Fake and Reproduction Hemingray Insulators  
Not all Hemingray insulators are the Real Deal. There are many different kinds of alterations, fakes, reproductions and commemoratives that have been produced over the years. This page will detail the specific reproductions and alterations that have been identified on Hemingray insulators.                   Altered and Fake Hemingrays:
1. Crackle Glass
2. Painted or Stained
3. Etched or Sandblasted
4. Irradiated ("Nuked")
5. Mechanically Altered
6. Fake Carnival Glass
7. "Insulcats"
8. Hemingray Sign
Reproductions and Commemoratives:
1. NAJ Hemingray - 19
2. Salesman Miniatures
3. McDougald Miniatures
4. Lauckner CD 162 H.G.CO.

Altered and Fake Hemingrays

1. Crackle Glass Hemingrays

"Crackle glass" is a term used to describe insulators that have been intentionally heated up and then immediately cooled, causing internal fractures in the glass. These insulators (often clear) are then frequently painted/stained with bright colors such as red, yellow, blue, etc. to make them look "pretty", such as the ones pictured on the right. Clear Hemingray insulators are common victims of this practice because they were made in such abundance. These insulators are basically destroyed and have absolutely no monetary value.

2. Painted or Stained Hemingrays

In what is becoming a more and more common occurrence (especially on eBay), common clear Hemingrays are being painted or stained vibrant colors, such as bright yellow, red, blue, violet, etc. Some even have 2 or 3 colors all on the same insulator! One of the easiest ways to tell if a color is fake is to check the embossing. If the insulator has a mold and date code, it was produced after 1933 and therefore after Hemingray stopped making brightly colored glass (with the exception of amber and carnival) and therefore it's a fake color. All of the insulators on the right were originally clear and have been stained or painted. They may look pretty, but they're not worth a cent.

3. Etched or Sandblasted Hemingrays

Recently, Hemingray insulators have started appearing on eBay with sandblasted/etched logos on the glass, such as the dome of this CD 122 shown on the right. Presumably, these were intended to be souvenirs, commemorating whichever line or area they were found on. Whether these insulators truly came from those lines is anybody's guess. However, one thing is for certain: these sandblasted/etched logos are not original to the insulator and so it is considered to be an altered piece.

4. Irradiated ("Nuked") Hemingrays

Some insulators are exposed to radiation to alter their color. While less commonly seen in Hemingray insulators, they do exist, so be warned. Two such examples are pictured on the right. Please visit the NIA web site for more photos of irradiated insulators (see links below). Note specifically the insulators manufactured by Hemingray, including the ones labeled "H.G.CO." and "Dec 19 Pat".

Irradiated Purples
Irradiated Blues and Ambers

5. Mechanically Altered Hemingrays

Sometimes, people will cut insulators apart, or put mismatching pieces together to make a completely new fantasy insulator.

One such style, shown on the right, is nicknamed the "Baby Muncie" because it resembles a CD 303/310 Muncie Type. It consists of two real Hemingray insulators: the bottom piece is a CD 122 Hemingray - 16 with the top cut off at the wire groove; the top piece is a CD 241 Hemingray - 23. On some examples, they have even filed off the trailing numbers, leaving only "Hemingray - 1" and "Hemingray - 2".

There are several other types that have shown up over the years:

6. Fake Carnival Glass Hemingrays

Hemingray produced many styles of insulators with a carnival glass coating, typically within the period of 1932-1936. However, there have been at least a couple of styles (most notably the CD 257 "Mickey Mouse", shown at right) that had this carnival coating applied to them after they were manufactured. It's not always easy to tell a legitimate carnival from a fake one, but here are a couple of tips:

1) Hemingray carnival was often applied from the bottom at an upwards angle to the insulator. This results in a thicker coat of carnival on the underside and lower section of the insulator, and little to no carnival on the top or dome of the insulator[2]. Hemingray insulators with a perfectly uniform application of carnival over the entire glass surface should be examined very carefully.

2) Check for chips and wire rubs in the glass. If these are coated over with carnival, it's most likely fake.

For more thorough information on real versus fake carnival glass Hemingrays, I would encourage you to read Mike Guthrie's Handbook for the Recognition and Identification of Fake, Altered and Repaired Insulators, Section 2: http://www.insulators.info/books/fake/section2.htm

7. Hemingray "Insulcats"

An "insulcat" is an insulator that has been reheated and then stretched and reshaped to give it features that vaguely resemble a cat. Sometimes they will glue "googly eyes" and/or whiskers onto the head to make it look more like a cat. These are typically made out of common clear Hemingray insulators (such as Hemingray 16, 17, or 45), but aqua insulators have been used as well, such as the example shown on the right. Aside from being a novelty, these have little value.

