Insulator Found imbedded in Tree


Publication: The New York Times

New York, NY, United States



Thirty-six years ago a telegraph bracket and insulator was nailed to a Douglas fir tree near Avcata, Cal. A few years later a falling branch badly damaged it and the wire which it had been supporting was removed. The tree was growing thriftily, adding every Summer to its diameter a new layer of woody material and this growth gradually pushed out around 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, says a writer in the American Forestry Magazine. A few weeks ago the tree was felled and the wood manufactured into barrel staves. The screech of the saw which happened to graze the edge of the glass called attention to this unusual fossil.

On splitting open the stove bolt the story became clear in its details. The clearly defined annual rings of the rapidly growing tree forms an unimpeachable historical record. The wood of the insulator bracket is still in good condition, and the oak of which it was made received an unintentional preservative treatment, having been thoroughly impregnated with the resin of the surrounding fir. The interesting specimen went to the wood collection of the forestry division of the University of California.

Keywords:General : CD 123
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information:Articles: 2738, 10765
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:January 2, 2006 by: Bob Stahr;