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September 28, 2016 - New Error Hemingray Bottle Discovered

As you probably know, I specialize in collecting Hemingray embossing errors. It's really fun to find a new embossing error that's never been seen before. It's even more fun when it's a go-with (not an insulator)!

In the 1890's, Hemingray manufactured Crême de Menthe bottles for the Rheinstrom Brothers. It's a unique bottle design with an eagle's claw for a neck. Each one has hand-painted lettering on the front. What makes this one so special? They misspelled it as "Grême de Menthe"! Take a look at the photos. Perhaps they had just finished painting one of the similar "Good Luck" bottles and weren't paying attention? We'll probably never know, but 120+ years later, it's finally been noticed.

Be sure to check out Shaun Kotlarsky's excellent site Hemingray.net for more photos of this bottle design and other colors it was made in. This bottle is a rather basic clear color, but what this bottle lacks in color it sure makes up for in embossing!

    Greme de MentheGreme de Menthe

May 7, 2016 - Hemingrays For Sale Updated!

My Hemingray insulators For Sale section has been updated! Since I'm gearing up to sell some of my insulators, this page is now database-driven (it's no longer a manually updated HTML table). This not only allows me to better control my sales inventory, but it also allows me to place my for sale listings within the Hemingray Database itself! So now if I have a CD 128 for sale, it will show up both on my For Sale page, and also on the detail page for CD 128.

February 16, 2016 - Time for a New Direction.

It's hard to believe that I've been collecting Hemingray insulators since 1993. Now, 23 years later, I've decided to take my collecting in a different direction. I have over 800 Hemingrays, and over the years I accomplished collecting my top 3 wants (CD 169 Type I, CD 243 Hemingray 88 and CD 291). So, what is there left to collect? Sure, I could keep trying to get "one of everything", but let's be honest... I'm just one of many Hemingray collectors out there, and that's just not realistic. I simply can't afford the most expensive pieces and I'll always be at a geographic disadvantage (Colorado is nowhere near where Hemingray manufactured their insulators!)

Plus, my family takes priority. My kids are starting to grow up, and I need to focus on them. I've certainly enjoyed collecting Hemingray insulators, and I'm not going to stop. But I will be shifting my focus away from the more expensive pieces, and keep collecting what I love: embossings and errors. And maybe even a sub-specialty or two... I have a real soft spot for mine insulators and spools!

Is this the end of Hemingray.info? I don't think so. I'll still update the site with new embossings, and add photos as I can. Plus, I'm still very much involved in the hobby as the NIA's Information Director.

That said, I'll be working on selling off several pieces from my collection. If you're interested, I'll be posting them occassionally on ICON, and at some point I will be creating a sales list and listing them here as well under the For Sale section. Check back in the coming months!

June 29, 2015 - More Hemingray Database Improvements

A lot has been happening behind the scenes this month. The following improvements have been made to the Hemingray Database so far:

- Improved navigation! All Hemingray Database links are now easily accessed via drop-down menus at the top of any database page
- Advanced Search: Now you can search embossings that have been added or removed from previous price guides
- Added 74 new and updated embossings from Don Briel's 2015 insulator price guide, including the newly designated CD 280.1
- New mold variants have been added for CDs 115, 162, 220, 237, 280, 283, 302, and 1049
- 30 new photos added.
- All new embossings for 2015 are denoted by a "NEW" icon next to each.
- Personal notes about specific embossings (such as ones that I doubt exist) now appear underneath the embossing.

February 5, 2015 - Improved Advanced Search

It's been long overdue, but I've finally expanded and improved the Advanced Search page! Search criteria has been logically broken into 2 sections (CD and Embossing). The following search criteria have been added:

- Search CDs by Usage Type (e.g. Telegraph, Telephone, High Voltage, etc.)
- Search CDs by Rarity Scale
- Search Embossings Containing Specific Text (e.g. find all insulators misspelled "Hemigray")
- Search Embossings by EIN (Embossing Index Number)
- Search Unlisted Embossings

I've also made several improvements to the code behind the search results page. Test it out and let me know what you think. More coming soon!

