A Collector's Guide
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CD 154, Telegraph
* The listed total comes from Lynchburg production records, and may not include pieces made in clear and clear-tinted colors (see Birmingham).
Colors: Lt. Blue Aqua, Blue Aqua, Lt. Aqua, Aqua, Green Aqua, Ice Blue, Lt. Cornflower Blue, Blue, Teal Blue, Ice Green, Lt. Green, Sage, Aqua Sage, Green Sage, Blue Sage, Lime Green, Green, Apple Green, Yellow Green, Olive Yellow Green, Olive Green, 7-up Green, Clear w/Smoky Gray tint, Clear w/Green tint, Clear w/Pink tint, Clear w/Sage Green tint, Clear w/Amber tint (Straw), Clear w/Smoky Amber tint, Clear w/Yellow tint, Clear with Olive tint, Off Clear, Ice Blue w/tiny bubbles, Lime Green w/tiny bubbles, Lt. Blue Aqua w/milk swirls, Milky Aqua, Green w/milk swirls, Gray tint w/milk swirls, Ice Green w/Amber swirls
Lynchburg CD 154 was originally made from reused Gayner CD 154 molds and then from molds made by Lynchburg. Some have suggested that the Lynchburg-made molds were actually reworked from Gayner's CD 153. While this is likely, there is no hard evidence of this (see The Elusive No. 48). As the Lynchburg molds showed signs of wear (see Blotches), some were replaced by molds of a slightly different shape. It is uncertain whether these were reworked from other molds or were made new by Lynchburg.
In any case, as a result there are three types of CD 154.
Type I molds are retooled Gayner CD 154. There were 12 original Gayner molds and all of these exist with Lynchburg retooling. These are fairly easy to identify since they are slightly shorter than the Lynchburg molds with a squatty look. On the Gayner Type I molds (left silhouette) the crown is not quite as tall, is rounded, and slopes more sharply to the wire groove lip. On Lynchburg Types II and III molds (right silhouette), the crown is slightly larger, flatter, and slopes more smoothly to the wire groove lip. Also, on Gayner Type I molds, the lower wire groove lip is larger, giving a sharper angle to the upper skirt.
The front lettering is consistent, with LYNCHBURG in slightly uneven letters. The L logo was usually added to the top of the crown, although on some molds it is on the skirt above LYNCHBURG. On most pieces, circle blotouts that erased GAYNER are visible beneath LYNCHBURG. Normally, the entire Gayner lettering on the reverse was retained, with the mold number below NO. 44 (see photo below; the original Gayner pieces occur both with and without MADE IN U.S.A. on reverse). On at least two molds (CD 154 I, Mold G5; CD 154 I, Mold G9), the small Gayner mold number was later overstruck with a larger die stamped number.
There exist Type I CD 154s with the normal Gayner lettering on the reverse but without any lettering on the front (called No Names). These pieces may have been made by Gayner. Yet, Gayner, Lynchburg, and No Name CD 154s of the identical color have been found together on the same lines. -1- This suggests that Lynchburg may have made insulators lettered GAYNER before changing the lettering to read LYNCHBURG (see Gayner Insulators at Lynchburg?). However, this awaits further research.
In any case, there is evidence that the No Name CD 154 was a transition piece made at Lynchburg, after blotting out GAYNER but before adding LYNCHBURG. At least one No Name CD 154 exists (Mold G2) with complete reverse Gayner lettering, and with obvious yet unreadable blot outs on the front at precisely the place where GAYNER would have been. This same mold also exists with GAYNER on the front. Since it is highly unlikely that Gayer would have blotted out their own name while still making this style, it is most likely that the No Name CD 154, Mold G2 was made at Lynchburg, after blotting out the GAYNER name but before adding LYNCHBURG. There are several examples of Lynchburg making insulators with Gayner molds before the modification to Lynchburg lettering was complete (for example, CD 162 Type I, Mold G10 and CD 164, Mold 6). This is one of the few pieces that I have seen that provides clear evidence that at least some of the "No Names" of Gayner-Lynchburg styles were actually made at Lynchburg.
