R. Thomas & Sons (page 2)

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M-3890A (14.5 - 12.5 - 11.5 x 20)

        M-3890A is very similar to M-3890 except the crown is a full one-inch taller.  No whole specimens of M-3890 have been found.  Badly damaged crowns have been found with New Lexington markings and one obviously made by Thomas with the marking "MAY20".  The crowns are quite different for New Lexington and the dated Thomas M-3890 and different still from this M-3890A.   It is odd that M-3890A does not have a blue-jean seam inside the bottom skirt.

        The Swan Falls hydroelectric plant near Silver City, ID has been converted into an electrical museum.  There are 30 M-3890's or M-3890A's and 12 M-3250's as part of an elaborate bus work mounted on the ceiling.  It is possible that this only known specimen of M-3890A was used in that powerhouse.  You can learn more about the museum in the Fall 2001 issue of Power Line Explorer Journal.

       Note the large wood pin still screwed into the M-3890A.  All of the seven M-3250's found in the northwest used a similar large wood pin, which were used in a powerhouse for supporting bus work, so they were protected from the effects of weather.

       This is M-3465 (12 - 9.5 - 8 x 13).  The dimensions are slightly different than those given for M-3465 (12 - 9 - 7 x 12.5) but still the same style.  Gene Condon originally had two M-3465 and traded one to Jim Colburn who I got this one from.  The pretty mustard glaze with orange mottling make it very attractive and dates it circa 1905.  It also has a blue-jean seam inside the bottom skirt characteristic of Thomas multiparts from circa 1902 to about 1912.  What makes this particular specimen even more attractive and distinctive is the unusually deep hand print on the top skirt AND the very deep finger marks under the top skirt about a quarter of the way around from the hand print (see photo below).  I've seen a lot of hand and finger prints but never deep impressions of the maker's fingers.


Deep finger impressions under the top skirt of M-3465.

        The next insulator is another one from Jim Colburn.  It is M-2261 with a beautiful mustard glaze, which dates it a bit earlier than M-3465.  This is one of the most beautiful M-2261's I have ever seen.  What makes it even more special is the extremely tiny incuse THOMAS marking on the top firing rest.  The letters are only about 5/64" tall and it is struck several times.  Note the raised ring around the cement joint.  This was typical of early multiparts and some unipart styles before about 1915.  Apparently it was an attempt to reinforce the cement joint.


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