Brooks Insulator Used in New Hampshire

[Trade Journal]

Publication: The Telegraphic Journal and Electrical Review

London, England
vol. 3, no. 48, p. 31, col. 1-2




From a correspondent in New Hampshire, U.S., we have received the following account of the construction of an overground line lately erected there, which cannot fail to interest our readers:—

"The materials used are—the American patent compound wire and Brooks's insulator. The poles are some of the best that I have seen, but I cannot definitely say what class of timber is employed, as I am not yet au fait in the different kinds of wood which are grown here. Specimens of the compound wire I have seen in England: it is mainly composed of steel or homogeneous iron, with an envelope or coating of copper, and over this an external covering of tin. It is supposed to possess a higher conducting power than the ordinary line wires, and consequently need not be so large or heavy as they are. After the erection of the poles, with the insulators fixed to them in the ordinary way, the process of running and stretching the wire is commenced. The wire, which is prepared in coils of a mile in length, is placed on a drum (one coil at a time); this is fixed to a small wagon, and, after shackling off, away they start, uncoiling the wire as they go. The entire wiring gang consists of but five or six men,—one to attend to the wagon; two to bind in the wire to the insulators, i.e., one at a pole; and two or three for stretching the wire, which is done by hand. The horse moves off; the two men, having strapped the climbing-irons on to their legs, ascend the poles, and hook the wire on to the insulator. Speaking of these climbing-irons, they seem to me to be wonderfully good things for telegraph work, and I am surprised that no attempt has ever been made to introduce them into England, They have a spike on the inner side of the instep of each foot, and by means of them a pole is scaled as easily as if a ladder were employed, whilst they dispense with all the trouble and expense of carrying it about. The wire, being hooked into the insulator, is then pulled very tight by the two or three men whose special duty this portion of the work is, and finally bound in—by the men up the poles—with pieces of the ordinary binding wire some 4 inches in length. Each of these operations occupies almost less time than it takes me to describe them; and, although it appears next to incredible, I have seen the gang of whom I speak run, stretch, and fasten off us much as 16 miles of wire in a day,— not in one solitary instance, but on several occasions. I have never seen a wire stretched tighter with the vice; in fact, I think they err out here in pulling their wires too tight; it would never do to pull the ordinary line wires like this: however, if they weather the frost, a few ohms in the resistance will doubtless be saved! The lines are worked in closed circuit."

Climbing-irons are, however, in use in England but to a limited extent. Linemen do not like them. The compound wire alluded to in the above letter has proved itself, in New York, greatly inferior in strength to ordinary galvanized iron wire. The Police and Fire Alarm lines of that city were constructed with that wire, and the snow-storm of December 20th entirely demolished them. The wire when laid on the ground showed no trace of the copper—nothing but steel remaining, and that nearly eaten through by rust. Great efforts were made to introduce the compound wire into England, but after a few trials Mr. Culley—anticipating exactly what has happened—declined to employ it for the Postal Telegraph lines.




Keywords:David Brooks
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Elton Gish
Date completed:November 20, 2009 by: Elton Gish;