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CPRR Telegraph Key
|CPRR Brooks Patent Aug. 6, 1867
Insulator for the Transcontinental Telegraph Line.
“Improvement in Insulators for Telegraph-Wires.”
The first transcontinental telegraph line of 1861 that ended the Pony Express (authorized by the Pacific Telegraph Act of 1860) was soon replaced by the multiwire telegraph line along the transcontinental railroad right of way. The telegraph lines are visible in many of the railroad stereographs. This railroad telegraph insulator, used in Utah, was manufactured for the Central Pacific Railroad using David Brooks patented design. The round top of the insulator locks into a hole in the underside of the crossbar atop the telegraph pole, using the spike on the top front of the insulator to hold it in place. A glass insulator inside the cast iron shell insulates the casing from the double hook that protrudes below to hold the telegraph wire.
of the cast iron insulator.
[Also see Bill Meier's extensive insulator patent library.]
Brook's Patent telegraph insulator as used on the Central Pacific Railroad in the 1860s. Correct in every detail. Gray metal cylinder measuring 6 1/8" long x 2" diameter, with a flat base upon which appears in raised cast letters
AUG 6 1867.
Description Courtesy Paul Hedren.
The Brooks Insulator (Fig 37) consists of a suspension hook cemented into an inverted blown glass bottle, which is again cemented into a cast iron shell, designed for attachment to a cross-arm, as in Fig. 38. The remarkable insulating properties of this arrangement are mostly due to the use of paraffine, with which the cementing material (sulphur) is saturated. It has also been discovered that blown glass possesses extraordinary properties of repelling moisture.
Engravings courtesy Charles Keith.
Michael Bliss of Fort Collins, Colorodo notes that glass U.P.R.R./Mulford & Biddle; Chester; and S.O.E.X insulators were used across eastern Utah and through Wyoming to Nebraska on the Union Pacific Railroad.
Lawrence K. Hersh notes that the Brooks insulators were replaced by Brookfield insulators, 1877 (Patent D9,858).
One Brooks insulator has been reported to have been found in an SPRR tunnel in Oregon.
One of these insulators was recently polished, giving the metal case and hook the appearance off polished brass rather than cast iron.
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