Koop breaks the mold, creates insulators for national convention


Local artist Rebecca Koop designed a four-piece mold to create a "Mickey Mouse" insulator for a national convention. Submitted photo

You could say Rebecca Koop broke the mold. Shifting away from her elegant coffee mugs and pottery, she agreed to recreate 50 “Mickey Mouse” insulators for the 43rd Annual National Insulator Association Convention in Kansas City.

“It was kind of an interesting object,” said Koop, Historic Northeast resident and owner of POTS pottery shop on St. John Avenue. “It’s history and unusual. I’m going through my head, ‘Okay, how do I engineer this?'”

Darryl Wagner, president of the Missouri Valley Insulator Club, commissioned Koop to create the plaster of paris insulators as a commemorative item for the convention. Another company, Mosser Glass Inc., is creating electric blue glass insulators. The original electric blue insulators were exclusively used in Kansas City for the trolley system.

“I knew I wanted to have a ceramic commemorative for our porcelain collectors, so I started researching who did ceramics locally and came across Rebecca’s number,” Wagner said. “It’s worked out very well.”

Koop created a mold by copying an antique Mickey Mouse insulator, but it wasn’t without challenges, she said. Each side of the mold took about an hour and fifteen minutes to create, she said.

“You don’t just push it (antique insulator) into something and there’s your mold,” she said. “There are different faces and sides. When you make a mold, it has to pull straight away and not destroy it.

“There’s a whole art form in just making molds of objects. There are people who specialize in doing that alone.”

While Koop has formed casts and molds of other objects, this is her most complex mold yet, she said. While some molds have one or two pieces, this one has four, she said.

Each plaster of paris insulator must dry for about two and a half hours before Koop applies a light blue glaze. Then, she fires the object for eight hours.

“It’s making something unique. Nobody else is going to do one like this,” she said.

The allure of insulators

Wagner, who helped bring the national convention to Kansas City, said the allure of insulators varies with each collector.

“It’s different for everybody,” he said. “Some people collect them because they used to work for the telephone company and dealt with insulators. Some people collect them because they worked for the railroad or a power company.”

Wagner’s interest in insulators began in fifth grade when he saw his neighbor’s collection. The neighbor gifted Wagner with a handful of insulators and Wagner’s been collecting ever since.

For Wagner and the Missouri Valley Insulator Club, hosting the convention in Kansas City is an honor.

“It’s been 40 years since there’s been a national show here,” he said. “I’m thrilled.”

During the June 22-24 convention at the KCI Expo Center, more than 200 dealer and display tables will be set up and more than 500 people are expected to attend.

Both Koop’s and the Mosser Glass Inc.’s commemorative insulators will be for sale.

“Some hobbyists don’t like a lot of commemoratives because some look at it like they’re fakes, but a lot of us look at them like they’re artwork,” Wagner said. “This insulator, whether it’s the ceramic one or the glass, will be a big hit for a couple of reasons. One, people love the Mickey Mouse insulator. They love that design and two, they like the color. The electric blue Mickey insulator was only used in Kansas City and the light blue porcelain, there’s just not a lot of those out there period.”


The antique electric blue insulator she used to create her mold. Electric blue insulators were used exclusively in Kansas City. Submitted photo


Comments are closed.

  • Kansas City embraces the spirit of Thanksgiving

    November 25th, 2016

    Northeast News November 25, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – This Thanksgiving, some in the community went above and beyond to […]

    Fire destroys pawn shop warehouse

    November 19th, 2014

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Nov. 19, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The Kansas City Fire Department were called to an […]

    One dead after morning shooting outside City Hall

    November 12th, 2014

    Joe Jarosz Northeast News Nov. 12, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — One man is dead after a early morning shooting […]

    Kessler Bark: Record breaking tree grows in HNE

    November 12th, 2014

      By Joe Jarosz Northeast News November 12, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The Northeast is now able to claim […]

    U.S. Navy Blue Angels to stop in Kansas City for preseason visit

    November 11th, 2014

    Northeast News Nov. 11, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The U.S. Navy Blue Angel representatives will visit Kansas City next week […]

  • KCMO to host hard to recycle items event on America Recycles Day

    November 10th, 2014

    Northeast News Nov. 10, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Are old televisions, mattresses, bicycles and other items taking up space […]

    City offices closed Nov. 11, 27 and 28; trash pickup delayed

    November 8th, 2014

    Northeast News Nov. 8, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — City Hall wants you to know there will be a few […]

    Gov. Nixon announces summer jobs program for 1,500 low-income youth in Kansas City area

    November 7th, 2014

    Joe Jarosz Northeast News Nov. 14, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The lesson learned from earning a buck is something […]

    Jackson County gets four new faces for Legislature

    November 5th, 2014

    Joe Jarosz Northeast News Nov. 5, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Jackson County Democrats had nothing to worry about on […]

    A new program coming to teach children music

    November 5th, 2014

    By Joe Jarosz Northeast News November 5, 2014 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – An area community center is hoping to bring […]

  • What’s Happening

    Shooting near Denver and Smart in Northeast KC

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News A shooting near the intersection of Denver and Smart Avenues in the Historic Northeast on […]

    retorts illustrated by bryan stalder

    NEKCHS 6th Annual Historic Homes Tour In Pendleton Heights

  • Local Weather