Insulator Ranch – Quilchena, British Columbia - Atlas Obscura

Insulator Ranch

Quilchena, British Columbia

A colorful collection of scavenged glass bells decorates this Canadian ranch. 


In the arid British Columbia interior, usually associated with cattle and horses, is a ranch of an unique nature where near 7000 glass and porcelain insulators can found in an amazing outdoor display.

Glass insulators were first produced in the 1850s for use with telegraph lines. As technology developed, insulators were needed for telephone lines, electric power lines, and other applications. In the mid 1960s a few people began collecting these antique glass insulators. Today there are over 3,000 insulator collectors. Similar to their glass counterparts, porcelain insulators date back to before the Civil War for telegraph wires. In North America glass was always the predominate material for communications insulators but porcelain has become the standard for power distribution due to its greater strength and surface resistance. The size of each insulator relates to the voltage it is capable of handling.

Bob and Bev Scafe of Merritt, British Columbia have roughly 7,000 insulators displayed in a field called the Insulator Ranch. Their collection comes from all over the world and is divvied up according to their region of origin. Scafe’s collection stays on display in the yard, which he said is uncommon for collectors. The beautiful glass and ceramic insulators of different sizes and colours make a dramatic display set against the browns and blues of this arid central interior valley.

Know Before You Go

Off of Highways 5 and 5A close to Merritt, BC. Turn onto Coldwater Rd. from 5A, then turn right onto a little side street called Spanish Creek Pl. If you would like to visit Insulator Ranch please call its creator Bob Scafe at 250-378-2787 to set up an appointment.

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