August 18, 2014 - New Rarity Scale feature

A lot of people visit Hemingray.info to find out how common or rare their Hemingray insulator is. Up until now, there really wasn't a way for a casual collector to separate the rare ones from the common ones.

Now, each CD has been assigned a Rarity Scale number, from 1 (most common) to 10 (least common). These are numbers I have assigned based on over 20 years of specializing in these. They may not all be perfect, but they're darn close!

1. Extremely Common (millions known)
2. Very Common
3. Common
4. Fairly Common
5. Uncommon
6. Very Uncommon

7. Rare (dozens known)
8. Very Rare (less than a dozen known)
9. Extremely Rare (2 or 3 known)
10. Unique (only one known)

Eventually, I will also be adding a rarity scale for individual embossings as well, but that's a rather large undertaking for another time. Also, I will be improving the Advanced Search section soon, to allow for searching based on rarity and other factors. Stay tuned!

July 12, 2014 - A bunch of updates!

A lot has happened in the past couple of months, both on the collecting front and the web site front! Let's start with the web site first.

1) 43 photos have been added to the database! But wait, there's more: If you click on an image, rather than popping up in a new window, it will now pop up on the same page (known as a "lightbox" effect). And, it gets better: you can use your keyboard's arrow keys to advance to the next picture! I've been wanting to do this for years, and finally found an elegant and simple solution for that, courtesy of this fine gentleman. I was so excited I gladly donated to his project!

2) I've created a new "special interest" section called Matching Molds. These are insulators that were made from the same mold even though they have different embossings (typically because Hemingray would reuse the molds years later). This makes for another fun facet to collect, and as I find these matching molds I'm adding them here.

3) A new page has been created for Insulator Nicknames. Over the years, the collecting hobby has come up with some humorous and "colorful" nicknames for some of the insulators, many of which were only made by Hemingray. I figured it was high time to document these! The "Hobby Nickname" field now also shows up on the individual CD profile pages (such as "Teepee" for CD 157).

4) 42 embossings that were removed from previous price guides (due to them not being verified) have now been added to the database. In the past, embossings that have been previously removed have been re-discovered, so it's valuable info to have readily available.

5) Bob Stahr asked me to draw the 2014 award for Best Use of Power Insulators, presented by the Greater Chicago Insulator Club at the Farmington National. That drawing has been added to the Event Drawings section.

6) More insulators have been posted to the For Sale section. If you're looking for some uncommon Hemingrays, check it out!

Now, on the collecting front: I attended the Colorado Springs show in June and the Farmington National just last week. It was especially memorable for me because I got to go on a road trip with my dad Bud! This was the first show we had attended together in years. I was also honored to join the National Insulator Association Board of Directors as the new NIA Information Director for 2014-2016. I'm essentially in charge of promoting the hobby, and I'm excited at the possibilities! More on that to come.

May 10, 2014

Not a whole lot has been going on lately, but a recent search of eBay yielded one of the Hemingray signs that may or may not be fake. That's prompted me to add it to the Fakes & Reproductions page. Even though it's technically not an insulator, it's Hemingray-related, and I think it's important enough to be listed here to warn others about its possible status as a fake.

On the collecting front, I'm planning to attend the Colorado Springs show in June, and the National show in July in Farmington, New Mexico. I'm excited about attending this National for several reasons (one of which I cannot divulge just yet). I'll be doing the artwork for the award for the Greater Chicago Insulator Club's Best Use of Power again (thanks to Bob Stahr!) But by far the biggest reason I'm excited to be attending this year, is my dad Bud will be joining me! We haven't been to a show together in years. Since he's the biggest reason I got so involved in this hobby, this will be an especially memorable show for me. Hope to see you guys there!

September 8, 2013 – Mysterious Hemingrays, New Finds Updated, Photos Added

One page I've been wanting to create for a long time is Mysterious Hemingrays, which details several Hemingray insulators that have been rumored to exist since the 1960's, but so far have never been seen. Check it out!

