Publication: The Charleston Daily Mail
Charleston, WV, United States
GLASS IN A FIR TREE
About forty years ago, It is said, a telegraph bracket with an insulator attached was nailed to a Douglas fir tree near Arcata, California. A few years later a falling branch badly damaged it and the wire that it supported it was removed. The tree was growing well, adding every summer to its diameter a new layer of woody material, and this growth gradually pushed out round the bracket on all sides, leaving it buried in the tree trunk.
At the end of twenty-six years the tip of the glass insulator finally disappeared from view and the only trace of it that could still be seen was a scarcely noticeable lump which looked like nothing more than a healed-over branch stub. Not long ago the tree was felled and the wood coverted into barrel staves. The scratch of the saw which happened to graze the edge of the glass, called attention to this unusual fossil.
When the bolt was split open the story became clear in all its details. The clearly defined annual rings of the rapidly growing tree form an unimpeachable historical record.
The wood of the insulator bracket is still in good condition, and the oak of which it was made has received an unintentional preservative treatment, having been thoroughly impregnated with the resin of the surrounding fir.