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Origin of the Lynchburg CD 112
This is an edited version of an article that appeared in Crown Jewels of the Wire, "Varieties of Lynchburg Glass, Part II," August 1986, p. 27.
The Lynchburg Glass Corporation struggled to show a profit throughout its short history. In fact, it struggled just to break even! One of Lynchburg's tactics for reducing overhead was to reuse secondhand insulator molds. This eliminated the considerable expense of designing and tooling new molds. Of course at the same time this practice provided us collectors with something to do!
One problem in the reuse of molds was the suitability of the styles of the available molds for the current market demands. Obviously, Lynchburg was not going to have ready access to state-of-the-art molds and designs from Hemingray or Whitall-Tatum, so the company had to make-do with the molds they could obtain. One of the best examples of their creativity in re-tooling available molds to meet market demands was the Lynchburg No. 31, CD 112.
The Lynchburg No. 31, although assigned the CD number 112 and broadly fitting into this design category, is actually a unique design created in the Lynchburg shops. The style exhibits features of both CD 112 and CD 113 and comes closest in design to the early Hemingray No. 12, CD 113, although minus the top lip on the upper wire groove.
In fact, on a mailer sent by Lynchburg to prospective customers to illustrate their line of insulators, an illustration of a Hemingray No. 12 was used to depict the Lynchburg No. 31. The illustration, as are most in the mailer, was obviously taken from a Hemingray catalog (a 1921 Hemingray catalog was in the Lynchburg records acquired by Mr. N. R. Woodward).
However, the key to their true origin is the crown top shop markings which appear on all Lynchburg No. 31s: either numbers, often backwards, such as "01 or "2" or letters such as "XO" (or "OX"). Apart from mold numbers, Lynchburg did not use shop markings on any insulators (except for Lynchburg's CD 145, which were also reworked Brookfield molds).
The only crown markings used by Lynchburg were the occasional placement of the oval trademark there (CD 162, CD 121, CD 154) and the company style numbers of CD 281 and CD 306. This fact suggests that the molds are secondhand. The crown markings, especially the "X0", immediately suggests a Brookfield origin for the molds since this was a common shop marking used by Brookfield (which also appear on the Lynchburg CD 145). But Brookfield, even with their three major varieties of CD 112s (cf. Cranfill and Kareofelas, The Glass Insulator, 1973, p. 39) and several minor variations, never produced a CD 112 like the Lynchburg No. 31.
While it is possible that Lynchburg acquired CD 112 Brookfield molds and then altered them into the Lynchburg design, this is highly unlikely. There would be little reason for Lynchburg to go to the expense of altering a CD 112 mold in the minor ways in which the Lynchburg No. 31 differed from the Brookfield No. 31. It would have been much more economical to simply re-cut the Lynchburg logo over the Brookfield embossing as was done with the No. 36, CD 162, or the No. 43, CD 145, molds acquired from Brookfield.
The conclusion at this point is that Lynchburg re-worked another Brookfield style into the CD 112, No. 31. Since the shop markings on the top (crown) 1/3 of the Lynchburg mold indicate that it was left unaltered, we can compare it with Brookfield styles. The size and nearly hemispherical shape of the crown, as well as the shop markings suggests a certain variety of the CD 102 pony as a likely candidate.
By the time Lynchburg began insulator production in November of 1923, the small CD 102 pony style was already obsolete. While a popular early style to the turn of the century and long a Brookfield staple for short distance and rural phone lines, Hemingray's No. 9, CD 106, and No. 12, CD 113, were increasingly popular (due to several factors including Brookfield's war-era problems).
When Brookfield ceased production in 1920 the CD 106 and CD 113 had already become the standard short line telephone insulators. When Lynchburg acquired the Brookfield molds for the CD 102 they had an obsolete insulator that was not marketable. Since they already had an insulator from the Gayner molds to compete with Hemingray's No. 9 (Lynchburg No. 10, CD 106), they needed a double groove pony to compete with Hemingray's popular No. 12. So, the conclusion is that the Brookfield CD 102 molds were machined to new specifications which yielded the Lynchburg No. 31, CD 112.
A careful examination of the No. 31 and a comparison with some Brookfield CD 102s supports this conclusion. The slope of the sides of the two are nearly identical and measurements of the unusually thick middle section of the No. 31 are exactly what would be required for the CD 102 mold to be retooled to allow the bottom wire groove on the CD 112. Also an examination of the base of Lynchburg No. 31s shows that the sides of the insulators extend between 1 and 1.5 mm past the base rim all around the base, a result of the sides of the mold being machined out into the wider style.
Too, the many minor variations of the Lynchburg No. 31, mostly in the width and shape of the upper wire groove lip, the size and shape of the crown, and the height of the insulator (none of the molds of Lynchburg No. 31 are identical) would be consistent both with the wide variety of Brookfield CD 102s and the fact that modifications were being made to existing molds. The conclusion, then, is that the Lynchburg No. 31, CD 112, is a result of the modification of the Brookfield Pony CD 102.
The lettering on the Lynchburg No. 31 is, for Lynchburg, amazingly consistent. The front embossing is usually 7.5 mm high and reads "LYNCHBURG No. 31" while the reverse embossing is the familiar "L" in a large oval (13 x 19 mm) followed by the mold number, then "MADE IN / U.S.A." in two lines. This consistency suggests that the molds were all lettered by the same mold engraver at roughly the same time. There are nine numbered molds of this style and one mold that is not numbered (this was actually CD 112, Mold 2 that was produced for a short time before the mold number was added). There are no embossing errors on the No. 31.
There are four kinds of drip points found on the No. 31. The more common one is small and cone-shaped slanting slightly inward (CDP:sm), suggesting that the points were added to an originally smooth-based mold (the Brookfield CD 102s were all SB). There are always 28 and are uniform in size.
A much scarcer type is larger and cone shaped but more vertical (CDP:w). There are 28 that are very irregular in height and placement on the rim.
Another scarce type is a larger drip point that is cylindrical at the base and rounded at the tip. There are usually only 27 of these points and are frequently of slightly varying sizes.
CD 112s also come with Nipple Drip Points.
Lynchburg CD 112 does not occur without drip points (SB). (See Lynchburg Base Types)
The Lynchburg No. 31 comes in a limited variety of colors due to a rather short production run. The most common color is a light sage green, which occurs in all mold numbers. The Lynchburg CD 112 also occurs in green, light green aqua, aqua, green, a darker near-emerald green, yellow green as well as crystal clear and clear with a pinkish or smoke tint.
Lynchburg made over 175,000 CD 112 in just eleven eleven weeks of production, and not every day in those weeks. That attests to their success in the modification of obsolete molds.
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Copyright © April 5, 2018 , Dennis Bratcher
Last modified: February 10, 2015 9:20 AM