Type II is the most commonly found Lynchburg CD 154. These are characterized by a hefty crown and a thick, broad skirt. In profile, they are close to Hemingray's popular CD 154, No. 42, although with a more outwardly sloping skirt. They occur with both large and small lettering, and both with and without the L logo on front. The reverse lettering is fairly consistent with NO. 44 placed on the same level and between MADE IN and U.S.A. The mold number occurs in several different places, although usually either on the reverse above NO. 44 or later on the front to the left of LYNCHBURG. One mold (CD 154 II, L1) occurs with backwards 44 on reverse, although it was quickly corrected.
It is probable that Lynchburg reworked Gayner's CD 153 molds into the more popular CD 154 (see The Elusive No. 48). The crown was retained and only slight machining of the skirt would have produced the profile of the CD 154. These would have been Lynchburg's CD 154 Type II, Molds L1 thru L12.
Later versions of Type II, beginning with Mold 15, show a barely perceptible variation in the shape of the skirt (see profiles, right). Earlier versions have a fairly smooth slope from the wire groove to the base. Later variations begin with a sharper outward curve just below the wire groove and then slope more vertically toward the base. While not certain, it seems likely that these later molds were made in the Lynchburg shops rather than modified from pre-existing molds. This variation may have been a response to criticism that the Lynchburg CD 154 No. 44 did not precisely match Hemingray's No. 42 (see below). Some have suggested that this later variation of Type II was actually made by Birmingham Glass Works after buying the Lynchburg molds and equipment in 1928, but there is no evidence for this (see Birmingham Questions). From what little we know of Biringham's short production of insulators, this is unlikely. At present, this variation has not been given a separate designation.
Type III is the least common Lynchburg CD 154, scarce although not rare. It is characterized by the same crown shape as Type II, but differs noticeably in the shape of the skirt. While the skirt is the same diameter as Type II, a thicker lower wire groove lip allows the skirt to slope to the base at a much more vertical angle. This makes it appear that the skirt is narrower, thus the nickname "narrow skirt." While there are only 8 of these molds confirmed, another has been reported (I have not personally confirmed it). There may exist a full set of 12 of this type. Examples of this type often occur with color swirls of green in aqua glass and with tiny seed bubbles, which is a feature of late Lynchburg production.
Some have suggested that Type III was in fact reworked Type II to repair deteriorating molds, a reality evident on some Type II pieces (see Blotches). This is entirely possible, although it would require considerable machining and re-facing the sides of the mold to result in the new shape. However, if the mold surface were deteriorating, and the sides were machined to provide a new smooth surface, that could result in alteration of the skirt profile. Re-facing the old molds would be cheaper than creating new molds. Some pieces of Type III clearly show machining marks on the skirt (see CD 154 III, Mold 9). Yet, this could be from making the mold since other molds show similar tool marks. It is also possible that Type III were made new in the Lynchburg shops to replace worn molds. However, this would be expensive at a time when the company was struggling with costs, so this seems less likely.
Another possibility is that the slightly altered shape of Type III was Lynchburg's response to complaints by some customers that the profile of their No. 44 did not exactly match Hemingray's popular No. 42.
While this particular complaint was registered after the company had ceased production in May, 1925, it indicates the complexity of the business climate and the dominance of Hemingray. Lynchburg had consistently reworked their molds to more closely approximate what Hemingray had established as "standard" profiles for popular insulators, so it would be reasonable to assume that they had already begun responding to this criticism with the No. 44 Type III before the plant shut down (see above, Type II variation). Lynchburg's CD 154 Type III is closer to the skirt profile of Hemingray's No. 42 than their CD 154 Type II, although the lower wire groove lip on the Lynchburg was still larger than Hemingray's (see comparison below).
I am inclined to think that Type III molds are resurfaced Type II molds, either to repair damage or to alter the profile, or both. However, at this point there is no specific evidence to determine the origin of Type III molds or their purpose.
Comparison of the Gayner CD 153 (left), the three types of Lynchburg CD 154, and Hemingray CD 154 No. 42 (right).
As noted above, some have suggested that CD 154 Type II and Type III Lynchburg molds were reworked entirely from Gayner CD 153 molds. The similarity of the skirt profile as well as the nearly identical crown certainly suggest that (see above, left). However, there is no hard evidence to prove it. It does seem probable given Lynchburg's proclivity for recycling obsolete molds.
