. Hemingray "Baby Mickey" (SOLVED)
5. Hemingray "Large Exchange" (SOLVED)

The following three insulators below have been researched by Hemingray historian Bob Stahr and featured in the article "The Missing Hemingray Insulators", Crown Jewels of the Wire, October 1994, page 20.

Hemingray - 49

Hemingray - 49 you say? There's no such insulator. Well, Frances Terrill published a book in 1971 entitled Book #3, Hemingray Insulators Priced. According to the book, six of these Hemingray-49's were found in Texas.

Based on the dimensions (3 3/16" wide, 4 1/8" high), and the presence of an inner skirt, it's very close to a CD 162 Hemingray-19. Is it possible they had an embossing error or a "1" that looked like a "4" due to an anomaly in the glass or mold?

This insulator has never appeared in any Hemingray catalogs, nor have any specimens been dug from the Hemingray Dump that even vaguely resembles this design. Additionally, we've yet to find any Hemingray style numbers in the 46-49 range, so I doubt they would have skipped 46, 47, and 48.


Hemingray - 517


The mysterious Hemingray - 517 appears in not one, but two early books in the collecting hobby. The first drawing is from 1971, the same book as the Hemingray - 49 above, Frances Terrill's Book #3, Hemingray Insulators Priced. The second drawing is from Lynn Stuart's Insulator Guide, published in 1968.

The dimensions are 4 1/2" high, 5 1/2" wide. Based on the mold numbers 10-46 and 13-46, these would have been manufactured in 1946, and would suggest that no less than 13 of these molds were made. Also, 517 would fit neatly in Hemingray's 51X power series: 510, 511, 512, 513, 514, 515, 518, and 519. Notice the absence of 516 and 517 in that lineup. It is entirely possible that these pieces exist and are out there somewhere.

Curiously, this style has never been found in any Hemingray advertisements or catalogs. The top of the piece holds a striking resemblance to the CD 243 Hemingray-88. Perhaps they were trying to revive a more modern version of that design?

If you have seen one (or better yet, have one you'd like to sell) please contact me!


Hemingray No. 41

Of all the pieces we've yet to see, the Hemingray No. 41, tradenamed "Long Double Petticoat", is the one I hold out the most hope for: it has actually shown up in insulator catalogs. The first drawing is from Western Electric catalogs, 1915-1916. The second drawing is from Canadian General Electric (date unknown).

Dimensions: 4" wide, 5" high. It was rated for 6000 volts, had a weight of 2.75 pounds, and cost $85.00 per thousand. N.R. Woodward, the creator of the CD numbering system, has reserved CD 224.5 for this design should one ever be found.

If you have seen one (or better yet, have one you'd like to sell) please contact me!

The following two insulators are described in the article "Phantom Insulators" by William C. Ogden, published in Crown Jewels of the Wire, February 1981, page 31:

SOLVED: Hemingray "Baby Mickey" & "Large Exchange"

I will quote directly from the 1981 article above:

"This next one I would call a baby "Mickey Mouse", which is found on p. 37 of Bill Schroeder's 800 Insulators, 1971 ed. It was made in aqua and green; it is 3-1/4" x 2-1/2", making it considerably smaller than the usual "Mickey". It carries the following embossing: HEMINGRAY//PATENTED/MAY 2 1893. It would be a pleasure to find one of these if indeed they exist!

Another phantom is a rather large -- 5" x 3-1/4" -- single skirted, two wire-groove insulator with a somewhat flattened dome. From the drawing, it resembles a large version of the CD 115 or exchange style. This also is a Hemingray with both the June 1890 and the May 2 1893 patent dates. Drip points are shown, and it was made in both aqua and green. This is also on p. 37 of Schroeder's 800 Insulators. What was the intended purpose of this insulator? The rather large size might suggest a power insulator, but if so, why then the two wire grooves? The wire grooves are far too close together to use this as a transposition. Again, an interesting insulator!"

Well, I had to locate a copy of the book in question to see for myself, before the reason behind these two "Phantom Insulators" became painfully obvious: the photos were swapped! These two insulators appear side-by-side in the book.

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