Insulation Once More, managers are still using glass insulators

[Trade Journal]

Publication: The Telegrapher

New York, NY, United States
vol. 9, no. 370, p. 202, col. 2-3

Prospects for Telegraph Business.-Insulation

Once More.


THE summer of 1873 is rapidly passing away, and although the season Las not witnessed so extensive a construction of new lines as those which have immediately preceded it, yet some progress has been made in that direction. As a general thing the telegraph business has been good, and the telegraph lines have been well patronized. With the fall there will come renewed activity, and we think it likely to prove one of the most successful, so far as the amount of telegraph business done is concerned, that has been experienced. The material reduction of rates, which took effect on the first of July, will probably reduce the pecuniary returns for this business, and may, very probably, diminish the profits for the season. An increase of business of course entails an increase of expense to some extent, which will, for a time, have an unfavorable effect upon the net pecuniary results.

The improvement in telegraph apparatus has increased their capacity for the transmission of business, and the improvement which has taken place in the character of the lines constructed is another important and favorable element.

In one respect the lines generally are still very defective-that is in the insulation of the wires. Despite the experience of the past, and its evident unfitness for producing favorable results, telegraph managers still adhere to glass insulators, because in their first cost they are cheaper than others better calculated for the purpose. We have argued this matter until it seems almost, a hopeless task to endeavor to instil [sic] instill some common sense on this point into telegraphic management. Even the Western Union Company, which has spent, and is constantly expending so much money to improve its lines, will persist in using a glass insulator, which, for all practical purposes, is about the worst form, even of glass insulation, which has been devised, when superior and effective insulators are available. So long as the Western Union adheres to glass we suppose it is useless to expect other smaller companies to adopt improved insulators. In this matter they seem not to be taught by science, or by more costly and troublesome results of practical demonstration. If a portion of the money which is being invested in larger wires and more substantial poles were devoted to improving the insulation of the wires, the practical results would be much more favorable. It is true that with No. 4 or No. 6 wires inferior insulation is not so vital a defect as with smaller wires of inferior conducting capacity, but even with these better insulation would, in the end, be found more economical.

Mr. CROMWELL F. VARLEY, the well known English electrician, after a thorough test of the wires of the Western Union Company, said that it was only the exceptional climate of this country that enabled them to be worked at all-referring to the defective insulation. In some respects many of the lines have been improved since then, but the insulation is as bad as ever, and likely to continue so.

In the prosperity of the telegraph lines the telegraph employes are directly and vitally interested, for upon that prosperity their compensation to a considerable extent depends. We have, therefore, no patience with the short-sighted policy which prevents the realization of the best possible results in the telegraphic business. We had hoped ere this to have seen a radical reform in this matter, but it seems to be impossible to effect it. If the combination of the telegraph organizations competing with the Western Union, which we have persistently advocated, should be effected, it is to be loped that its managers will see the necessity, and realize the advantage which they may gain in the active competition for business, by the adoption of a sensible and efficient system of insulation of their wires. Some if the railroad telegraph lines have already appreciated he importance of improved insulation, and are reaping he advantages of a judicious expenditure to secure it.


Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:December 17, 2005 by: Elton Gish;