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Old 29th Jul 2019, 5:28 pm   #1
Tom williams
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Default Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

Hello there

I was given this plug the other day when my Grandad along with an MK 15 amp 2 pin socket, the logo is able to seen on the plug and it has GEC around it.
I wasn't sure whether it was general electric company or another different company altogether.

If anyone can help me that would be great!

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Old 29th Jul 2019, 5:46 pm   #2
TonyDuell
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

This site :

https://www.telephonecollecting.org/...EC/History.htm

suggests that the 'magnet' logo was used by GEC from the 1890s to 1920. I've certainly heard of 'magnet' being a brand name used by GEC. So I would think your plug does come from the General Electric Company (and probably is 100+ years old)
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Old 29th Jul 2019, 7:54 pm   #3
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

Probably a BS73 plug and socket (1919 for 15A).

BS73 lasted a long time - my parental home was wired to BS73 despite being built as late as 1934. BS546 was well established by then so my grandad who had the house built must have specified BS73 because it was a bit cheaper. It resulted in some hair raising practices in my childhood, like running electric kettles and washing machines without an earth. The house was finally rewired to BS1363 in the mid 60s.
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Old 29th Jul 2019, 8:34 pm   #4
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyDuell View Post
This site :

https://www.telephonecollecting.org/...EC/History.htm

suggests that the 'magnet' logo was used by GEC from the 1890s to 1920.
A bit longer than that, I think: it seems to have survived until perhaps the mid '30s for household electricals. I don't think this fellow for instance can be much older.

Paul
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Old 29th Jul 2019, 9:14 pm   #5
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

GEC's HQ in London was called "Magnet House" well into the post-WWII era.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/panr/3777709194
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Old 30th Jul 2019, 12:23 am   #6
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

Foyles book shop on London was still had some 2 pin 15A plugs in use in the 1970's.

I think the last vestige of the use of "Magnet" in GEC was their travel department, which was still called "Magnet travel" into the era when they relaunched as Marconi and went down the plughole.

"Magnet" is not used in GEC's catalogue for 1892, but is one of various trade marks used for a range of products in their 1910-11 catalogue. It is not used in the section on mains plugs & sockets (other than on an illustration of a "factory" connector), or in the text of the lampholders section, but can be seen in some of the drawings, stamped on the outside of some of their brass BC holders and embossed in the switch dolly of switched lamp holders of the type where the switch is turned on and off in the manner of a gas tap. I think the OP's plug must be from the inter-war period. The designs of the plugs in the 1910 catalogue are very different. (I did post this extract a few years ago but I guess it can stand another airing.)
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Old 30th Jul 2019, 9:45 am   #7
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

Magnet Travel was in fact not a GEC company but was wholly owned by Lord Weinstock's wife. It was taken for granted that we were all duty bound to use their services for all business travel activities.
It was a brave person who sought services elsewhere.
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Old 30th Jul 2019, 12:31 pm   #8
Dave757
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

Hi

GEC's Works at Witton Birmingham was called the Magnet Works.

Kind regards
Dave
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Old 30th Jul 2019, 4:10 pm   #9
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
Probably a BS73 plug and socket (1919 for 15A).

BS73 lasted a long time - my parental home was wired to BS73 despite being built as late as 1934. BS546 was well established by then so my grandad who had the house built must have specified BS73 because it was a bit cheaper. It resulted in some hair raising practices in my childhood, like running electric kettles and washing machines without an earth. The house was finally rewired to BS1363 in the mid 60s.
Did it go directly from BS73 to BS1363 without involving BS564?
That must be rare.
I have a box of unused BS73 15A 2-pin sockets in Ivory rather than Brown, which suggests that BS73 ran into the late '50s.
I suppose it's obsolete now?
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Old 30th Jul 2019, 9:20 pm   #10
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

I have a copy of the third (1956) edition (reprinted 1960, but possibly revised in 1959, going by the copyright notice) of Odhams "Radio, Television and Electrical Repairs". In the section on domestic wiring, you are told how to install a 3 pin 2A socket from an existing lighting point: however, the caption to the drawing refers to "2 pin 2A socket" and the text says that this chapter had been revised according to the 12th edition of the Wiring Regulations that apparently introduced the prohibition of the use of 2 pin sockets and plugs. I would assume that 2 pin sockets were still permissible when the first edition (1948) was published, and might still have been allowable when the second edition (1952) was published, and that when the drawings were revised, the need to revise the caption was overlooked. Possibly 2 pin sockets continued to be available for maintenance/repair of legacy systems?