There is a style No. 48 that appears in Lynchburg production records and advertising. Some have suggested that this is simply another designation for the CD 154 No. 44. However, a careful analysis of the evidence suggests that the No. 48 was a CD 153, produced by Lynchburg without the LYNCHBURG lettering (see The Elusive No. 48).
There also exist unlettered CD 154s in clear tinted colors similar to Lynchburg lettered pieces. They also somewhat resemble the later skirt variation of Type III Lynchburgs. Some conclude that these were produced at Lynchburg. However, except for possible transition pieces at the beginning of production (see Gayner Insulators at Lynchburg? and The Elusive No. 48), Lynchburg consistently put their name on products, even to using the very crude scrawled lettering on early CD 162 (see CD 162 I, G5). It is certainly possible that in the last days of the company when finances were tight they put pieces into production without lettering.
Yet it is more likely that these pieces were made by another company. While very similar to Lynchburg's CD 154 in the later variation, the profile of these pieces is significantly different than any of the three types of Lynchburg CD 154. There are further slight differences in the shape and width of the skirt. It is possible that these were made by Birmingham Glass Works from reworked Lynchburg molds (see Birmingham Questions). Removing the Lynchburg lettering by machining the sides of the skirt could have produced these differences. However, my hunch is that these these were not made by Birmingham, although at this time there is no definitive evidence either way.
Lynchburg produced 680,938 CD 154. They were made throughout Lynchburg's history, and along with the CD 162 No. 36 were some of the first and last insulators made by Lynchburg.
There are 43 confirmed molds of CD 154: 12 Type I Gayner molds, 22 Type II Lynchburg molds (24 possible), and 9 Type III Lynchburg molds. Both Gayner and Lynchburg tended to make molds in sets of 12, so it is possible that there were 12 Type II molds made (missing II L13 and II L14; see below). Likewise, if there were 12 Type III molds made, the total number of Lynchburg CD 154 molds was 48. At this time, I know of only six CD 154 molds that were retooled after being put into production: CD 154 Type GI Mold 1,Type I Mold G5 and Type I Mold 9 to add a larger mold number; Type II Mold L1 to correct an engraving error; Type II Mold L2 and Type II Mold L12 to strengthen part of the lettering.
There are examples of CD 154 that do not appear to have a mold number. However, it is likely that the mold number is obscured by the forming process or wear, since they can usually be matched to numbered molds by other characteristics. I do not know of any confirmed unique molds of Lynchburg CD 154 that occur without a mold number.
It is possible that CD 154 Type II Mold 13 and Mold 14 do not exist. I have seen many hundreds of Lynchburg CD 154s over the years and talked to dozens of collectors and have never encountered these two mold numbers. As noted above, CD 154 Type II molds beginning with number 15 have a slightly different skirt shape than the first set of 12 Type II molds. This suggests some break in mold making between mold 12 and mold 15. It is likely that molds 15-24 were made at a later time than the first set of 12 Type II molds (as suggested above, Molds L1-12 were likely made from reworked Gayner CD 153 molds, while molds L15-24 were made in the Lynchburg shops). Therefore it would be understandable if there were a skip in mold numbering. There could be various reasons for this skip ranging from inattention to the numbering sequence to molds damaged while being made. It is also possible that these two molds were not numbered. But this is only speculation without any evidence. The reality is that at this time we do not know. It is possible that these two mold numbers may eventually turn up, since as recently as 2017 previously unknown variations of Lynchburg mold numbers were confirmed.
All lettering on the molds is hand engraved, with the exception of a few mold numbers that are die stamped. These occur on molds made or modified later in Lynchburg's production.
Numbers in brackets are confirmed but lack photos at this time. Numbers in black without brackets have been reported but have not been confirmed; numbers in gray have not been reported or confirmed and may or may not exist.
Gayner Molds (all are Type I)
Lynchburg Molds Type II
* It is possible that these two mold numbers do not exist (see discussion above).
Lynchburg Molds, Type III
Molds of Lynchburg CD 154
Items in (parentheses) are assumed to exist but are not yet confirmed.
This total may not include clear tinted pieces (see Birmingham).
1. Reported by Dennis Stewart, "Collecting for Fun," in Crown Jewels of the Wire, February 2001, page 25. Available online: Collecting for Fun
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Copyright © April 5, 2018 , Dennis Bratcher
Last modified: October 27, 2017 10:29 AM