Also, as promised back in March, the New Finds section has been revamped, and several more new embossings have been added! New embossings are now tied to the Hemingray Database, so they only need to be added in one place for consistency. I've also added a "Date Added" column, so Don Briel (the price guide publisher), and anyone else interested in seeing new discoveries, can see what's been added at a glance.

Last but certainly not least, Bill & Jill Meier over at Insulators.info were very kind and filled several holes in my embossing collection, so a total of 31 photos have been added to the Hemingray Database.

More improvements to the database are also on the way, including:

1) Embossings that were removed from past price guides. Ever wonder why an insulator might have [010] and [030], but skip [020]? Well, [020] was in the price guide once upon a time, but got removed because the embossing was never verified. It's good to have this data around for historical purposes, and who knows? The embossing might be out there, just waiting to be verified and re-added to the next price guide!

2) Known colors for each embossing. This has been a highly requested feature, and I think it's an important one to add; I've just been trying to figure out the best way to go about it. It also makes updating the web site much more complex each time a new price guide gets released (typically every 3-4 years).

3) Known embossing styles for each embossing. Are you a hardcore embossing collector like me? Then you'd probably want to know the exact embossing style for a particular embossing (e.g. prismatic, script, stamped, etc.) This is more of a long-term project for me, but the idea is there and it will come to fruition some day!

March 24, 2013 – Photos and More Photos

Now that my database is in order at home and all my insulators are photographed, I've added 88 additional photos to the Hemingray database! This has been long overdue, but better late than never!

Also, I'm in the process of revamping the New Finds section. It will soon be database-driven as well, so the page will always be in-sync with the other pages, and will hopefully make it easier for Don Briel (the price guide publisher) to see the newest additions. Stay tuned!

June 17, 2012 – See You at the National! + New Embossings Added to Database

It's hard to believe that the last National insulator show I attened was in 1996 (Long Beach, CA). WOW! Well I'm certainly looking forward to seeing old friends and new at the upcoming Kansas City, MO show, which runs from June 22-24 (more information here). If you're in the area, drop by and say hi! I'll have a sales table and a display set up.

Also, the new embossings added to the Briel 2011 Price Guide have been added to the Hemingray Database. If you haven't purchased one of the new price guides already, I highly recommend it! Don Briel did a truly excellent job with these and it's well worth the purchase price in my opinion.

It should be noted that there are still several Hemingray embossings and colors I've discovered that remain unlisted, in addition to listings that need to be corrected. They can be found in the New Finds section. Hopefully they will be listed in the next price guide!

November 7, 2011 – The Return of Laugh Lines

After a 2+ year hiatus, I've decided to resume production of my Laugh Lines insulator comic. To coincide with the return, I've overhauled my Laugh Lines section of the web site. Here's what's new:

1. The Archives section is now completely database-driven (just like the Hemingray Database portion of the web site).
2. The comics are 25% larger to take advantage of more modern browsers and computers.
3. There is a new "RANDOM" button that will allow you to view a random comic.
4. If you don't understand a comic, now you can click on a "SPOILER" link which will explain the comic.

Just as a reminder, Laugh Lines 1-100 is still available in a limited edition book for only $9.95 (30% off). I only have a few left!

Now that my Laugh Lines section has entered the realm of databases, this opens up a whole new world of possibilities! I will be working on further improving the Laugh Lines Database such as adding keyword tags, a search feature, ratings/favorites, and grouping by series. Stay tuned!

February 20, 2011 – Identify Your Hemingray Section Gets an Overhaul

I'm excited to announce a simplified and improved Identify Your Hemingray section! I rebuilt it from the ground up, and now people wishing to identify their Hemingray insulators need only answer 3 simple questions. Based on the total number of Hemingray styles currently known (around 170), it wouldn't make sense to make the search too much more granular, so I think this is a good middle ground. Try it out!

Here are some other changes that I've made behind the scenes:

1. Updated the About Me page to include a section on "About This Website".
2. Doubled the size of several photos in the Displays section. They were way too small!
3. Added date checking and input validation to the Hemingray Insulator of the Month page. Now, if a date is out of range or this month's insulator hasn't been added yet, it will always show the closest month available. No more erroneous blank pages!
4. The Top 20 Hemingray Insulators page has been updated. New "nickname" labels have been added below the insulators to help people identify them, e.g. "Hemingray - 42". This will probably eventually make its way into the Identify Your Hemingray section as well.

