One product you occasionally see in Brass-Era cars is "vulcanized fiber." It was used as an electrical and heat insulator, and even as a stiffener in door panels. My '13 Metz used it for a guide block to direct the spark plug wires above the engine to the magneto. Its heat resistance is a plus there. It's also fairly resistant to moisture and petroleum, shockproof and easy to cut and shape . If you look on old electrical plugs, you'll see a little piece between the tines to insulate the wire connectors.
I'll quote my technician friend Craig Smith:
Thin sheets are
sometimes called 'fish paper', which is used as electrical insulation.
They make it by 'steaming' pieces of paper in zinc chloride. This
makes the fibers somewhat sticky. Then they stack multiple sheets
of sticky paper (depending on the thickness required) and press the
'blanket' of paper to form a solid sheet of the required thickness.
There is no glue, just paper fiber -- usually cotton fiber. I use it
to replace the stiffeners in the bellows of barrel organs. It appears
to be an exact match to what was used originally.
There are several companies that make it and it comes in thicknesses
from about 0.002" up to over an inch (in 0.002" increments). And it
comes in several colors. One company that will sell it is Bar-Plate
in Connecticut. Their web site is
https://www.barplate.com/counterboard/v ... fiber.aspx
Restoration Supply in California also sells blocks for use in making electrical junctions and fuse holders.
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