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2005 Merzoian Tailgater Show Journal by Christian Willis.

This journal was written on August 27, 2005.

At 4:30AM I started my trek up to Porterville. I arrived around 7:45AM, and was pleasantly surprised to see insulator signs marking the way! (In stark contrast to last year.) I pulled up, parked the car, and made my rounds, saying ‘Hi’ to everyone I knew. Mark Merzoian let me share his sales table so I could set out my box of insulators for sale. I ended up selling one insulator (better than none!) for $1 and gave a couple of insulators away. The rest of the time was spent perusing the tables. My first (of only two) buys of the show was a CD 145. When I picked it up it felt strange. It felt like an H.G.CO. embossed insulator, but the embossing read “HEMINGRAY” instead. Well, I turned it over on the back side and, sure enough, H.G.CO. was blotted out! Score a new embossing. Dwayne had noticed this too and had priced it accordingly, but I was happy to pay him for it. Definitely a neat transitional piece. I think it should be assigned [005] in the next edition of the price guide, since it is obviously one of the first Hemingray-embossed beehives.

My dad and Nancy showed up around 8:45 with a “present” for me. The box consisted of a full bag of cookies (a Nancy hallmark!), a “Great Gump Getaway” hat from one of our old trips, the old school pencil box containing pads of paper and playing cards from the van, and the CRE8IVE license plates, which had been given to me for my 24th birthday. This was a bittersweet occasion, however, as it meant that the old Volkswagen camper had been sold, the end of our camping era.

As the day continued, it started to gradually heat up, although the pole barn and the gentle breeze definitely kept things pleasant. [...] Later on, I brought out my CD 169 Type I, which Dwayne let me put in his display case. I had brought the piece along to show anyone who wanted to see one in person if they hadn’t.

Over at Mike Guthrie’s table, I noticed he had two boxfulls of spools, including two CD 1090’s (they’re the “overgrown spools”, the ones that look like a CD 185 but has the wire groove higher up). And then I was back I was to the old dilemma. Was the one with no embossing a Hemingray or a Brookfield piece? Normally I would just have to sigh and pass it up, but this time there was something to compare it against. The B-embossed Brookfield piece was right next to it, so I decided to try and tackle the problem. Even at first glance, both insulators were drastically different, which was a good sign. The “B” was a richer dark aqua, smoother glass with “dull” edges, and appeared to be a 3-piece mold (according to Dwayne Anthony’s observations)—there was a top piece and two halves, but appeared to have no bottom piece. Now compare this to the No Embossing version, which had a slightly lighter dark aqua, a few amber swirls, “sharp” mold edges, and that rough outer texture that you get on some of the CD 185 Jeffreys. And it was a four-piece mold. Well, I hummed and hawed, called up Bob Stahr to get his opinion, and finally the chances got the better of me. Plus Mike gave me a good deal on it, so I couldn’t refuse. After I got home I emailed photos to Bob who said it looked just like his 1090 in Hemi Blue, so I feel reassured now. But there will always be that 1% of me that doesn’t know for sure! So thanks a lot, Hemingray, for not embossing half your spools! :P You gave them style numbers in your catalog, why couldn’t you have embossed them?!

Soon after, lunch was served. This time, I was actually one of the first in line! The food was excellent, as always. Then came the raffle, and soon after that the show started to wind down. We said our goodbyes and head off our separate ways. Until next time!

Nancy, Bud & Christian enjoying the shade!

Doing my thing!

Another shot from afar.

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