Welcome  To:
O.hio L.ightning R.od I.nsulators

Hello, My name is Spencer. I started O.L.R.I. An Insulator web page. This site was created by a collector for collectors. My number one goal is to Preservation of Lightning Rod Insulator and Go-With Examples. I hope to enable others who enjoy the hobby a place to view and comment about Lightning Rod items and Insulators.

If you visit my page, need help, or have a question? I will be glad to help in any way possible.

Buying - Sale Page
Lightning Rod Insulators

If you are serious about selling your items, I would love to buy your Lightning Rod Insulators.

Please, email me at

If you would like to purchase some of my extras, click below.


          I live 20 miles north of the original home of Gray & Hemingray. The facility was located on 68 Walnut street 
 Cincinnati Ohio. Cincinnati is a hot bed for LRI items. Hemingray, J.H. Weston, Chamber's. J Spratt along with others set shop in this fine town and surrounding Tri-State area of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.


These are what I call TallBoys. Due to the Height of 2-1/4 inch tall or more.



Hemingray was located in Cincinnati from ca.1848-1852. He lived in Glendale, Ohio for several years and later died of a stroke in this village home. Hemingray Glass Co. started out as Gray & Hemingray and changed several times. In 1870 the name became Hemingray Glass Company. Hemingray produced more styles of insulators than any other manufacturer in the world. Hemingray then transferred to the Covington Kentucky facility on Madison street, staying some 38 years before moving to Muncie Indiana in 1888. 
As the plant was coming to completion in 1892, a  devastating fire claimed most of the facility. The factory was filled with storage boxes of glass products. The packing material used was straw to protect the contents, and surly contributed to the fire getting out of control quickly. The Hemingray's promptly rebuilt the facility and operated it until 1933 when it merged with Owens Illinois. Insulator production remained untill1966. One of the great digs is still going on in and around this bygone factory. Every year new finds are un-earthed from the ground.

The two smaller ones are less than 1-1/4 Inch tall

Little is known about Hemingray's contribution to the production of lightning Rod Insulators, but many will swear that it happen due to color variants that match pole-type insulators.
Advertisements from 1850-1851 and 1852: located in "The Williams' a Cincinnati directory of business", directly mentioned Lightning Rod Insulator production by Hemingray.
Time after time....I have noticed how the Hemingray "Pin Type" insulator colors fit the lightning rod insulator colors.
Hemingray Glass Co. would be the place to have them produced.
Just one of many possible links to the Hemingray heritage.
Hemingray, J.H. WESTON, SPRATT and CHAMBER'S, may have started producing Lightning Rod Insulators as early as ca.1850, but again little is known.

I always look forward to any and all information you may have about Lightning Rod Insulators. Several committed people are unearthing clues from the past. Several Lightning Rod Insulators have been recovered from the old Hemingray Factory Area. This is an very important find in un-locking who produced LRI's.

James Spratt

James Spratt applied for his patent # 7069  7076 and 8930 along with many others in Cincinnati Ohio as a resident of Hamilton County. Example of dark greenish aqua mushroom side-tab. See pictures for
 Spratt lightning rod insulators.

  Several different mold varieties exists besides the mushroom. 
(1) "Spratt" on one side / "Patent" on the other side. "1850" on the face of locking tab.

(2)  " Patent Feb. 5th.1850"  one side / "Patent" on the other.  No date on locking tab.

An Example Of Two Spratt Masonry Hangers.
The one on the left is for a "Baby Sprat" and the one on the right is for a Large style Spratt.



  Josephus C. Chambers owned the Chambers' National Lightning Protection Company. It was located across the Ohio river in Newport Kentucky. His popular lightning rod insulators started with his  8/14/1877 patent # 194,220.  Chamber's Lightning Rod Works produced 4 CD's of insulators. They also incorporated mounting brackets, tips and lightning rod. 

The 4 CD's are
124.5 "WINGTIP"
      317 "CANDLE STICK"     
317.5 "POOR MAN'S or BELL "

I truly believe that Hemingray produced lightning rod insulators for Chamber's. The embossing on the Chamber's Lightning Rod Insulators are identical and used on Hemingray Pin Type insulators.  

J.H. Weston

J.H.Weston Co. produced Lightning Rod Insulators from it's Cincinnati, Ohio facility located on 6th street in Cincinnati, Ohio. The facility was shared with the "Ohio Lightning Rod Works". The J.H.Weston LRI is embossed as follows on lower body just above lower skirt " J.H. WESTON " on one side and " CIN O "on the opposite side. Colors found are many different Aqua shades, dark blue, light blue, light green, clear, light gray, SCA, pink and purple. J.H. Weston produced side-tabs LRI'S also.


        S.C.A. Weston                        Here are a few of the Weston's I have found.                 Mountain Dew Weston


The center 3 groves were designed hold the insulator proud from the rod and to dissipate the expanding  Gases or heat as the Lightning strike traveled down the Lightning Rod.

                             Hickock Lightning Rod Insulator  

March 29, 1859: Russel Hickok of Fort Edward, NY.   Patent for a glass lightning rod insulator design.


