2012 NIA Hall of Fame Inductee
Jack H. Tod
passed away on September 8, 1990. He
was employed with Motorola Research Labs in Phoenix, AZ after graduating with an
electrical engineering degree. Jack
was also a prominent coin dealer in the U. S. and apparently was very
successful. In the 1960’s he
retired from Motorola after selling his coin business.
was also very interested in the local Indian culture and often demonstrated
basket weaving techniques.
became interested in porcelain insulators some time around the mid 1960’s.
He was very inquisitive and started researching insulator manufacturers.
He made many trips East to old plant sites to dig around for insulator
shards and do research in area libraries and museums.
He visited and corresponded with managers at all the major insulator
manufacturers at that time and they helped him tremendously with what they could
find in old files.
first book, Porcelain insulators Guide
Book for Collectors was published in 1971.
It laid out a system of identifying and cataloging Unipart pin-type
insulators using U-numbers. The
book contained scale drawings, which Jack made himself, of more than 900
insulator styles plus histories of all manufacturers and the markings they used
on insulators. In 1976, he
published the 2nd edition of the book and,
in 1988, the 3rd edition with more updated material.
1977, the culmination of years of research and examining old insulator factory
sites Jack published his second book, The
History of the Electrical Porcelain Industry in the United States.
Jack’s curiosity led him to acquire a huge amount of information that
was quickly being lost to time. His
own words describe why he wrote the book:
book was also born out of fear – a fear that the vast amount of data I have
accumulated might be accidentally lost to future historians.
I might die, or the house containing the files might burn down!
It thus became of paramount importance to stop being curious long enough
to draw a line on the research and publish the key information already at
1985 he also published a book about the more important insulator related
patents: Insulator Patents 1880 – 1960. This
is a publication of his entire personal file covering 695 insulator patents.
Elton Gish has taken Jack’s patent research and expanded it to more
than 2400 patents.
started editing the Porcelain Insulator News column in November, 1971, which appeared
regularly in the hobby magazine, Crown Jewels of the Wire.
He continued as editor until his last column appeared in the June, 1984
helped Marilyn Albers with her books on Woldwide
Porcelain Insulators by making all the scale drawings and laying out the
U-chart for foreign porcelain insulators. In
her announcement of the new foreign glass chart titled Glass Insulators from
Outside North America, Marilyn wrote, “Without Jack Tod’s beautiful drawings
there would not have been a design chart at all, so I am most indebted to him
for his help.”
Jack and Marilyn unveiled their book Worldwide
Porcelain Insulators – 1986 Supplement, Marilyn also wrote “Now you will
be able to see a total of 230 scale drawings of foreign glass insulators,
beautifully done by Jack, as well as representative traced markings.”
also served the NIA as Chairman of the By-Laws
Committee from 1976 to 1984.
has been duly recognized for his contributions, having
received the NIA Outstanding Service Award in 1979 and,
together with wife Caroline, the NIA’s highest honor, Lifetime Membership, in
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