Monday, June 29, 2015


Washington Island, Wisconsin -

Recent postings have mentioned C. H. Thordarson and his renown for producing electrical equipment, and we fielded interest from people we met in Iceland who are familiar with his name and his reputation for invention and manufacturing.  We don't know just how much the Thordarson Electric Manufacturing Company contributed to the electrification of Iceland, or America for that matter, but reputation and his company's impact seems to have been far-reaching.

Friday, as we waited to board the ferry Washington in late afternoon for our return to the Island, we met  Paul Grieger, a man who occasionally come across items bearing the Thordarson Electric Company name as a collector.   He pulled from his car a piece of test equipment manufactured by the Thordarson Company that he was delivering to Rock Island for donation to the Thordarson display located in the northeast room of the boathouse.   He intended to camp on Rock Island for several days, his first visit there in 20 years.

Paul Nelsen Grieger holds a Thordarson Condenser Tester he
picked up at an auction, "The best one I've found so far."
Paul is a truck driver from Pewaukee, Wisconsin, and he has a side business called, "Paul's Cool Stuff."  He specializes in antiques, collectibles and vintage paper.   This Thordarson test unit is the best in terms of its condition of any he's come across, he said.  

I regret not asking him if it's still in working order, or if by "best" he referred to the condition of the face and case.   I also neglected to obtain the date of manufacture.  I'll have to visit the exhibit on Rock Island to learn more.  

Then, on Sunday morning, I drove out to meet the Karfi as it returned to Jackson Harbor.   I saw Tim Sweet getting off the ferry, ending his week as docent, along with his wife, at the lighthouse.   I asked Tim if he met the man with the Thordarson piece.   "Yes," he said, and it had been given to Park Manager Randy Holm for display in the boathouse.  Filing of paperwork is required before the state will provide official acceptance, but once this process moves along the public should be able to see this piece on display among other Thordarson artifacts in the near future.

 - Dick Purinton

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