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Other Vintage Household Electrical or Electromechanical Items For discussions about other vintage (over 25 years old) electrical and electromechanical household items. See the sticky thread for details.

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Old 25th May 2019, 11:03 am   #101
Lancs Lad
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

Watching an episode of Back In Time For The Weekend recently, the family were given a new-fangled Japanese music centre (1970s) which I noticed was fitted with an obviously original (battered and grubby!) MK Safetyplug.

What struck me as unusual, though, was that the sleeving on the pins was white. And it reminded me that, out of the many that I've had over the years, I've only ever had one MK Safetyplug with white sleeves.

I reckon they must have been quite a rarity, then? I know white sleeving is common these days.

I particularly like those certain plugs that have brown and blue sleeves, in fact I think they should be standard on all new, rewireable plugs. It would surely help to prevent silly, and potentially dangerous, mistakes by 'modern day' people who have no idea how to wire a plug!
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Last edited by Lancs Lad; 25th May 2019 at 11:15 am.
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Old 25th May 2019, 11:22 am   #102
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

Agreed. I have a 13A plug with colour coded sleeves. Makes perfect sense. Also see-through plugs could show up loosened conductors before they become dangerous (provided that the transparent material is durable enough)

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Old 25th May 2019, 11:55 am   #103
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

I read somewhere that the original coloured sleeves on the pins was introduced by Duraplug who protected (patented?) it so no other companies could sell such plugs. Certainly Duraplugs which such sleeves exist.

But I was surprised when I bought a box of new Duraplugs a couple of years ago (from RS, so I think they are genuine). The sleeves were black. The (IMHO excellent) colour coding is no more.
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Old 25th May 2019, 12:41 pm   #104
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

The plug in my first pic (post #101) was bought from B&Q a few years ago. Doesn't have any brand name on - just the leaf motif - so no idea who made it.

It has an integral switch and neon indicator. And the colour-coded sleeving might be useful, given that the 'live' terminal is in a completely different place, in order to accommodate the switch mechanism.
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Old 25th May 2019, 1:24 pm   #105
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

Patents expire after 20 years, though. The temporary protection is given in return for you promising to share your invention freely with the world in future. (Just wait till spivvy lawyers start offering to help you patent your personal injuries, so the next person who hurts themself the same way you did will owe you money .....)

Getting back to plugs, I had a bit of a collection of the BICC / Legrand "slim, square" plugs in the 1980s; plain red, yellow, green and blue as well as some white ones with branding (BBC and one of the old regional electricity companies). The bold colours looked particularly good side-by-side in the same four-way extension lead! Also some other coloured plugs in a soft thermoplastic, not as bright and more "traditional" shaped, by De-La-Mer. Unfortunately, the appliances to which they belonged have all since been replaced by ones which already had fitted plugs.
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Old 25th May 2019, 3:00 pm   #106
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

Just googled Duraplug. Apparently, they are an MK product range.

Have they always been owned by MK, or were they a separate company way back when?
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Old 25th May 2019, 3:10 pm   #107
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

Duraplug have an 'interesting' history.

https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/W._W._Haffenden
https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/LRC_Products
https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Duraplug_Electricals

and MK:

https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/MK_Electric
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Old 25th May 2019, 5:20 pm   #108
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

My point, not clearly expressed, was that even if the patent has expired, it wouldn't stop Duraplug from making plugs with the coloured sleeves now. But alas they seem to have dropped that feature.

It doesn't really bother me, I could wire a mains plug before I went to school. So I can easily wire a plug without colour-coded pins. But I always thought it was a nice feature.
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Old 25th May 2019, 5:32 pm   #109
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

Coloured sleeves would no doubt add to the cost, without any directly-quantifiable-in-pounds-and-pence benefit (unless they could sell coloured-sleeved plugs at a premium).

I don't know if there are any credible statistics on injuries/deaths from rewirable-plugs-wired-with-live-and-neutral-transposed, but if there are I suspect the number is distinctly noise-level when compared to the total number of plugs in service.

IMHO the move to appliances coming with fitted-plugs/pre-assembled IEC-leads was the biggest safety-related 'thing' in the last 30 years. It's a move that's welcomed by consumers too - so much morte convenient - no more buying an appliance and getting it home all hoping to enjoy it then finding there's no plug.... (so you stuff the wires into a socket and 'assist' the connection using a couple of matchsticks and a teaspoon).

