M992.6.124 | Insulator

 
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Insulator
Foster Brothers Glass Works
1858, 19th century
9 cm
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Newlands Coburn
M992.6.124
© McCord Museum
Description
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Description

This telegraph insulator was made in St. Johns, Quebec, by the Foster Brothers Glass Works. It is dated 1858, making it the earliest piece of dated glass in Canada. With the insulator secured to the top of a pole, telegraph wires were safely kept off the ground.

In Canada, the insulator was put into use in 1846 with the coming of the telegraph. The telegraph expanded in step with business, in particular with the railways, which used it to warn of trouble along the tracks. Between 1850 and 1870, the Canadian telegraph system expanded from approximately 800 km to about 32 000 km.