High Voltage Glossary

If you need to order a high voltage part…you might be surprised at what it’s called. This glossary is to help you (and us!) translate from the field to the warehouse. From alligators to wildcat legs, we’re trying to cover all the names for high voltage parts in our industry. Did we mention this glossary is also highly entertaining?

Let us know if we’ve missed anything or if you have a different term for a part we should add to our ongoing list. Simply contact us!

And, of course, if you need to order any of these items, get in touch with one of our experts today!



alley-arm – a side arm brace, used when cross-arm is not balanced on both sides of pole but extending out on one side only.

alligator – a tie stick.

A.R. – abbreviation for automatic recloser.


baker board – platform board. (See also ‘diving board’).

baloney – cable.

baloney bender - a wireman who works with heavy cable.

banjo – a shovel, straight blade and long handle.

bear grease – Z.L.N. electric contact aid.

becky – a cable sling.

bell – suspension or deadend insulators.

bell wrench – wrench for tightening various square head bolts.

bender – hammer.

bible – the electrician’s code book.

bicycle – a chain drill for boring holes.

boatswain’s chair – a small wooden seat supported by four ropes secured to a ring or tied at a common point above the workman’s head.

booger wire – a neutral wire.

bookie tool – a staple puller.

bookie wheel – a measuring device.

boomer – 1) a lineman who leaves one job to get to the next job. 2) a lineman who always worked on the installation of new transmission lines.

booties – meter clip insulators.

bottles – glass insulators.

box – 1) porcelain enclosed-type cutout.
box – 2) padmounted transformer or switchgear.

broomsticks – phase spacers, used to keep phases from coming into contact with each other at midspan.

buck - to lower or attempt to lower the voltage.

buck arm – two sets of crossarms at 90 degree angles to each other.

bucket truck – an aerial lift truck for raising men high enough to work on lines from the insulated bucket of the truck.

bug – transformer (Northwest U.S. term)

bugs – solderless, usually bolted, connectors.

bug wrench – speed wrench (Fargo box ratchet type) to install bolted connectors (‘bugs’).

bulldog – a “come-a-long” wire grip for holding conductor or strand under tension.

bulldog wrench – an alligator wrench.

bullhorn – Epoxirod bi-unit.

bull line – heavy line for pulling in wires (see also ‘hard line’).

bull pen – where the construction crew gathers before and after work.

bull wheel – a reel device used to hold tension on a transmission conductor during stringing operations.

bundle – multiple strings of conductor.

bust anchor - expanding anchor.

buster – expanding and tamping bar used on expanding anchors.

butterfly – conductor take-up reel.


can – an overhead transformer (see also ‘kettle’).

candlestick – fiberglass downlead bracket.

candy grabbers – channel lock pliers.

cat head – capstan hoist.

cattle guard – a plastic or metal guy guard.

cheaters – channel lock pliers.

cherry picker – bucket truck.

chicken catcher – armsling.

chicken tracks – Epoxirod tri-unit (see also ‘crows foot’).

chicken wing – steel post insulator standoff for distribution construction (see also ‘turkey wing’).

chili bowl – an oversized pin-type insulator.

choker – a nylon sling.

christmas tree – pole mounted auxiliary arm used for lifting conductors.

CLF – abbreviation for current limiting fuse.

climbers – 1) hooks for climbing poles.

clum some – a greenhorn lineman, apprentice, helper.

coffin hoist – a chain hoist of any type.

cold – a de-energized line.

come-a-long - wire grip for holding conductor or strand under tension. Also spelled cum-a-long.

corn cob – thimble adapter pin.

coming up easy – pick up load or increase tension.

crosby clip – wire rope guy wire clip.

crow’s foot – Epoxirod tri-unit (see also ‘chicken tracks’).

C.S.P. – completely self-protected transformer.

C.S.T. – customer subsurface transformer.

C.T. – current transformer, a device used to transfer current from one value to another.

cum-a-long – a wire grip for holding conductor or strand under tension. Also spelled come-a-long.


d.a. bolt – double arming bolt.

dead man – 1) wood pole, with U-bracket fitting for setting poles by hand without a truck. 2) short wood pole section, buried as an anchor. 3) any kind of earth anchor.

diaper – 1) rubber blanket pinned on overhead construction; 2) Seal-A-Conn covering connector.

digging bar – long, round steel bar with 2-in. chisel on one end; (“idiot stick”).

dig pole – a transition pole for going from overhead to underground distribution, (see also ‘Riser Pole’).

disc - suspension or deadend insulator.

diving board – a platform board (see also ‘baker board’).