That's it for now! I've also been working on updates over at the NIA 2011 National web site, so take a look if you haven't already!

October 2, 2010 – Improved Hemingray Insulator of the Month Section

A few minor changes have been made to the Hemingray Insulator of the Month section: easier navigation of the past months (including a drop-down menu to access all of the past months), and the insulator image is now scalable to take full advantage of people's different screens and window sizes. Thank you CSS! (Regular HTML doesn't allow for such a thing.) Of course the picture can still be clicked on for a full-size view.

I will be continuing to update and improve the database and features over the coming months, so stay tuned!

February 1, 2010 – Behind The Scenes

I've made a few changes here and there on the site, including updating the Fakes & Reproductions page, and adding my newest discoveries to the New Finds section. I also just got finished converting the Hemingray of the Month section into a database-driven format for easier monthly additions (and to keep developing my database skills, of course!)

Sales of my limited edition Laugh Lines book has picked up, thanks largely to including one free book with every insulator purchased in my For Sale section. (That's a plug, by the way! Get one while there's still some left, and make our move to Colorado that much lighter! Please?)

Yes, we're moving to Colorado towards the end of the month. So on the collecting front, things have slowed down a bit due to us saving money. Hopefully we'll be getting a house soon!

August 21, 2009 – New Fakes & Reproductions Page

This has been a page I've wanted to do for awhile. On places like eBay, Hemingray insulators abound that have been stained/ painted, or "crackled", and some reproduction pieces have surfaced as well. This page was created to educate the public and fellow collectors that there are some fakes out there and buyers should beware. There are currently about 10 different types of alterations or fakes that I have outlined in the new page: check it out here.

June 1, 2009 – Hemingray.info Gets A Facelift (v3.0)

It's hard to believe it's been 5 years since the last redesign of Hemingray.info. The site hasn't changed drastically, but I did simplify the site logo/header bars on each page, and eliminated the navigation menu on the left side. This allows for more room horizontally. Here are the most major changes I have made to the site:

1. The Hemingray Database is now the prominent focus of this web site. In my previous designs, I put more weight on my personal pages, such as Laugh Lines, my journals and photos, etc. But now that the Hemingray database has grown to become the largest portion of this web site, I feel it only right to give it the most focus, especially on the home page.

2. The Journals and Photos sections have been combined into one section, Journals & Photos. As most of my journals are accompanied by photos, I felt it would be logical to keep them together. Also, I noticed a lot of people visiting the "Photos" section, perhaps expecting pictures of Hemingray insulators but getting my personal photos instead. Hopefully this will help eliminate any confusion.

3. Hemingray Insulator of the Month is back! The old incarnation was located in the now-defunct Photos section, and was updated more like once every couple of years (whoops.) The new Insulator of the Month feature is now rightfully located in the Hemingray Database section, and will feature a specific embossing each month. Given that the database has hundreds of embossings, this guarantees fresh content for decades, literally (should the site last that long!)

There have been a lot of other minor updates as well, and lots more are planned for the coming months. Stay tuned!

May 7, 2009 – Boy am I MAD! (IN U.S.A.)

This past week was very exciting for me in the world of insulator collecting. I ran across a brand new (and rather blatant) CD 115 Hemingray embossing error: (F-Skirt) HEMINGRAY-10 (R-Skirt) MAD IN U.S.A. {Note spelling} SDP. It comes in a pretty Hemingray blue, and is probably from the early 1920's. Based on this being the first one found, I would imagine that not too many of these made it past quality control before the error was fixed.

It will be interesting to see if any insulators show up with a crammed "E" between "MADEIN", or if they just blotted out "MAD" and re-embossed "MADE" over it, since there is very little space between words.

This just goes to show that there are still embossings to be found out there, so keep your eyes peeled! And remember, if you have a Hemingray embossing error that's on my Wanted List, I will pay up to twice the book value!

For older news, please visit the What's New Archive.


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