Jet lag and general reorientation (disorientation?) have kept me from posting this past week, but not of course, from antiquing. I have managed to visit most of my usual haunts here on the northern New Jersey shore before even making it to the supermarket, which luckily for my children, I finally did today. The sad news for me is that I have not managed to find anything on my “need” list for the beach house, nor anything on my “just want” list, which means I will have to cast my net further afield. Hopefully that will yield some good posts too.
One item that did catch my eye at many of the shops I visited were antique/vintage glass insulators. I know I have a strong following of blue-green glass and fishing float junkies, so I thought these might satisfy an itch. I have seen them on occasion, but not particularly noticed them until I saw this group lying in a trunk amidst vintage rolling pins at the Point Pleasant Antique Emporium.
Once I noticed them, I saw them all over the Emporium…
…as well as other places, such as the Point Pavillion Antiques Center.
Historically used to insulate telegraph wires (glass does not conduct electricity well), these glass insulators are no longer in use and have become collectible. As you might expect, there are entire websites devoted to their study and sale. At The Insulator Store, some of the rarer pieces are described in language that makes them sound like diamonds or champagne; “An absolutely dazzling Roman Helmet, in a brilliant shade of green. This particular piece has loads of charm – a few faint amber wisps, great color variation and some light fizz in the ears.”
The beauty shown and described above is $173 at the Insulator Store, one of many unusual ones stocked there, including a Mickey Mouse shape! Most of the insulators I saw were basic blue or clear and quite simple, priced in the $3-$5 range.
What should you do with them, you ask? Well, one of the simplest ways to display them is along a window ledge, allowing the sun to shine through.
Turning them into small pendant lights seems to be popular too.
And another version with the insulator hanging upside down.
The Lamp Shop sells a conversion kit for glass insulators which I found in a post on Katy Elliot’s blog. There is also a link for cork sockets, perfect for turning glass jugs into lamps, so I plan on doing that to one of my great finds back in Tokyo.
And since I am now in New Jersey, why not show you how weird and wonderful it can be? Stanley Hammell has been collecting glass insulators for the past 15 or so years, but more importantly, he has been displaying them around his property in Pomona.
Trumps the windowsill display…