George W. Otis
of Lynn, MA patent for a lightning rod insulator.  This patent was implemented in the Otis "Wiggle top" insulators most likely made by the Sandwich Glass Co.
Fisher Style


Thanks to Jim Colburn and Terry Drollinger for these pictures
Darius Stebbins
 of Wallingford, CT patent for a lightning rod insulator design.
The Glass Lightning Rod Insulator Examples are ULTRA rare.



Thanks to Jim Colburn and Terry Drollinger for these pictures
John A. Enggren
of Brooklyn, NY patent for a technique of mounting lightning rod conductors to insulators.
The Glass Lightning Rod Insulator Examples are CRAZY ULTRA rare.


Thanks to Jim Colburn and Terry Drollinger for these pictures
Lightning Rod Tips
  I like to collect Lightning Rod Tips. The tip was the highest point of a lightning rod system. The tip was there to accept the lightning strike. Tips were a tell to the customer that the system worked.  HOW?  The tip was bent into weird shapes by the heat of the lightning strike, and was generally discoloured by the bolt. They come in many shapes and materials. Most tips were cast in a mostly bronze mix of metals. I like the "branch" tip as it looks like a tree branch. This is one of the oldest types out there and it's origin goes back to ca.1850. 



Mounting Hardware
I also would like to share a few of many mounting equipment examples used in the field. Pictured are different mounting rings, connectors, tripods and copper clad star lightning rod.

  Below are some examples of mounting rings. I believe that the very left one is the oldest style. Weston's generally used the third one from the left due to the thicker than average bottom base flange of the insulator. The one on the far right generally anchored newer styles such as the last of glass cross tops and Porcelain.


 Star Lightning Rod

During my adventures, I have come across many different types of metal lightning rod. There are many different types, thickness and materials. I have found round rod, twist rod, star rod, cooper clad star rod. This is just some of whats out there. I'm sure you will find the different rod interesting.

The green rod is a steel rod to start. The green color comes from a very thin copper jacket that is compressed around the rod. This is not a solid copper rod and no solid copper rod was made in the star rod. I have seen solid copper in round rod. 
I always chuckle when seeing some of the advertisements lightning rod companies issued. I like to call them "scare tactics" . Advertisements show how companies frighten potential customers into buying systems.

Some of the pictures I have seen over the years.
Seems that the authors of this material prayed on the fears of their customers.

Lightning Rod Balls or Globes. 

Lightning Rod Balls are not considered an insulator and do not insulate or provide any isolating properties. The lightning rod ball was an attempt to squeeze a few more dollars out of the customer. The ball and other ornamental items, such as arrows and pendants, were a way to personalize a dull system. The customer could pick from different colours and shapes, this is were the real money was made by the salesperson. Other's claim its a thermal device. If a lightning strike had accured, gasses would expand inside the globe and break it informing the owner of the stike.

Why Do Lightning Rod Systems Disappear ??
  Here are my top 4 reasons listed below.

#1  The Weather, Mother Nature, Storms and freeze Cycles.
#2   Poor Asset Management. Failure of owners to repair and up-keep.
#3   Re-Roofing the structure found many systems being ripped off. 
#4   The advent of aluminium and vinyl sidings.

Installing these sidings required systems to be removed. They were often broken during removal and spare parts were impossible to come by. Often owners refused to reinstall the systems on a newly sided home. Out with the old in with the new.

    How does a Lightning Rod System Work?
A Lightning Rod System does two major things.

(1) A Lightning rod system grounds the structure, building or house. Since the building or home is grounded, the chance a Stringer emerging from the structure to meet a Step Leader is greatly reduced and not likely. This process needs to happen for a lightning strike to occur

(2) Lightning Rod Systems protect buildings, homes or barn...etc. A structure that does take a Lightning strike will most likely channel the energy to the ground without damage. The Lightning Rod Tip needs to be the tallest objects of a roofing system to be effective.

The Lightning Rod Tip being of highest elevation, will accept the lightning strike and direct the energy along its journey to ground.

Connected to the tip is a run of cable or rod. There are also Lightning Rod Insulators. The insulator supports and anchors the cable or rod. The insulator holds the cable or rod 2 to 3 inches from the surfaces of the structure. In doing so, reduces the chance of an energy transmission to the structure.

Located at ground level is the Grounding Rod. It is made of copper and comes in 8, 10 and 12 foot lengths. It is driven fully into the ground near the foundation. The cable or rod coming down the building or home is connected to this grounding rod. So in theory......Lightning strikes the tip. The energy travels down the insulated cable to the grounding rod and is harmlessly dispersed to ground via the earth.


Lightning Rod Insulator
colors are abound and lightning rod hunting is just a blast. I have meet the best and worst people during my hunts.  I cant express the life threatening stunts I have done to pick a LRI. I hope you enjoy this page, lightning rod insulators and go-withs.  Please use the message board to inform me of events, finds or if you need a technical question answered. I enjoy hearing from lightning rod collectors.
New Finds !
I was able to add these to my Lightning Rod Collection.
Thanks, Doug And Marla
Great People

New Finds.  Pulled 32 glass LRI and a complete lightning rod.

Thanks, Spencer

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