2013 NIA Hall of Fame Inductee

 Elton Gish 


In a September, 1989, article in Crown Jewels of the Wire, author Clarice Gordon wrote: “To describe Elton in just one word that word would have to be “nice.”  Along with that, you could add “quiet”, “intelligent”, and polite”.  Then there’s “friendly”, helpful”, and “hospitable”.  So I guess if you rolled all of those words into just one, it would have to come out “nice” anyway.

Elton was born December 29, 1948, in Port Neches but he lived in Nedarland, Texas.  He graduated from Lamar University in 1972 with a  degree in Chemical Engineering.  After college he lived in Port Neches until he and Kathy married September 8, 1989, exactly 1 year after Jack Tod died.   Kathy is a teacher and counselor.  They currently live in Lumberton, Texas.  They have three children.

Elton started work at Texaco’s first oil refinery at Port Arthur, TX, June 3, 1968, as a co-op chemical engineering student.  This company is now Motiva Enterprises LLC, which is a joint 50/50 partnership between Shell Oil Co. and Saudi Refining Co.  It is now the largest oil refinery in the U. S.

He has worked for 45 years and plans to retire Dec. 3, 2013, just a few days after his 65th birthday.

Elton is a charter member of the NIA being #41 and Kathy is NIA #4521.  Elton’s first national show was in Kansas City in 1972.

Elton started collecting Brookfield insulators in 1970.  He still collects Brookfield insulators but by the mid-1970’s his major collecting interest became early porcelain.  He specializes in Fred Locke, Imperial, New Lexington, Lima, Macomb, early Thomas, patent tops, G.P. Co, dry process, and multipart porcelain.  He also collects cleats, knobs, spools and other specialty porcelain styles with particular interest in brown wall tubes.

Another interest he has is collecting historical information about our hobby.  From personal research at university libraries and trading with several other collectors he knows has, Elton has an extensive file of insulator related historical information. You can obtain copies of over 2,260 patents, advertisements, and other historical information relating to our hobby by going to the ‘Insulator Research Service” section of his website r-infinity.com.

Elton has a few other collecting interests.  He has been collecting old Texaco cans and porcelain signs since about 1973.  Much of the refinery history where he worked was being thrown away, so Elton started searching through old files, offices, and buildings to preserve what was left.  In 1980 he started collecting historical photographs, paper items, can, etc. from around the refinery.  He is now the unofficial local company historian and archivist.

Here are a few more of Elton’s accomplishments:

Elton’s activities that relate specifically to the National Insulator Association include:

Quoting from the article in Crown Jewels of the Wire, September, 1989; Elton stated, 

“There is more to the hobby than just collecting insulators.  The many fine people make insulator collecting truly unique.  The many friends that one makes over the years make the hobby very rewarding.  Where else could you have friends all over the country who would welcome you into their home and share their collection and tales with you."

“There is a wealth of undocumented information that should be made available to all collectors.  It should be preserved for current and future collectors, who would like to learn more about our wonderful hobby.”

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