I started collecting insulators when I was a child. I played with trains and cars but my grandparents had gotten me some glass insulators. I really didn't know what they were but all I knew was they were heavy and made good weights to hold down tents that I made. After years of abuse I got rid of them still not knowing what they were. One day the power flickered at our house. When we left for my sisters dance class we saw a pole bent over (one on the right) and we called AmerenUe. About 5 hours later they came out to fix the pole. I sat and watched them work. I asked for the old insulators. I walked away with a few chance deadend bells, chance cutout, and some spool racks. I was excited and that was the real start to my collection. I always loved the odd ball stuff such as the transformers and as a kid I used to make some out of boxes. My grandparents were both electrical engineers so I grew up in a very electronic environment.
A few months after I got the insulators fromt he pole near my house, I got some more from a 34Kv pole. I was driving to a interview when I noticed that all the stoplights were out. I knew that there was a 34Kv pole line that ran along this road so I followed the line. Getting to the road block I saw a pole broken in 3 different places and a truck at the bottom of it. I knew a few back streets to get closer to the pole since the police had closed the road. Once getting closer to the pole I noticed that it was the same AmerenUE crew I had talked to earlier(Picture to the Left).I went and talked to the crew and they told the cops it was ok to let me enter. The cops gave me a pink paper to give the cops who closed the road so I can drive in. About this time it is 2pm and the road was open. What happened was a 18 wheeler lost control and hit the 34kv pole. Sadly he died. I left to get my camera and came back and showed the cops my pass and they let me in and cars tried to follow me. It was fun for me being at my age! I got to park less 75ft away from the accident. I stayed with the AmerenUe guys till 1am the next day! I bought them all Poweraids and when they sent out a guy to get White Castles they even got me food. Well come to find out they didnt get power back on till 5am the next day. From this I walked away with a Porchlin strain and a Brown Ohio Brass 34Kv Side post insulator. I was bored that summer and with friends I walked a dried river bed and found a really large old GE arrester, dug it up and brought it home. After that I didnt do much except follow AmerenUe to other sites and slowly got more insulators. It made a nice display of my room see right photo.
I meet Pat threw a EBay and ICON transaction. Jason had a weird looking cutout on ebay which I bought. Instead of him shipping it, he mentioned just bring it by because he had a friend in the area. Pat had seen my pictures on ICON and started to wonder how much of a collector I was. Jason gave Pat my email, Pat emailed me a few days later saying that he had lots of insulators. If I wanted to go hunting to come up to his place and we would go to this scrap yard that had a ton of insulators. Jake and I got to Pats and rode over to the scrap yard to find a acre or so of insulators everywhere! Pat saw my posts of the damage produced by a storm in the area. This storm had knocked down 11 poles which had two 34Kv feeds comming. The wires snapped off the steel tower and landed on cars and trees. When I got there the poice had the road closed. The next day I got in during a cop shift change. Again it was all my Ameren buddies. They were taken good strings of old suspension insulators and dumping them into the dumpster. I took a good hand full of them off there hands. My collection hit its max the following summer. AmerenUE bought Illinois Power and anything that was in the inventory was scrapped out to the yard Pat showed me. I was taken car load after car load of insulators. Sadly were I was storing the insulators didnt want them there anymore. I had no place to store them anymore, sadly they are all pitched out or scrapped out. Since then I have moved to Union MO and have not been a active hunter. I have walked the MKT trail and got lots of great insulators. Walking a line several times starts to get bare. All the lines around here have already been picked over by other collectors. Also Ameren has been pitching everything and not giving it away. Theres always one bad apple, this bad apple stole over 30,000$ of copper of a tower line. Since then, they have not givin me anything. I buy or take insulators as I find them. These are some of the stories and pictures:
My Collection By CD Numbers
Insulators In service