Vintage Glass insulators were first produced in the 1850s for telegraph lines, then for telephone and power transmission lines. They insulated and protected the wooden poles from the electricity coursing through the wires. They are made from glass, porcelain or composite polymer materials (nonconductive materials). That was the insulator’s main purpose. Hemingray, Brookfield, and Whitall Tatum are some of the companies who made them. Glass insulators are perfect for upcycling projects, and with their industrial style, they are an excellent material for lights, candle holders, planter or other decorations. Their gorgeous colors and decorative edging, as well as the manufacturer's markings, were works of art when aesthetics were important along with functionality. Here are some of the 30 best ideas we've found and that are made from old glass insulators.
Glass Insulator Candleholder & Tea Light
Upcycle a glass insulator as well as an old mattress spring. The spring fits quite nicely around the tapered top edge and creates a wide, stable base. Add some decorative ribbon or thread, and you've got a gorgeous upcycled candle holder. A rusty bed spring and a vintage aqua glass insulator make a cute little votive holder.
Can you picture these adorable lanterns lighting up your next outdoor party? Just add long twists of wire to create handles and hang them from the nearest nail or branch!
Who would've thought an industrial product that isn't needed anymore could become an elegant centerpiece or mantle piece?
Combine two upcycled items to create a shabby-chic candle holder!
Old wood, including driftwood, vintage barn wood, and other wood that has a lot of character like old beetle holes, termite tunnels, etc., can add a LOT of interest to these rustic candle holders. If you're worried about live critters, you can heat-treat the wood in the oven - just find YouTube videos on how to remove pine beetles from wood in the oven.
Turn upcycled old horseshoes and vintage insulators into this unique, stable, and stylish centerpiece for your table or to adorn a mantle. Beautifully rustic!
Make Vintage Glass Insulators into various Pendant Lamps and Chandeliers!
Who would've thought that thick, sturdy glass insulators could become part of this delicate, airy chandelier that could be used indoors or outdoors! It is a beautiful way to create unique artwork for your home.
Upcycle an old skeleton key and scrap wire into this curly-footed little candle holder that would add a touch of rustic elegance to any room!
- Michael Bruner
- Publisher: Schiffer Publishing
- Hardcover: 222 pages
Glass Insulator Light
Industrial, steampunk, or just flat cool! That's what this pipe-fitting and insulator lamp is. Wouldn't this be gorgeous as a set for your pallet headboard?
Add Edison-style bulbs or the latest LED bulbs to create really beautiful pendant Glass Insulator lamps!
Make a strong statement with this industrial bedside lamp made from pipes and a vintage glass insulator.
A dual-lamp bedside or desk lamp from insulators and pipes. Industrial strength and vintage beauty combined to make eye-catching lighting!
The best of upcycling! Use an old lamp base and add a glass insulator as the lampshade for a unique little lamp. This would even make a great nightlight for a kid's room without looking like a "baby's room" nightlight so your kids feel grown up!
Gorgeous pendant lamps made from different colors of glass insulators.
Here's a clever way to use a glass insulator: turn it into the lamp BASE! Add a copper lamp shade and you've got something amazing for any room of the house. Could you see these hanging over a pool table?
Old-school or modern industrial style - it's up to you when you use Vintage Glass Insulators in your lamps!
A modern industrial lamp - again using the insulator as the base, but a shiny lamp shade makes it look very modern.
A back-to-back Hemingway Glass lamp could rival any beautiful Victorian style lamp!
A cute idea for a winter centerpiece. You could add battery-powered led lamps underneath or use a string of holiday lights. Use twinkling ones of multi-colored lights for more fun.
A wicked-cool steampunk-style bicycle parts lamp! This uses a bicycle rack and other fun upcycled parts to create this beautiful Glass Insulator Desk Lamp.
A pretty pair of lamps suitable for your desk, bedside table, or a living area made from high power insulators & railway screws.
Glass Insulator Planter & Vase
You don't always have to make lamps. How about this delicate-looking little vintage glass vase made from an upside-down insulator and an old bed spring or twisted wire? Too cute!
Wouldn't this be an amazing wedding decoration? They're too pretty to give as party favors, though. :)
Another adorable little shabby-chic planter or vase using twine or sisal rope and an old insulator.
This idea for cute little succulent planters would be great for indoor or outdoor living areas!
More great succulent planters using insulators.
More Creative Ideas Using Vintage Glass Insulators!
Why not make a classic paperweight, but add some personal touches with some simple wire twists and create a photo display as well?
Make these glass insulators into really fun and functional salt and pepper shakers!
Turn glass insulators into a shabby chic glass insulator coat rack!
Look at this amazing holiday tree using glass insulators and a lamp pole! Brilliant and so unique! Plus, it is reusable, and a heck of a lot easier to put up each year!
Use glass insulators as bookends! <3 You could even use a pair of glass insulator as book holders, simple!
- John McDougald, Carol McDougald
- Publisher: Tan Books
- Spiral-bound: 264 pages
Here are a few extra ideas for using Vintage Glass Insulators.
And here is a tutorial on how to make your light from an old Vintage Glass insulator and most important how to drill a hole in the glass.
- Includes a 1/2-inch keyed chuck and onboard key storage
- Operates at 5 different speeds: 740, 1100, 1530, 2100, 3140 RPM
- Spindle travels up to 2 inches with easy to read, locking linear depth stops for accurate and repeatable drilling operations
- Infinitely variable speed ranges from 580-3200 RPMS. Mechanical variable speed delivers equal torque throughout the range. LED read out displays speed.
- Spindle Travel of 3-1/8" with easy to read, locking linear depth stop for accurate and repeatable drilling operations
- Quill diameter of 2.17 inches. Durable 2/3hp induction motor develops ample torque and power. Motor: 120 V, 60 Hz. Laser Module: Class III
- Spindle travel of 2-2/5 in. with easy to read, adjustable depth stop for accurate and repeatable drilling operations
- 8 in. x 7-2/3 in. cast iron worktable features rack and pinion height adjustment and bevels up to 45 degrees left and right
- Laser target your drilling operation marked with an X-pattern display