A Century of Innovation and Safety

Salisbury: A Century of Innovation and Safety for Electrical Workers

How a Chicago company transformed the electrical industry with its patented line hose design

If you are an electrical worker, you probably know the name Salisbury. For over 100 years, this company has been a leader in manufacturing safety equipment for linemen, such as rubber insulating gloves, blankets, sleeves, and line hoses. But do you know how Salisbury started and how it revolutionized the electrical safety movement with its patented line hose design? In this blog post, we will take you through the history of Salisbury, from its humble beginnings as a leather belt factory to its current position as a global brand Salisbury by Honeywell, which manufactures Arc Flash protective clothing, hoods and helmets, as well as a wide variety of insulating rubber gloves, insulated tools, grounding equipment and more to help keep workers safer from arc flashes and electrical shock.

The Origins of Salisbury

Salisbury's story begins in 1855, when John B. Eldson founded a company in Chicago, later known as W.H. Salisbury & Co, specializing in independent electrical products. By 1880, the company evolved, becoming W.H. Salisbury & Co, and in 1902, it established a leather belt factory, catering to the needs of various industries. Linemen regularly relied on W.H. Salisbury & Co for garden hoses, slit it lengthwise, then would secure it with electrical tape to cover energized power lines. This was the beginning of learning and helping the electrical industry.

The year 1904 marked the official incorporation of W.H. Salisbury & Co, solidifying its position as a key player in safety equipment manufacturing. As the years progressed, the company played a pivotal role in the electrical safety movement.  In 1912 Salisbury created a safety department that employed safety inspectors. This led to the first molded rubber insulating blanket made by Salisbury in 1915, with a rubber mill built in 1919 to manufacture molded and extruded rubber products. After a fatal accident in the local Chicago utility, work began to manufacture a full utility line of products, expanding its line to include insulating line hose and hoods, culminating in the patenting of the line hose design in 1924. Honeywell acquired Salisbury Electrical Safety, LLC in 2008.

The Protective Insulating Sleeve Patent

The line hose design started out as a garden hose that lineman slit open so they could wrap it on an energized powerline, then would secure it with tape. They used the hose to electrically isolate a worker from an energized conductor. Line workers isolate themselves so that they can work on energized power lines. This means that the lights stay on while they do maintenance so there is no interruption to everyday life. It’s highly dangerous and requires a specifically trained skill set. Salisbury took this concept and made something that line workers could slide on and easily take off the energized line.

The initial patent was called a “Protective Insulating Sleeve.” It was designed to be split lengthwise with an interior lip on one edge which overlaps the other. This way it will be able to slip on a conductor and fully close around it to protect the line worker. When the protective line sleeve is snapped on a conductor it will retain its position without other means. This was designed because when lineman used rubber hose cut lengthwise, they had to tape it. It was also designed with exterior ribs so that it can connect to other protective insulating sleeves to cover more area without moving. This was a major improvement in safety for lineman, and a major start for Salisbury providing products for the safety of lineman.

The Legacy of Salisbury

Today, electrical workers trust in Salisbury PPE to help keep them protected on the job. Utilizing line hoses and other cover-up, along with rubber insulating gloves and sleeves, can help reduce the risk for secondary points of contact with energized lines or equipment.

Line hoses are made of Type I natural (non-ozone resistant) and Type II SALCOR® synthetic rubber (resistant to ozone). Both provide electrical workers with the highest level of electrical insulating protection. SALCOR® Rubber is a TYPE II rubber that remains flexible in cold weather and is resistant to ozone and UV rays. Salisbury’s exclusive SALCOR® Rubber is the preferred material for line hose because it easily withstands the elements and does not lose its flexibility or insulating properties. This application, one of hundreds filed in the US Patent Office for Salisbury, proved to be the most effective device for protecting linemen from accidental contact with energized lines, and is still regarded as indispensable to the electrical industry today.

Salisbury has been dedicated to innovation and safety for electrical workers for over a century. If you want to learn more about Salisbury products and how they can help you work safely and efficiently, visit our website or contact us today.