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E.C&M Co S.F. CPRR glass telegraph insulator, c. 1875.
The original insulators along the CPRR route in Utah were Brooks' ramshorns. A few years later, c. 1875, the ramshorns were replaced with E.C&M's glass insulators that were manufactured in California. The back side of the dome has a silver dollar sized flake that extends to the wire groove. There are no cracks or fractures. The base is in pretty good condition with a couple of flakes that may or may not be factory made. All embossing is present. The pinhole is tilted off center. Color is dark aqua, there is a good mix of bubbles dispersed throughout the insulator. The insulator stands just over 4 1/8 inches in height.
The abbreviation E.C.&M stands for "Electrical Construction
and Maintenance Company." They were organized on Dec. 23, 1870 and incorporated
on Dec. 28, 1870 in San Francisco. The factory and salesroom were located at
134 Sutter Street between Montgomery and Kearny. The company apparently went
out of business in 1877.*
Reference: "Insulators: A History and Guide to North American Glass Pintype Insulators" Vol. 1, by John and Carol McDougald. 1990.
Images and description courtesy of Dale Nielson.
*However, the currently existing California Electric Company states that "We can trace our business lineage to the formation in 1870 of the Electrical Construction and Maintenance Company of San Francisco. Off-shoots of this firm became the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company and the American District Telegraph Company."
Holabird Associates reports that: "Following the completion of Western Union Telegraph Company’s reconstruction of all telegraph lines within the Pacific Division by 1877, the company moved their offices to New York and broke up the old construction division formerly known as the Electrical Construction and Maintenance Company. A new company was founded named “The California Electrical Works,” under private ownership, and it would continue to supply the West with all manner of telegraph and telephone apparatus, specializing in private telephone line construction and supply. During the fall of 1878, the business shipped all materials for the construction of the world’s first long-distance telephone line in Nevada County. ... "
An article "George
Solon Ladd" by Fritz Kettenburg from "INSULATORS - Crown Jewels
of the Wire", February 1978,
page 4 explains that "One of the most varied and creative careers in electricity
on the west coast belonged to George S. Ladd. He was especially well known in
the field of electrical
communications beginning with the telegraph, and finally by firmly establishing
the use of the ultimate invention of his time: the telephone. ... The year
1857 found him tapping out messages for the California State Telegraph Company
later transferring to Stockton, and then into the big city of San Francisco where
more opportunities awaited. During the latter part of 1860 ... the California
State Telegraph Company ... was now ready to proceed with the construction
western half of the first
transcontinental telegraph line.** George Ladd became assistant superintendent
under James Gamble in the new organization. Upon completion in October
1861, Ladd personally handled the first telegraphic messages exchanged between
San Francisco and Salt Lake. ... When in 1867 the Western Union Telegraph Company
leased all the main lines on the west coast, George S. Ladd was secretary-treasurer
of the California State
Telegraph Company, which then became known as the Pacific Division of the Western
Union Telegraph Company. In 1868 Ladd and Stephen D. Field, nephew of Cyrus
W. Field of Atlantic Cable fame, organized a telegraph supply house specializing
in the construction of
telegraph lines. They called it the Electrical Construction and Maintenance Company
of San Francisco, and it was incorporated December 28, 1870. It was the only
company of its kind on the west coast at that time having the necessary hardware
to construct private and commercial telegraph lines. It was this company that
supplied the CD-123 insulators embossed E. C & M Co S.F. ... " [More]
**The first transcontinental telegraph, allowed telegraph communication with the east, putting the Pony Express out of business, and was useful in organizing the CPRR construction, but it was not the later telegraph line constructed along with the Central Pacific Railroad in Utah in 1869 using Brooks Patent insulators that were replaced with the above style glass insulators.
> G.J. Graves notes that the glass insulators that replaced the Brooks ramshorn insulators "are still around. A few years back ... I noted two still stuck in a tree that was used for a pole."
Other E.C.& M.CO. and other early telegraph insulators: