Upcycle Vintage Insulators
What are insulators?
Glass insulators were originally designed to keep telephone and telelgraph wires insulated from the wooden poles that held them up. They had to insulate the wire from the wood. That was the insulator’s main ‘purpose. Hemingray, Brookfield, and Whitall Tatum are some of the companies who made them. If you have one, or many,…check to see what name is embossed on them!
Collectors now go crazy for the rare ones, but many are of no real value since they were so numerous in the industry. You can find insulators of many different colors at antique stores, Flea markets and sometimes thrift shops or yard sales. You would likely get the best deal at a flea market in this case.
Our purpose at Flea market Gardening now, is to use and reuse them in our homes and gardens!
Collecting Glass Insulators
Rhea Dawn Buskirk has a wonderful collection and uses hers as colorful accents indoors and out.
Rhea Dawn says, “I started collecting insulators about two years ago. I like them because they are inexpensive, colorful and come in different sizes. I find them at flea markets, garage sales and auctions. Basically get them for $1.00 – $2.00 and will give $3.00 if in perfect condition. ”
“The “Mickey Mouse” insulator, with the ears was more expensive and it stays in the house with me.”
How to clean insulators
Rhea Dawn tells us, “Most of the ones I have purchased are caked with mud, rust and grime. I use a five gallon bucket and soak in vinegar, dishwasher detergent and spray the rusty and grimy ones with Bar Keeper’s Friend. Let them soak about a week, rinse, use soapy water, rag and a toothbrush to clean up.”
A ‘Touch of Glass’ in the garden
Rhea Dawn tells us, “My goal is to have an insulator tree outside and use as a landscaping border. It’s an inexpensive hobby and rewarding to me because each one has a different bubble or wave in the glass that makes them unique. I have just started researching the lettering online to find who manufactured each one, what area they came from and what they were used for.”
“I have to share this insulator that was given to me today by my brother-in-law, who bought it at a auction. Cost me $7.00!! I can use it for a bird feeder, candy dish or decorative on the table. Realize it may be too late to use in the article but had to share!”
Turn a garden into a jewel box