Hemingray carnival glass

Hemingray Carnival Glass

The topic of Hemingray and carnival glass is one that keeps coming up. I did a quick overview on it in the Summer 2014 Drip Points Magazine, but thought it would be good to revisit the topic with a bit more detail. This article was inspired by a discussion on Facebook about “Is this a real carnival”

Carnival glass (general history)

Carnival glass is made by spraying metallic oxide on warm glass after being removed from the molds and is still warm.
Carnival glass originated as a glass called iridill, produced beginning in 1908 by the Fenton Art Glass Company.
The name Carnival glass comes from the fact that it was actually given out at carnivals.
Most U.S. carnival glass was made before 1925, with production in clear decline after 1931. Some significant production continued outside the US through the depression years of the early 1930s, tapering off to very little by the 1940s.

Hemingray carnival glass

Hemingray made both insulators and bottles in carnival glass. Hemingray produced all their carnival between 1932 and 1936. For their insulator production they made insulators in carnival glass because it is slightly conductive; this would reduce radio interference created from AC power lines. Carnival was also used because of its low leakage by making the insulator slightly resistant.

Hemingray applied their carnival coating from bottom up on smaller insulators; this is why the tops are lighter and bottoms darker (Examples of this can be seen on CD 162s CD 154, etc). They did however also apply using other methods that create a darker carnival.

Hemingray bottles in carnival are done for decorative purposes. They did water bottles, utility bottles and beverage bottles. The bottles are either ice blue or 7-up green before the coating is applied.

A word on fake Carnival Hemingray Insulators

Over the years there have been several fake carnival Hemingray insulators made. The glass is real but the coating was applied after the fact by a third party. Some are easy to spot as they are styles Hemingray did not produce or outside the above mentioned 1932-1936 range. Two examples of all known units are fake are, CD 257 and CD 1049.

Since we know they did their carnivals from 1932-1936 (based on date codes on known real Hemingray specimens) there are only a couple configurations of mold markings that Hemingray carnivals can come in. No mold and date code (1932), just a “O” (1933), O-4 (1934), O-4. (one dot, 1935) and O-4: (two dots, 1936). Any other configuration would be outside of this range. One general note about the 1933-1934 produced Hemingray insulators, they may or may not have a mold number on the back. Anything 1935 and on will consistently have mold number.

Being in this date code range dose NOT automatically mean the insulator is real. It’s just a good diagnostic tool to eliminate some.

If your insulator is with in the correct date range for Hemingray carnival, the next thing to look at is the consistency of the application. If it is on smaller lower voltage insulators such as a CD 162, 154 etc. then these would of been most likely been sprayed from the bottom up, giving the top a lighter coating and bottom a darker coating. Some insulators such as power insulators like the CD 252 and CD 281 have a thicker (darker) coating and may not have been sprayed in the above mentioned manner.

Non Hemingray Specific ID Techniques

Check for chips on the insulator. If there is carnival coating in the chip it is most likely applied after leaving the factory.
A spotty or blotchy pooling of color is also a sign of post factory application.
Check for cracks, sometimes when the insulator is reheated to apply the coating they will crack.
For more info. on fake carnival glass be sure to see http://www.insulators.info/books/fake/section2.htm

17 Known Insulator styles in Carnival

CD 118 - CD 122.4 - CD 137 - CD 142 - CD 142.4 - CD 154 - CD 162 - CD 164 - CD 168 - CD 214 - CD 230 - CD 230.1 - CD 232 - CD 252 - CD 281 - CD 295 - CD 1052

6 Hemingray made bottles in Carnival

Water Bottles: 1Pt and 1Qt wishing well design.
Utility Bottle: Universal home bottle
Beverage bottles: No embossing with just a dot bottom, Sun Punch, Hammers (7-Up color glass), Wolverine Bottling Works.

Nine carnival glass CD 230 Hemingray D-512s in use!
My Image
My Image

CD 142 TS-2
CD 142

The following document is a “Provisional Specifications” from “The Western Union Telegraph Company Engineering Department” form March 16 1935.

It explains the design of the CD 142 TS-2 insulator.


March 16, 1935


PURPOSE AND DESCRIPTION: The purpose of the TS-2 Insulator is to provide a greater resistance to leakage than is obtainable from our present standard double petticoat insulator. This is done by treating the surface of the insulator to make it highly resistant and then protecting a portion of the inner surface against dirt.

The protection is afforded by the metal insert or bushing which is screwed tightly into the lower part of the insulator. As can be seen from the accompanying drawing, the bushing clears the cob and pin and is in contact with the insulator only at the threaded portion. Behind the upper part of the bushing is a dead air pocket into which dirt particles enter only with difficulty. As long as this surface remains reasonably clean the high insulation should be maintained.

INSTALLATION: These insulators may be handled and mounted in the same way as our standard insulator. However, the following precautions for insuring a good installation should be taken:

  1. In handling these insulators and in distributing them along the railroad right of way, care must be taken to avoid subjecting them to dirt, mud, water or any other contamination.
  2. They must not be mounted on split or broken cobs or on pins upon which long scales of rust have formed. If defective cobs or pins in poor condition are encountered, they should be replaced.
  3. If existing cobs are fit for reuse, they should be cleaned of splinters, cocoons or other matter adhering to or projecting from them. A film of dirt on a cob, unless of unusual thickness is not objectionable.
  4. Before each insulator is mounted, the lineman should carefully examine the inside to see that no dirt, twigs, straws or other foreign matter has collected which would bridge between the bushing and cob and thus short out the protected path.
  5. If by accident or otherwise a bushing becomes loose in an insulator, it should be tightly screwed back.
  6. No cracked insulators shall be used. If found they shall be discarded and the bushings salvaged.

Stacks Image 13279
CD 118
Stacks Image 13308
CD 137
Stacks Image 13300
CD 142
Stacks Image 13316
CD 142.4
Stacks Image 13332
CD 154
Stacks Image 13340
CD 162
Stacks Image 13348
CD 164
Stacks Image 13356
CD 168
Stacks Image 21332
CD 214
Stacks Image 13364
CD 230
Stacks Image 13372
CD 230.1
Stacks Image 13380
CD 232
Stacks Image 13388
CD 252
Stacks Image 13324
CD 281
Stacks Image 13396
CD 1052
Stacks Image 13412
Pint Wishing well water bottle
Stacks Image 13428
Wolverine Bottling Works, Detroit, MI
Stacks Image 13420
Sun Punch, Indianapolis, IN
Stacks Image 13436
Universal Home Bottle

For a complete list of all known Hemingray made Carnival glass insulators see this page.

I did an article on Hemingray carnival glass for Spring 2015 Drip Points Magazine. Check it out!

Photo Credit:
Raven Kotlarsky: Sun Punch Bottle, Universal Home Bottle, CD 154, CD 168, CD 230, CD 230.1, CD 232, CD 254, CD281, CD 1052
Christian Willis: CD 118, CD 142, 142.4
Bill Meier: CD 137, CD 164
Matthew Willett: CD 162
Paul Plunkit: CD 214
Rodger Lucas: Pint Water bottle
Bob Stahr: Wolverine Bottling Works bottle
Kevin Jacobson: CD 230s in use

Wikipedia > Carnival Glass > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnival_glass
Bob Stahr > Bottle Info., TS-2 Specifications (Via. Crown Jewels of the Wire, September 2001, page 11) > http://goo.gl/ApYKcL
Christian Willis > Hemingray Mold Date Codes > http://www.hemingray.info/database/mold-datecodes.html

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