Notwithstanding the apparent prohibition mentioned in the Odhams book, Woolworths were still selling BS gauge 2 pin 2A plugs and surface-mounted sockets in brown and white in the late 1960's, but AFAIR they did not bear any BS markings. I used to use them for 12V DC, and have read in other posts that they were used for headphones in theatres and churches..

Last edited by emeritus; 30th Jul 2019 at 9:31 pm.
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Old 31st Jul 2019, 9:40 am   #11
Mike. Watterson
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

Churches also have used the 3 pin 5 amp plugs & sockets here for microphones.
The 3 pin 5A plugs (with 1/2 insulated L & N) and sockets are still sold here for domestic lighting. The UK 13A sockets are not wired on ring mains, but spurs. I think the German Schuko 2 pin plus flat earth using a recessed socket are still legal here.

Didn't the 13A system be released in 1947.

SA still uses the old round UK system. I must ask if they ever used the 2 pin variation.
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Old 31st Jul 2019, 9:58 am   #12
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigham View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
Probably a BS73 plug and socket (1919 for 15A).

BS73 lasted a long time - my parental home was wired to BS73 despite being built as late as 1934. BS546 was well established by then so my grandad who had the house built must have specified BS73 because it was a bit cheaper. It resulted in some hair raising practices in my childhood, like running electric kettles and washing machines without an earth. The house was finally rewired to BS1363 in the mid 60s.
Did it go directly from BS73 to BS1363 without involving BS564?
That must be rare.
It's even odder than that. The house was a semi, and the pair were built by my grandad. Next door was lived in by my great aunt. While 'our' house was wired to BS73, hers used BS546. I've no idea why this should be, as I imagine both houses were wired by the same electricians. Both houses were rewired to BS1363 in the mid 60s as was standard practice for 1930s houses.

BS73 went through revisions and renumberings but ceased to exist as a general standard around 1970. It lives on as the UK shaver plug (BS5473) found on things like electric toothbrush chargers, which is basically a BS73 5A plug with sleeved pins.
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Old 31st Jul 2019, 11:07 pm   #13
Tim
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

It must be old, it's made in England!
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Old 1st Aug 2019, 1:48 pm   #14
Richard_FM
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

I remember at Amberley Chalk pit there was a nice selection of old plugs on strings that you could match up with their sockets.

One featured was a 2 pin plug with thick diameter pins like this one.
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Old 2nd Aug 2019, 1:13 pm   #15
Mike. Watterson
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

Quote:
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It must be old, it's made in England!
Before Thatcher then.
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Old 2nd Aug 2019, 1:41 pm   #16
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

No politics please.
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Old 2nd Aug 2019, 2:24 pm   #17
Lucien Nunes
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

The first standard for 2-pin types was BS73:1915, while that for 3-pin was BS317:1928. These were superseded by BS372 parts I and II respectively, in 1930. Part II was in turn superseded by BS546 in 1934, which was concerned only with 3-pin types. Therefore all 2-pin accessories made after 1930 that are not shaver plugs to BS5473 should be to BS372 part I.

UK 2-pin plugs made to BS73 or BS372 part I do not fit 3-pin sockets of corresponding rating due to the difference in pin centres. Therefore, once UK wiring regulations enforced the installation of 3-pin sockets, 2-pin plugs gradually became obsolete even for appliances with no earth connection and no reliance on correct polarity. This did not occur with other widespread plug families such as European systems based on 19mm centres and NEMA types, where the 2-pin versions are still standard and universally compatible despite earthed sockets having long since been required by the regulations.
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Old 2nd Aug 2019, 4:52 pm   #18
TonyDuell
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

Was there a good (technical) reason why the 3 pin plugs/sockets were designed with a different live-neutral pin spacing to the 2 pin ones? It always struck me as rather stupid.
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Old 2nd Aug 2019, 5:01 pm   #19
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

The last appliance (other than a shaver or toothbrush) I bought new that came fitted with a BS-gauge 2 pin 5A plug was a German-made Mecabltz flashgun I bought circa 1968. The plug was made in Germany. Virtually all the 3 pin 5A 2 way adaptors we had in the 1960's, and some of the 13A ones, had one socket with holes to accept both 2 pin and 3 pin 5A plugs but I usually used it with a BC to 2 pin 5A adaptor I got from Woolworths at the time.

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Old 2nd Aug 2019, 5:44 pm   #20
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Default Re: Unknown (possibly general electric company?) 2 pin 15 amp plug

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyDuell View Post
Was there a good (technical) reason why the 3 pin plugs/sockets were designed with a different live-neutral pin spacing to the 2 pin ones? It always struck me as rather stupid.
I imagine it was done to prevent people using 3 pin plugs in 2 pin sockets. Of course, all they did is cut off the earth wire and fit a 2 pin plug, which is just as dangerous.
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