Beautiful but Forgotten?

by porchlightportland

One of the things that I love about working at Porch Light is that not only am I constantly surrounded by beautiful things, but I am able to get a glimpse into times past.

So often, items that we re-purpose or re-use for pleasure or aesthetics were once vital for everyday life. We love them for their beautiful lines, rustic charm and unique creativity, but do we remember their original use and purpose?

One such item is the glass insulator.

(Insulator for sale at Porch Light North $8)

While I was immediately attracted to their smooth glass and beautiful colors, I was wondering what exactly these shiny beauties were used for.

These insulators were used to top telegraph lines in the mid 1800’s, when telegraph’s were the main form of communication. They were then used for phone and power lines. These insulators went through many incarnations;  but at the height of their use, they were made of glass and were threaded on the inside. They were attached to the top of poles by being screwed onto a metal or wooden pin.

(image via

(image via

Once a neccessity for a productive society, these insulators are now a collectible antique. I myself have a few pretty blue ones displayed in my dining room. I love some of the creative ways others have refashioned them into modern home

(image via sfgreenlabs)

(image via somethingcreatedeveryday)

While at times I long for the simplicity of the times past, I know I am a modern girl at heart and could not live without the ease of modern communication and technology.  Thankfully, with a little creativity and inspiration we can all pay homage to these beautiful but forgotten treasures.