8. Hemingray Sign

While this isn't an insulator, it should definitely be noted here. So far I've seen about 6 or so of these signs being sold online over the years (primarily on eBay). They measure approximately 15" x 14".

There are two styles known. The first style has "Agency" in dark blue, and an apostrophe in the maker's mark "NAT'L ENAM. CO. CIN. O." The back of the sign is also enameled. Some believe these to be authentic signs.

The second style has "Agency" in black, and no apostrophe in the maker's mark "NATL ENAM. CO. CIN. O." The back of the sign is bare metal, and "rusted". Almost everyone agrees this style is not authentic.

Personally, I strongly doubt the authenticity of both sign styles for the following reasons:

1) The main Hemingray Standard logo on the sign was used in a Hemingray print advertisement from 1904, and as far as I know, not since. That would date this sign to no earlier than 1904.

2) I can find no historical references to a National Enamel Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. If this sign does indeed date to 1904 or later, Hemingray would have already moved their operations from Cincinnati to Covington, KY and Muncie, IN. Why would they order enamel signs from a company in Ohio? Surely there were other sign manufacturers closer to them.

3) The drawing of the insulator is rather primitive and crude. If you look back at Hemingray print ads from the early 1900's, the illustrations of their insulators were very detailed and articulate. At a minimum, they were always embossed with "Hemingray", and usually showed the threads. For a sign advertising "screw glass insulators", surely they would have shown that feature in the illustration like they did in their ads.

4) There are various other design oddities that just don't add up, at least to my eyes as a former graphic designer: Why is "Agency" at a different angle than the Hemingray logo, and the only serif font on the sign? Why isn't the insulator featured more prominently, like in all of their print ads? Why would they feature a CD 162 signal, and not one of their new styles they were promoting at the time?

Style 1

Style 2


Reproductions and Commemoratives

1. NAJ Hemingray – 19 Reproduction

The "NAJ" full size reproduction is modeled directly after a Hemingray 19 (CD 162) insulator. In December 2004, an individual by the name of Eric Johnson had this mold made. These insulators come in a rainbow of colors, some of which are very similar to authentic Hemingray pieces. Earlier versions have "NAJ 04" or similar sandblasted into the glass. The NIA issued a special notice about this reproduction. Later versions are embossed with "NAJ - 2005" on the rear skirt to prevent them from being mistaken for authentic pieces. They have been made with both RDP (round drip points) and SDP (sharp drip points). The easiest way to identify a NAJ reproduction is to examine the crown: it will have a conical, straight-sided crown that is not typical of authentic Hemingrays. Also, the embossing is generally fainter than typically found. Compare the two pieces on the right.


2. Reproduction Salesman Miniatures

Hemingray produced miniature salesman samples in the 1920's-1930's, some of which were given out at the 1933 World's Fair Century of Progress Exhibition[1]. They are essentially tiny, 1-inch-high replicas of the CD 154. Originals are only known to come in 3 colors: Aqua, 7up Green, and Amber. Originals have a crisp embossing and tiny, sharp drip points. Reproductions of these pieces have become more common lately, and have been made by Boyd Art Glass and Wilkerson Glass[3]. They come in a rainbow of colors, their embossings are often weak, and the drip points aren't as articulate. Overall, they are much poorer in quality than the originals, and the glass surface often shows striations.

Insulator Dimensions: 1" H x 7/8" W


3. McDougald Miniature Hemingrays

This private issue miniature is not technically a reproduction, since it is not molded from any known Hemingray salesman miniature. However, since these are embossed with "Hemingray" , they have been noted here. These are a miniature version of the CD 162 style, produced by John and Carol McDougald. They were produced in the following colors: 7up Green (shown), Amber, Clear, Cobalt Blue, Hemingray Blue, Purple, and Silver Carnival.

Insulator Dimensions: 1 1/8" H x 7/8" W

4. Lauckner CD 162 H.G.CO. Commemorative

Created in 2010 by Mark Lauckner of the Mayne Island Glass Foundry, this full size commemorative is modeled after the CD 162, and is embossed (F-Skirt) H.G.CO. (R-Skirt) PETTICOAT. The piece is also embossed "Lauckner 2010" on the base, and has no internal threading. These have been produced in the following nine colors: Brilliant Yellow Amber (shown), Screaming Orange Amber with Oxblood Swirls, Ruby Red, Cobalt Blue, Dark Teal Blue, Emerald Green with Olive Green Swirl, Swirled Purple, Sapphire Peacock, and Steel Blue with Red, White and Blue Swirls. The set is being sold for $195.00, available directly from MayneIslandGlass.com.

[1] http://www.insulators.info/go-withs/commems.htm
[2] http://www.insulators.info/books/fake/section2.htm
[3] http://www.myinsulators.com/steveblair/wilkerson.html

Some photos above appear courtesy of insulators.info and nia.org.

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