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Author Topic: Old British Two and Three Pin Plugs and Adaptors.  (Read 853 times)

Offline Dyson Tech

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Old British Two and Three Pin Plugs and Adaptors.
« on: December 15, 2016, 10:38:34 PM »
This part of my collection came about almost incidentally, but I guess that little details like this are just as important as the machinery that they were wired to. I also wanted to put some of these online as I haven't come across any other site that covers them. So, here goes...

Two Pin Plugs

One of the first types of plug in use in the UK was the two pin kind, as shown here.



In common with every other type of plug used until the 1940s (when the modern style three square pin plug was introduced), this plug had no fuse, relying on the fusebox of the house in the event of a problem. This particular example, which is branded as a 'Clix' is a particularly dangerous object compared to modern examples...



For starters, instead of being secured by a screw, the case of the plug is dismantled by twisting off the lid part, with nothing to secure it from curious children. Even worse is the way that the ends of the appliance wire are held in place - there's no real cord grip as the plug cover serves this purpose, and the ends of the wires are held in place by a slit in each pin, which are themselves held in place by nothing but the lid part!

I wonder how many people got an electric shock from this kind of fitting if the cover came off.
Manchester Vacs Dyson Engineer
We expect that by seeking advice here, you are competent enough to be able to make any electrical installations safely and in a safe and legal manner in your jurisdiction. If you are in any doubt whatsoever, do consult an electrician. You accept/implement any advice you read at this site at your own risk. #dysonexperts

Offline Dyson Tech

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Re: Old British Two and Three Pin Plugs and Adaptors.
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2016, 10:42:12 PM »
Bayonet Socket Adaptor

Now, this little thingy here is a bit of a curiosity.



Judging by the sunburst pattern on the bakelite, I'd assume that it dates from some time in the 1930s. But what is it? Most people assume that it was simply used to run two lightbulbs from one socket. But this wasn't actually the case.



When homes were first wired for electricity on a wide scale, householders had the choice of having wiring installed for either appliances and lighting, or for lighting only, and the latter of which had electricity supplied at a discounted rate.

So many people had their homes wired up for lighting only, and then ran any appliances they had through the light bulb sockets! So this gizmo was used to enable the householder to run both an appliance and their lighting at the same time.

Note the tab of a cord on the adaptor - this was for keeping the plug close to the socket if it needed to be unplugged, for example with a non-thermostat electric iron.



This is the whole shebang connected up. Although this example uses a standard two pin plug (which, incidentally is the kind fitted as standard to Hoover vacuums until the late 50s) and a bayonet socket adaptor, plugs that connected straight into bayonet light fittings were also widespread.

Manchester Vacs Dyson Engineer
We expect that by seeking advice here, you are competent enough to be able to make any electrical installations safely and in a safe and legal manner in your jurisdiction. If you are in any doubt whatsoever, do consult an electrician. You accept/implement any advice you read at this site at your own risk. #dysonexperts

Offline Dyson Tech

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Re: Old British Two and Three Pin Plugs and Adaptors.
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2016, 10:42:52 PM »
Three Pin Plugs (Round)

By the outbreak of the Second World War, the three pin plug had been introduced, which would make using appliances that came into contact with water, such as kettles or washing machines, safer to use.



This is because the third pin would direct current safely away in the event of the appliance becoming live, and as such, was also a useful safety feature for other appliances housed in bodies made of metal, which was almost invariably the case until plastic technologies were advanced enough to make large, non-conductive housings.

Notice that there are two sizes of plug; The small types connected to a five amp circuit, and the larger type used a fifteen amp circuit. So homes at this time could have had three types of socket in them. Two amp and thirty amp plugs were also available, although the latter was only really used in industrial applications.

Manchester Vacs Dyson Engineer
We expect that by seeking advice here, you are competent enough to be able to make any electrical installations safely and in a safe and legal manner in your jurisdiction. If you are in any doubt whatsoever, do consult an electrician. You accept/implement any advice you read at this site at your own risk. #dysonexperts


Offline Dyson Tech

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Re: Old British Two and Three Pin Plugs and Adaptors.
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2016, 10:43:00 PM »
Multi Standard Adaptor

Although the modern fused three square pin type plug was introduced in 1946, many people had appliances running from both two and three round pin plugs and sockets for decades afterwards, which led to the production of adaptors like this one, which allowed the householder to run both a modern three pin square plug and two two pin plugs from one new style socket.



In theory, this was a good idea, but the problem is that the adaptor is fused for thirteen amps... so if a small appliance was being run from one of the two pin sockets and developed a fault, the fuse would not cut the power supply.
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We expect that by seeking advice here, you are competent enough to be able to make any electrical installations safely and in a safe and legal manner in your jurisdiction. If you are in any doubt whatsoever, do consult an electrician. You accept/implement any advice you read at this site at your own risk. #dysonexperts

Offline Dyson Tech

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Re: Old British Two and Three Pin Plugs and Adaptors.
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2016, 10:43:19 PM »
Three Pin Plugs (Square)

And into the modern era we go!



This picture illustrates a variety of three pin square plugs from the 1940s and 60s, and shows the variety of types that were available.

There's a mixture of brown bakelite, white urea formaldehyde and 'unbreakable' rubber used to make them, and a variety of different manufacturers too.

The MK plug on the right is one of the most common three pin square plugs, whilst the rubber Ever Ready type on the left and the Seeboard (the regional electricity supplier for the south of England) type in the centre are fairly unusual.
Manchester Vacs Dyson Engineer
We expect that by seeking advice here, you are competent enough to be able to make any electrical installations safely and in a safe and legal manner in your jurisdiction. If you are in any doubt whatsoever, do consult an electrician. You accept/implement any advice you read at this site at your own risk. #dysonexperts

Online Madrat

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Re: Old British Two and Three Pin Plugs and Adaptors.
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2016, 11:29:28 PM »
I always preferred the round pin, and still prefer the European type to the UK, espeshialy when you stand on them  :censored:

Online beko1987

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Re: Old British Two and Three Pin Plugs and Adaptors.
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2016, 11:43:21 PM »
I have one of those Hoover 2 pin light fitting plugs. Keep meaning to wire it up to the Junior 119 it came with! Sure I tried once but couldnt do it,cant remember why though. Polarity wont matter will it?

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