Things Not Generally Known, insulators made of glass

[Trade Journal]

Publication: The Telegrapher

New York, NY, United States
vol. 8, no. 53, p. 420, col. 3

Things not Generally Known.


TELEGRAPHIC readers of the Western Union official organ are truly under obligation to the scientific contributor or contributors to that journal, for the novel information which is of late being imparted to them. Our attention has been particularly attracted to the valuable information contained in an article in the last number of that paper, on the "Progress of the Telegraph." What telegraphic reader of the Journal could have been previously aware of the astounding fact that "telegraphic stations must be united by one insulated wire, either carried overland or under the sea?"

Again, we are enlightened as to the method of insulation. "The insulation of land lines is insured by attaching the wires to insulators, fixed on posts, some twenty feet high." This fact is worthy of special consideration, and certainly has never before been generally known. Then, again, we are informed that "insulators are of all shapes and many materials." We were not aware before that at 145 Broadway anything but glass was considered as possessing insulating properties, and although BROOKS, FARMER, PARLEY and other unintelligent electricians had pretended to use other substances for insulators, we supposed that they were regarded with a contempt which disqualified their productions from recognition even in the columns of the official organ. However, the faith in glass insulators is justified to a certain extent by the subsequent statement that "the insulator most generally used in the United States is made of glass, and is supported by a wooden pin." But, alas I a devotion to truth compels the humiliating confession that even with glass insulators and wooden pins "the leakage in a long line, notwithstanding the best insulation (glass, with a wooden pin,) is considerable." This is accounted for, however, on the cumulative principle, and is evidently not altogether the fault of the glass insulator and wooden pin. "The loss at each post is insignificant, but when hundreds or thousands are taken into account, it becomes decided" (notwithstanding the superior merits of the glass insulator and wooden pin), so that, in extremely wet weather, in some cases merely a fraction of the total current that sets out reaches the earth at the distant station."

We are sure that no telegraph operator, however he may have toiled and worried in his attempts to transmit and receive business over lines blessed with the glass insulator and wooden pin, could have imagined that they were at fault, before this candid, statement appeared in the columns of our contemporary.

We are also indebted to our contemporary for the information that the invention of Prof. MORSE is yet in its infancy. We have a faint recollection of having heard something of the kind before, but still it may, to all intents and purposes, be regarded as an original proposition. But what can we say to the further statement that it has "already conferred inestimable benefits upon the people of more than half the globe, without having occasioned a pang of sorrow to a single human being?" The operators who, notwithstanding the boon of the glass insulator and wooden pin, have toiled, fretted and struggled in wet weather to obtain intelligible signals, must certainly have experienced occasional pangs of sorrow. If we are not, mistaken, we have heard some of these misguided beneficiaries of glass insulators and wooden pins energetically and emphatically curse the telegraph system and its invention, and the fate that condemned them to work an instrument and a line, notwithstanding the glass insulator and the wooden pin, so provocative of profanity and the cause of so much trouble and annoyance.

We are informed, at the commencement of the same article, that "it is curious that just ninety, years after Dr. FRANKLIN identified lightning with electricity, by weans of his kite, MORSE should have schooled electricity to send messages almost instantaneously over wire at great distances." Why the ninety years interim should make this curious we are at a loss to imagine. It is said that there is a reason for all things, and perhaps the author of "Progress of the Telegraph" can, in some future number, furnish the explanation of this at present incomprehensible circumstance.

We congratulate the telegraphic readers of the official organ on the novel information which, is being imparted to them through that journal. As they become familiarized with these primal telegraphic facts, they may reasonably anticipate loftier scientific flights and more abstruse information, in quantities adapted to their gradually enlightened comprehension.


Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:September 18, 2005 by: Elton Gish;