New Lexington (cont.)

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            It is known that N-L made multipart insulators for the Borel line in southern California, which do not have the N-L marking, but bear one or two other incuse markings.  Most of the insulators used on this line (constructed in late 1903 to early 1904) were M-3721’s made by Fred Locke.  All of the others were essentially identical insulators by made of four shells.  The difference being the short collar under the top skirt was glazewelded on the M-3721’s and cemented on the four-part N-L version, M-4325A.  The nine “kitsulator” specimens of M-4325A found along the line by Mike Spadafora bear a full-date marking from NOV 12 1903 to as late as JAN 26 1904.  All of the specimens with a 1904 date and one dated DEC 23 1903 also bear the following incuse marking:


June 17, 1890

            This is the common Oakman patent (No. 430,296) found on many glass insulators with dovetail ears (CD 257, CD 259, CD 260), eyeholes in the ears (CD 263), the Jumbos (CD 140, CD 269) or the style similar to U-408 (CD 266).  The specification in the patent was for “one or more dove-tail projections” on the crown to permit a heavy conductor to change directions.  It is obvious that the Oakman patent has little to do with the flat-topped crown of M-4325A.  The identical marking was found on at least one crown from a M-3890 along with the incuse N-L marking.  That crown is in my display.  The M-3890 crowns were found in the Niagara area.  The Oakman patent would have remained in affect until June 17, 1907.  I suspect that Knowles licensed the patent for insulators they had made for them, so they asked N-L to mark the porcelain insulators they sold to make sure they were covered against patent infringement.  The incuse patent marking is different in that it was made of sans serifed letters whereby the N-L marking used serifed letters.


This incuse marking was found on crown of M-3890.  Note the Oakman patent date of June 17, 1890.

             Another interesting marking which could have possibly been made by N-L are incuse date markings found on several U-709A’s.  All the dates are in 1907 and look nothing like the Pittsburg dates, which naturally fall later and nothing like Imperial dates, which fall earlier.  The three dates reported so far are: 2 05 07, 8 08 7 SUN, and 8 27 7 SUN.  Oddly, Sunday does not fall on either of the two dates.  August 8, 1907 is a Thursday and August 27 is a Tuesday.           

 Glaze Colors and Typical Characteristics

            Very few characteristics of N-L insulators have been noted with any certainty.  Since nearly all insulators are unmarked, it is difficult to attribute a specific specimen to N-L.  Very few unmarked unipart and multipart styles have been attributed to N-L.  The table on the following two pages indicates all known and attributed styles.  Here are a few typical characteristics that are not necessarily hard and fast, but will help in attribution of a particular specimen to N-L:

Glaze Colors:

  1. Light blonde
  2. Light sandy tan peppered with fine cinnamon specs
  3. Rich rusty tan with larger cinnamon specs
  4. Dark brown or dark reddish brown with a fine speckled appearance
  5. Unattractive flat dark metallic tan (on most with incuse marking JOHNS-MANVILLE)
  6. Black with tan highlights

 Unipart Styles:

  1. Unglazed pinhole

  2. Perfectly made semicircular threads

  3. Top of pinhole is crude and imperfect with gaps, globs of porcelain, spiral splits in porcelain

  4. Thick well rounded petticoat edges

  5. Rounded edges on crown

  6. Firing rest can be either filed off or wax resist

  7. Pinhole diameter is often smaller than normal

  8. Finely speckled glaze

  9. Triple petticoat styles can be 2-part or 3-part glazewelds

 Multipart Styles (1903-1904):

  1. Oakman patent date: June 17, 1890

  2. Full-date incuse marking in late 1903 or early 1904

  3. Fully glazed crown with no external firing rest

 Multipart Styles (after 1904):

  1. Thick well rounded shells

  2. Rounded edges on crown

  3. Crown has flat vertical sides

  4. Usually fully glazed pinhole but some have unglazed pinholes

  5. Finely speckled glaze even if black or ugly Johns-Manville glaze


 My display at the 2002 Ft. Collins National show.

U-954 with New Lexington, O. marking.

M-2260B with New Lexington marking.

M-3022 with New Lexington marking from the collection of Jeff Katchko.

The article above appeared in the Electrical World dated September 8, 1906 featuring M-4321 (courtesy of Ed Sewall).  The same article appeared in the EW dated September 5, 1908.


Following article was found in the Electrical Review dated June 6, 1908:

 New Lexington Gas-Fired Porcelain Insulators

             The New Lexington High-Voltage Porcelain Company, of New Lexington, Ohio, has adopted natural gas exclusively for burning the kilns in which are fired its insulators for transmission line service.  The insulator, being of vital importance to the transmission engineer, who desires to offer to his power users uninterrupted service, is worthy of the best efforts of both engineer and manufacturer.  The use of the gas fire benefits the insulator very materially, the company states, in two distinct ways.  First, it eliminates from the glaze of the insulator any impurities, which are found there when the insulator is burned in a coal-fired kiln.  There may be a considerable amount of metallic substance in the impurities, but the principal difficulty is experienced from the fact that coal contains sulfur, and this is deposited in the glaze on the insulator and causes it to arc over under test at a lower voltage than it otherwise would.  After this arcing, streaks may be found on the surface of the insulator, which are impossible to rub off, and are a sure telltale for sulfur in the glaze.  Second, it can be readily understood that it is easier to regulate twelve gas burners by turning a valve a little one way or the other, so that the temperature in all parts of the kiln will be the same, than it is to regulate twelve coal fires to accomplish the same result.  By using the gas fire a more even temperature is obtained throughout the kiln, and when the insulators are drawn from the kiln they will be of uniform color and vitrification, free from foreign matter in general, and have a clean and neat appearance.


A similar article to that above appeared in the Electrical World dated June 13, 1908.  Both articles featured the new M-4321.  At least five nice specimens have been found from that line.

Unmarked M-4321 found on the Duvall line which was a branch from the Snoqualmie Falls plant to the city of Everett north of Seattle.  


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