Baum Ringed Styles
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Evidently the concentric ring feature was used next. I suspect Lima had difficulty making the long petticoats and Baum decided to use his concentric ring idea instead. Apparently Lima was not able to form the concentric rings in the second and third shells. The next insulator Lima made for Baum was probably M-4600. Lima even cataloged this style in their first catalog along with the identical style, M-4600A, but without the rings. M-4600 has 13 rings under the top skirt. It is a rare style. Only 8 are know unmarked and 5 reported with incuse marking, LIMA, N. Y. This insulator is a well-made insulator in stark contrast to M-4604. Paul and Mike found both M-4604 and M-4600 on the same line.
The factory of Lima Insulator Co. was destroyed by fire in 1908. Evidently Baum turned to R. Thomas & Sons Co. to produce an insulator similar to the M-4600 he was getting from Lima. In fact, at least one unmarked Thomas M-4600 is known and it is in Bill Rohde’s collection. This specimen has 11 rings. We do not know if this is the first insulator with rings Thomas made or maybe this particular specimen was produced later since the glaze color is darker without the mustard color seen on earlier Thomas insulators.
At any rate, Thomas must have had the exclusive right to the ring feature. They made four styles with different numbers of rings. Below is a summary of the known ringed styles:
(Thomas): 9 rings
(Thomas): 10 rings
M-4415 (Thomas): 5 rings
M-4415 (Thomas): 6 rings
(Thomas): 10 rings
(Thomas): 11 rings
(Lima): 13 rings
Most of the Thomas insulators found with rings (except M-4600 which has a dark brown glaze) have the early glaze that is a beautiful combination of mustard and reddish brown. These are some of the most attractive early multipart insulators. Note that all the ringed styles are four part styles with recessed fourth skirt. The ringed insulators have been found only in California. Collectors have captured a few ringed multis over the past 10 years and they are probably all gone now from the lines. I believe that Bob Jackson was the last person to retrieve a couple of these beautiful and very desirable classic multipart porcelain insulators as late as 2002.
Bill Rohde's M-4415A (left) and M-4415 (right). The M-4415A is identical to M-4415 except it does not have the concentric rings.
Bill Rohde's M-4325C with 9 rings (left) and M-4415 with 5 rings (right).
Bill Rohde's M-4382 with 10 rings.
Bill Rohde's display of ringed specimens in his collection at the Long Beach, CA National in 1996. Left to right: M-4600 unmarked Lima (13 rings), M-4415 unmarked Thomas (6 rings), M-4415 unmarked Thomas (5 rings), M-4600 Lima (13 rings) on original pin and crossarm, M-4415 unmarked Thomas (10 rings), M-4325C unmarked Thomas (10 rings), M-4600 unmarked Thomas (11 rings).
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