DOCO – drop-out cutout; open type cutout.

dog bone – 1) special EHV yoke plates, so-called due to their shape; 2) vibration damper.

door – 1) the fuse tube on open type cutouts. 2) actual door on enclosed type cutouts.

drifter - a lineman who wants to see the world.


eagle-eye – leveling crossarms by sight with no measuring instruments.

eels – line hose, temporary cover-up.

egg breaker – a guy strain insulator.

egg sucker – Grip-All stick, hot line tool.

E.H.V. – extra high voltage.

elbow – underground cable terminator.

elephant ear – a high strength strain insulator.

elephant ears – 1) the arc chute on certain types of cutouts for extinguishing the arc while breaking load; 2) a triangular bracket.

EPDM – rubber material used in underground elbow and other connectors (ethylene propylene diene modified).

equalizers – a pair of connectors or club when used in a fight.

eyeball – visual determination without the use of instruments.


fish - a glass strain insulator.

flip-cutout - an open link cutout.

floater – 1) a lineman who would quit in the middle of a job; 2) a conductor that has become untied from an insulator; 3) a conductor, insulator and pin that has separated from the crossarm and is “floating” rather than tied down.

flower pot – universal bushing well, padmount transformer.

finger-line – 1⁄4″ line.

four and a quarter – porcelain dead end insulator.

fuzz box – noisy tester.


gate – an open type cutout’s fusetube.

gin - temporary lifting device; see pole buddy.

goathead – an angle-iron punch.

goathorns – guy hooks, iron.

goat-skin – tarp for covering unfinished work for the night.
gopher – a “go for this, go for that” helper.

goulash – insulating compound.

grasshopper – see flip-cutout.

ground hog – a lineman’s helper (see also ‘grunt’).

grunt – a lineman’s helper (see also ‘ground hog’).

gut – 5 kV rubber line hose.

gut wrench – cant hook.

guy jack – a chain hoist.


half-power – a lineman working off a jag.

hand – a tie stick.

hard head – a lag screw.

hard line – steel bull line for pulling in wires (also see ‘bull line’).

headache – 1) vocal warning of danger. 2) anything falling from above on pole.
high pot – to apply high potential to electrical machine or equipment, normally done during insulation testing.

hog liver – flat porcelain guy strain insulator.

hood – insulator cover.

hooks – climbers, used for climbing poles.

hookstick – insulated disconnect stick.

hose – rubber or plastic cover up equipment (conductor cover).

hot – a live or energized line.

hot arm – extension arm.

hot link – ball and socket link or other types of extension links.

house bracket – a secondary rack.

house knob – a wire holder.


idiot stick – see digging bar.

instant foundation – streetlight foundation.

J hook – drive and screw hook.


jack – a cutout.

jack straps – small (2-in.) blocks for pulling up small wire secondary.

jacobs ladder – a portable rope ladder.

jiffy deadend – non-compression deadend for copper.

jiggler – a glow light, secondary voltage tester.

johnny-ball – guy strain insulator.

joy jelly – silicone compound for elbow terminators.

jugs – horizontal post insulators.

jumper - a slack electrical connection between two points.

jumper holding stick – wire holding stick.


kettle – an overhead transformer.

knife switch – hook stick disconnect.

knuckle buster – an adjustable wrench.


lady slippers – name applied to present day climbers by old-timers.

leg irons – climbers, hooks.

lead head – 1) nail; 2) pin with threaded lead top for porcelain insulators.

leroy – generator.

lid – hard hat.

limberneck – a groundman.

line gut – conductor cover.

line profile – scaled side view drawing of actual line for engineer’s review.

liners – cloth glove liners or for hard hats in the winter.

lobster claw – an adjustable insulator fork.

luff blocks – small set of rope blocks.


mac – mechanical load pick up jumper.

mack clamps – insulated jumper clamps.

meat hook – hand line hook.

mickey mouse key puller – cotter key puller.

milking stool – a yoke used on the end of a structure for supporting hot line tension tools.

moles – underground line crew.

music stand – a hot line tool rack.


narrow back – an inside electrician.

nitros – street light bulbs.

nose bag – canvas tool pouch.

nutty putty – Seal-A-Conn for covering connectors.


O.C.B. – oil circuit breaker.

old man – an “A” frame transformer gin (see also ‘pole buddy’).


pad – a pad mounted transformer.

