Insulator collectors to gather in Merritt
Bob Scafe has almost 7,000 insulators displayed in his field and a story for nearly every one.
Some of them he’s scavenged himself by climbing old telephone poles, while others he has traded for or purchased from overseas.
Point to a piece and he’ll tell you what county it’s from, what year it was made, and which company produced it.
He has some, for instance, made in occupied Japan, and others made in England for use in Uruguay.
A set of marker insulators used by German troops in occupied France during the Second World War are among his most recent acquisitions.
“When the Germans captured France, they put up telegraph lines and they put up insulators with stripes on them so they knew which lines were used for what purpose,” said Scafe. “As far as I know, I have the only set in Canada.”
Scafe purchased these pieces from Bellingham, Wash., resident James Bergman who has made 27 trips to France to collect insulators.
Scafe is not alone in his passion for these glass or porcelain pieces first designed to insulate electric telegraph wires. Based on an online survey, he figures the hobby got started in the 1950s and has been growing ever since.
In fact, insulator collectors from as far as New York will be gathering in Merritt for Bob and Bev Scafe’s annual Insulator Show this weekend and locals are invited to come view their wares.
The Scafes are expecting between 60 and 70 collectors to arrive this week for the show scheduled for Sept. 8 and 9.
Each year insulator enthusiasts set up tables to display their pieces, swap stories, make trades and buy new treasures from each other.
“I’m like a crow — if it’s bright or shiny or different, I’m interested,” said Scafe, explaining how he acquired his rare marker insulators at last year’s show.
Locals are welcome at the event and Scafe said Merritt residents wishing to sell insulator related items such as telephone or telegraph equipment, bottles, etc. are welcome to set up a table free of charge.
“If anyone has insulators that they wish to learn more about or determine the value of their insulators, they can bring them to the show where there will be numerous folks who can be of help,” he said.
The show will take place on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon. The Scafe’s property is located at 3045 Spanish Creek Place, which is located along Coldwater Road, between Pooley Avenue and Fox Farm Road.
For more information contact Bob at 250-378-2787.