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Old 1st Nov 2017, 10:03 pm   #6
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Brentwood, Essex, UK.
Posts: 3,051
Default Re: Sockets on a roll

The GEC catalogue for 1910-11 lists both plugs with in-line flex and what was then a new "Home Office Pattern" range of plugs with side entry flex and shields to reduce the possibility of inadvertently touching the pins when inserting or removing. An introductory note about the new plugs says:

" The Plugs here illustrated are all provided with a registered form of hand shield and handle, whereby the flexible cord in no case passes through the hand of the user, thus rendering personal injury impossible, even if the Plug is inserted on a dead short, neither is it possible to withdraw the plug by pulling the flexible cord. The Plug is withdrawn by using the handle protected by the shield.

Our efforts in designing this series of Wall Plugs have been greatly aided by the particularly clear and concise manner in which the objectionable features of the present types and the desirable modifications are set forth in the Annual Report of the Electrical Inspectors of Factories, G.Scott Ram, Esq. (see Annual Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories and Workshops for the year 1909, Pages 183 and 184)."
(emphasis in the original)

I did try to track down a copy of that report, but didn't have any joy. The IEE (as it then was) library didn't hold a copy, and someone I spoke to at the DTI said they didn't have a copy either, but the National Archives might. As that was about the time Marconi started going down the plughole I had more pressing things to do (like sorting out my redundancy package and getting stuck into the new job that I was thankfully able to walk straight into) so I never did pursue it further.

The Home Office design can't have been very popular. The only plugs of that configuration I have seen were the "Wandsworth" gauge plugs that were provided in the council estate in Becontree , Essex, when my aunt lived. They had them until they were re-wired with 13A ring mains in the 1960's. All the 15A and 5A 2 pin plugs I have seen have had in-line flex entry, and the only side entry 2 pin plugs I have seen are the 2A 2 pin plugs that were still being sold by Woolworths until the regs changed requiring plugs to have flex grips in the 1970's.

The only 13A plug with in-line cable entry I have come across is the Clipsal weatherproof range. Screwfix used to sell them and I bought number of these for use in the garden. They no longer carry them but an internet search yields at lest one UK supplier. They are now part of the Schneider line.

Last edited by emeritus; 1st Nov 2017 at 10:28 pm.
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