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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Found along the roadbed... what's this?


Date: 06/27/20 11:37
Found along the roadbed... what's this?
Author: sparky52t

I've found these occasionally while walking along the NS Lurgan Branch, formerly Reading, just west of Harrisburg on to Hagerstown. A round glass marble about an inch or more in diameter. (see photo) Anyone have an idea what these are used for or where they came from? 
 




Date: 06/27/20 11:46
Re: Found along the roadbed... what's this?
Author: cinder

1.  The "crystal ball" that resulted in PSR, PTC & "Trip Optimizer".
2.  Part of a "glass monkey" after a deep freeze.
3.  "Kryptonite".



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/27/20 11:52 by cinder.



Date: 06/27/20 11:48
Re: Found along the roadbed... what's this?
Author: dschlegel

sparky52t Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've found these occasionally while walking along
> the NS Lurgan Branch, formerly Reading, just west
> of Harrisburg on to Hagerstown. A round glass
> marble about an inch or more in diameter. (see
> photo) Anyone have an idea what these are used for
> or where they came from? 
>  

This is a remnant of the old glass insulators used on telegraph poles. I remember as a teenager when Conrail took down the poles along the Reading line finding them every so often. I assume that when the insulators fell and shattered the marble sometimes was all that remained.

Dan

Posted from iPhone



Date: 06/27/20 12:09
Re: Found along the roadbed... what's this?
Author: callum_out

The answer is: Worth less than in one piece!

Out 



Date: 06/27/20 12:18
Re: Found along the roadbed... what's this?
Author: Kirwin

We have a Johns Manville plant local to me that used to use glass balls like that for feed stock for the fiber glass isulation that they make.  When I was a kid we would find them all along the tracks in town.



Date: 06/27/20 12:24
Re: Found along the roadbed... what's this?
Author: 4451Puff




Date: 06/27/20 12:52
Re: Found along the roadbed... what's this?
Author: Heath_Tower

Seen the same things years ago in Newark, OH near the old Owens Corning Fiberglas plant.



Date: 06/27/20 13:27
Re: Found along the roadbed... what's this?
Author: dschlegel

It took me a little while, but I found this glass ball in my basement. I distinctly remember picking it up from a pile of glass pieces that  were from an insulator like this. It was well off to the side of the tracks where the telegraph poles were recently chain sawed down back in maybe 88 or 89 near Bowers, PA.

Am I wrong in thinking the glass ball was once part of an insulator?

 Thanks!
Dan




Date: 06/27/20 13:41
Re: Found along the roadbed... what's this?
Author: Valleyman

Those glass balls you found, are used by people/hunters with a slingshot. I’ve seen them used to take down small animals! Especially rabbits. They can do some serious damage.

Valleyman



Date: 06/27/20 14:13
Re: Found along the roadbed... what's this?
Author: inyosub

Broken glass as feedstock shipped in covered hoppers is called Glass Cullet.
Not sure if same term is used for the ball stock. There used to be a place out in
the desert on the Cajon Line, in some obscure spot; that got the glass as a feed
for bottle making. Not sure if it's still out there and I'll be danged if I can recall where
it is. Maybe near Victorville? Long ago memory from when we used to drive all 
along the tracks in 4x4s. 



Date: 06/27/20 14:36
Re: Found along the roadbed... what's this?
Author: exhaustED

Valleyman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Those glass balls you found, are used by
> people/hunters with a slingshot. I’ve seen them
> used to take down small animals! Especially
> rabbits. They can do some serious damage.
>
> Valleyman

I think those are usually less than an inch in diameter...



Date: 06/27/20 15:24
Re: Found along the roadbed... what's this?
Author: callum_out

They are, about the size of large marbles, still have a few somewhere, result of neighbors not enjoying my loud
anti varmint gun.

Out 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/27/20 18:48 by callum_out.



Date: 06/27/20 17:32
Re: Found along the roadbed... what's this?
Author: RDG5308

Kirwin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> We have a Johns Manville plant local to me that
> used to use glass balls like that for feed stock
> for the fiber glass isulation that they make. 
> When I was a kid we would find them all along the
> tracks in town.

Yes!  I still have several and even witnessed them falling out of a covered hopper. They actually bounce pretty well.  



Date: 06/28/20 05:03
Re: Found along the roadbed... what's this?
Author: Gonut1

Glass Ball feedstock. I have a bunch I picked up from a PRR wreck that spilled a bunch of them. Glass plants manufactured the raw glass and shipped it in balls like plastic pellets today.
Gonut



Date: 06/28/20 09:33
Re: Found along the roadbed... what's this?
Author: exhaustED

This question pops up every now and again - I've found quite a few scattered around the right of way in SoCal.



Date: 06/28/20 12:20
Re: Found along the roadbed... what's this?
Author: heatermason

I cannot speak to all the other suggested uses/sources, but I know these were used on the Southern Pacific for packing.  A few inches of these on the floor of a boxcar and nothing moved around.  Or so my boyhood friend's father who was an SP trainman told us when he brought home a burlap feed sack half full of them from time to time, and I've seen them in empty cars.  My guess is that they were a glassmaker's staple so the feed stock idea makes sense.  Whoever was packing the car for shipping would likely have been near a source.  They were rarely perfectly round and usually flawed/chipped/etc..

Of course for us they were the ideal ammunition for John's Wrist Rocket (slingshot on steroids); just the right weight and aerodynamically correct (we once found a bee's nest inside an oak tree cavity sixty feet or so up; with some practice you could put one of these in the half dollar size opening....).

Timothy



Date: 06/28/20 15:20
Re: Found along the roadbed... what's this?
Author: dschlegel

I definitely learned something from this post, thanks everyone!

On a side note, I just ordered a wrist rocket like I had when I was a kid.

Dan

Posted from iPhone



Date: 06/28/20 15:25
Re: Found along the roadbed... what's this?
Author: exhaustED

dschlegel Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I definitely learned something from this post,
> thanks everyone!
>
> On a side note, I just ordered a wrist rocket like
> I had when I was a kid.
>
> Dan
>

Slingshots/catapults are a lot of fun! It's amazing how powerful and accurate they can be.



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