I love old glass. It’s probably an inherited trait because most of my current collection comes from my mother’s family. From heritage crystal and cut glass to various vintages of souvenir glasses to old medicine bottles, I treasure it all. I also have a very nice collection of old glass insulators – like the blue one on the right in this photo.
Glass insulators originated before the Civil War with the advent of the telegraph. Something was needed to keep the wire from grounding out against the wooden poles and glass was the answer. There were all kinds of insulators developed over the years. Although there is a large community of collectors, most varieties are a dime a dozen these days – including all of mine. I still love them – the shapes and colors add interest to a displayed collection of bottles and a touch of nostalgia.
One of our local shopkeepers has found a way to turn these dime-a-dozen insulators into a fun collectible. He adds squiggles and swirls of wire with all kinds of glass beads to make a quirky object d’ art he calls an alien signal receptor. For those too young to know what a glass insulator is, these are unique – and very cool – souvenirs of their trip to Florida. I’m amused to watch these pieces of whimsy fly off his shelves.
When we decided to build our bottle tree, we knew from the beginning that there was only one thing that could top our masterpiece – our own version of an alien signal receptor. Over the years, the honeysuckle and wild grape have destroyed the “orbits” of the various
beads satellites circling the mother ship, but the blue insulator still reigns from its place of honor in the back yard.