P.C.B. – 1) power circuit breaker; opens the current under fault or overload condition. 2) polychlorinated biphenyl chemical.

pen and pencil set – digging bar and spoon.

persuader – a hammer (see also ‘bender’).

phase – one (single) conductor.

pickle-fork – two or three prong tie stick.

pickles – wire connectors.

pig – cover ups.

pig livers – special yokes used on EHV lines or dead ends.

pig-tail – spiral disconnect or spiral link stick.

pigtail – the leader or cable on fuselinks.

pineapple – a spool insulator.

pistol – elbow terminator.

pistol grip – elbow terminator.

pizza plate – a fork suspension attachment.

pogo stick – telescoping tools.

pole buddy – a transformer gin.

pole crab – wire tong saddle.

pork chop – a “come-a-long”; wire grip for holding conductor or strand under tension.

pot – 1) potential transformer; 2) pole-top transformer.

pole stub – pole reinforcer.

potato hook – fixed prong tie stick.

pothead - 1) a point where separate or overhead electrical conductors come together and continue as cable. 2) the termination device used on end of an underground cable.

pouch – a tool bag.

P.T.O. – power take off.


rake – tie stick.

red head jumper – insulated jumper clamp.

red one – an extremely short distance.

reptile – insulating line hose (see also ‘snake’).

ridge pin – pole top pin.

riser pole – a transition pole going from overhead to underground distribution (see also ‘dip pole’).

rough neck – a trouble chaser.


saddle pin – a crossarm type pin, fits like a saddle.

sav-a-climb - universal fitting for laying lines over crossarms and through trees with a stick.

saw dust machine – a brace and bit or drill.

saw dust pump – a brace and bit, hand drill.

service drop – the conductor between pole and terminal on a building.

sharp shooter – a shovel with long narrow blade for digging holes in ground like clay.

sheaves – any type of rope block.

shoe-fly – a temporary line built to bypass a construction area.

short hook-up – cord and clips for electric drill.

shot gun stick – a Grip-All stick.

single jack – a heavy hammer.

sinker – pin pushed down through crossarm and insulator rests on crossarm.

sister eye – eyebolt or anchor rod eye for guy strand or insulator.

skywire – a ground wire on top of poles and towers to protect the lines from lightning.

slave market – an employment agency’s office.

sleeve – a splice.

slip stick – a Grip-All stick.

slug – a solid blade on open type cutouts.

snake – an insulating line hose.

spool bolt – an upset bolt used to support spool insulators.

spoon – a shovel; cup-shaped with long handle.

squeeze on – a compression fitting (connectors).

squeeze wrench – hand compression or cutting wrenches.

squirrel cage – a steel bracket mounted on a pole to support line conductors.

staking – to survey and mark location for each new line pole.

stinger - 1) wire from cutout to transformer. 2) a boom extension.

strong arm – a chain or strap hoist for pulling wire.

switch stick – a disconnect stick.


tag line – rope used to tie off line or to control load being lifted.

tag-out – link stick.

tap clamp - a hot line clamp.

three-phase set – three shovels; a spoon, a spade, and a shovel; all three are of different design for different uses.

thumper – underground fault locator.

thru-bolt – a machine bolt.

toilet seat – 1) insulator retainer for trolley pole. A fork suspension tool attachment.

tongs – 1) usually refer to pole tongs, used for controlling pole when setting 2) insulated wire tongs used for supporting or moving energized conductor.

transformer ‘bank’ – two or three transformers at same location connected to the same circuit.

traveling chain – a movable grounding device.

traveling chair – a fabricated aluminum two-wheel trolley with an attached chain.

traveling ladder – wooden ladder with fiber rollers generally used when work or inspection has to be done on transmission hardware or conductor.

tub - pole type transformer (see also ‘kettle’).

tube – cable in conduit.

tupperware – plastic protective cover.

turkey wing – steel post insulator standoff for distribution construction (see also ‘chicken wing’).

two pound – a lineman’s hammer.


u-bangi – 15 kV rubber line hose.

upset bolt – see spool bolt.

URD – underground residential distribution.


walking crab - a lever lift.

waterfall – a triple drum puller.

weatherhead – the top of the conduit that contains the customer service conductors, constructed so it will resist the action of rain, sun, etc.

westerns – also hooks, standard climbers for old-type Western Union.

wire twister – an inside electrician (see also ‘narrow back’).

widow – a cable grip.

wiggle – a glow light, secondary voltage tester.

wiggle wire – any kind of formed wire used for securing conductors to insulators.

wildcat connection – three-phase four wire delta.

wildcat leg – center tap connection on three-phase four wire delta.

wire bender cutout – an open link cutout (see also ‘flip cutout’).

window pole – a disconnect stick.