Identifying beach glass insulators

By Kirsti Scott

insulator sea glass

Is that a piece of an insulator?

Knowing the different parts of an insulator can help you identify a beach-found piece. Though each type of insulator has its own quirks and not all insulators have all of these features, most have a round dome on top, threads inside the pinhole where the insulator was attached via a wooden pin to the telephone pole, and a skirt.

beach glass insulator dome

If you find a piece with the threads, the rim, or drip points, that makes it easy to identify. Below is a diagram with some of the features typically found on vintage glass electrical insulators.

parts of an antique glass insulator

Most insulators are thick glass, and most were aqua in color, though they came in a full rainbow of colors and huge variety of shapes and sizes.

glass insulators found on the beach

sea glass insulators

Photo credits, top to bottom, left to right: Michele Lane, Karen Clark, Kirsti Scott, Ann Primozich, Jodie L. Goller Greene, Lisa Wirth, Marylou Forrest, Lori Christofferson, April Hegner, Mary McCarthy, Deborah Schlosser, Suzanne Davis, Bunky Calvert, Lauri Allen, Mary McCarthy, Suzanne Davis.

Learn more about antique glass insulators in Glass Insulators: Conducting fascination for over 100 years.

This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine November/December 2021 issue.

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