On Nov 23rd, 2002 I attended an auction in Henry County, VA where there was a large number of insulators for sale. From what I could gather from several sources, the owner had purchased the insulators from a telephone company auction many years ago somewhere near Axton, VA. and has held onto them trying to make big money from their sale. Well as things turned out the guy has had some major illness and a divorce so everything went on the block including the insulators. I will never know how many there were as it was hard to even count the barrels since they were covered with junk. The best I could count was that there were about 70 drums in various states of rust. Some clearly had freeze damaged glass in them and other barrels had large rusted out places. We have estimated that there must have been 25,000 to 30,000 insulators and you can't imagine how many that is until you only have 30 days to move them off of the property in winter weather and the site is 60 miles from home. I definitly had the "Oh no what have I done" feeling that first morning of going through them and panic set in. Luckly with the help of Tommy and Chris and the loan of a dump truck one day we were able to get the lot sorted and removed by the deadline.
Most of the glass was clear 1940's - 60's stuff with some nice stuff mixed in. It was like walking miles of 1960's poles only they were packed in barrels. Just imagine if you packed miles of railroad glass in barrels today, there would be a lot of Hemi 42's, 45's and Whithall Tatums and only a few jewels mixed in. That is what it was like. Then add in rough treatment and freeze damage to where a lot of glass went to the dump. I would be surprised if we kept over 3 barrels out of 70. We sold some to an antique shop and gave a dump truck load to a guy and a pickup load to another (after we had sorted through it). The following is a list of the different types that we ran across, some of it really surprised us such as a variety of Canadian pieces. All I know is that I got very tired of mud, rusty ice water filled barrels, and clear insulators of any style.
Insulators found at the Auction
102 B.T. of Canada
108 Dominion <D>
121 A.T.&T. Co.
C&P Tel. Co.
C.D.&P. Tel. Co.
H. G. CO.
Also a wide variety of porcelain.