I recently worked with a client who told me he wanted to incorporate his collection of vintage telegraph insulators into a new project. I'll be honest, I had no idea what they were, but after a little research I completely understood his fascination with these colorful glass gems.
If you love seaglass or colored glass bottles, you'll love vintage telegraph insulators. Glass and ceramic insulators were originally manufactured in the 1800s to protect telegraph lines and secure them to poles, and then later used for telephone and power lines. The bulbous fixtures come in a variety of shapes and sizes, a wide spectrum of colors from deep amber to ocean blue, and a range of textures such as bubbly, frosted, clear and swirly.
Because of the large quantities of glass insulators used over they years, they're fairly easy to find at a low cost. They can be found at garage sales, garden stores, Etsy, and eBay for just a few dollars to upwards of $50 for rarer varieties. They can simply be displayed, mounted as hooks and knobs, converted into planters, salt & pepper shakers, and of course candle holders and light fixtures.
1. Antique Insulator Pendant Lights, $149.99 at RailroadWare
2. Rare Unique One Of A KInd Found Art Vintage Glass Insulator, $18 at Etsy
3. Steampunk Bedside Lamp, $59 at Etsy
4. InsulatorWare Cacti & Bonsai Planter, $27.99 at RailroadWare
5. Pen Holder & Paper Weight, $24 at Etsy