Moulded-on plugs probably work out cheaper than separately-wired ones: another win for everyone!
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Old 26th May 2019, 12:41 pm   #110
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

The only plug with coloured sleeved pins i have seen in the flesh was a 5A 3 pin plug of German manufacture fitted to a standard lamp in a hotel room.

You can only get a patent for something which only differs from what is known by its colour under special circumstances. AFAIR the key case was one for a coloured squash ball, where the colour (blue I think) was shown to be more visible than the known type and so resulted in a real technical effect.

It seems that the public are actively discouraged from fitting their own plugs these days. In the current CPC catalogues, the mains leads supplied with bare wire ends all have a warning in red ink that they are "Only for use by qualified personnel", no doubt to cover themselves and/or to comply with legislation.
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Old 26th May 2019, 12:46 pm   #111
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

I suspect the patent was for the idea of colour-coding the sleeves to match the wire colours, not for the specific colours used. I am not a lawyer, and it may well have been some other form of legal protection rather than a patent.

I do wonder what 'qualification' is needed to use a mains cable with bare ends. I am sure I don't have it (for the record I have no qualifications in electronics other than passing the RAE many years ago, my licence may well have expired now (I am not active so that is not a real problem)). But I have wired dozens of mains plugs and cables with no 'incidents'.

To me, moulded plugs are a pain, and in a sense a waste of money. I do not trust connections that I have not inspected (and am not able to inspect). So anything that will be left running unattended, or anything that consumes a significant current (anything with a heating element) gets the moulded plug cut off and a rewireable plug fitted.
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Old 26th May 2019, 1:16 pm   #112
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

I once attended an induction evening for prospective new trainees. One of the tests was to wire a 13A plug. Out of five or six people, only two knew how to wire it anything like properly, and they were technical hopefuls, not your general population. The moulded plug is, as was intended, a great safety feature for the great majority. We have the luxury of choice, however.
Incidentally, I am qualified to wire a 13A plug. I did have a pass certificate once. We all had to wire one and have it inspected by the company electrician!
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Old 26th May 2019, 1:35 pm   #113
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

I have just seen a power cable in my cable bin with a moulded plug on one end and bare ends at the other with the insulation stripped back so that the bits of insulation remain on the ends of the conductors to stop them getting frayed during handling.
I can't remember when I acquired it. Being near the top if my stash it is at risk of being wired up to something that needs both a plug and a cable. I have got a screw terminal right angled C-13 waiting for an instrument with restricted space behind it.
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Old 26th May 2019, 9:57 pm   #114
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

Reading post 107 had to make me smile , Many years ago while I was a schoolboy electrician, I used to help run the stage lighting and we used 5 and 15 amp duraplugs and they were universally called " 5 amp Durex " or "15 amp Durex " and even now I have been know to ask for a 13 amp durex plug.
It has taken me over 40 years to find there was a connection
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Old 29th May 2019, 2:27 pm   #115
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

I don't think I will be able to look at a Duraplug the same way ever again!
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Old 29th May 2019, 4:33 pm   #116
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
Coloured sleeves would no doubt add to the cost, without any directly-quantifiable-in-pounds-and-pence benefit (unless they could sell coloured-sleeved plugs at a premium).

I don't know if there are any credible statistics on injuries/deaths from rewirable-plugs-wired-with-live-and-neutral-transposed, but if there are I suspect the number is distinctly noise-level when compared to the total number of plugs in service.

IMHO the move to appliances coming with fitted-plugs/pre-assembled IEC-leads was the biggest safety-related 'thing' in the last 30 years. It's a move that's welcomed by consumers too - so much morte convenient - no more buying an appliance and getting it home all hoping to enjoy it then finding there's no plug.... (so you stuff the wires into a socket and 'assist' the connection using a couple of matchsticks and a teaspoon).

Moulded-on plugs probably work out cheaper than separately-wired ones: another win for everyone!
Practically everything sold in the US had some form of molded plug attached to the power cord(mains lead) since the mid 30's. It was a cost saving effort and the NEMA plug configuration was well established for at least 10 years.
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Old 29th May 2019, 4:48 pm   #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Philpott View Post
Agreed. I have a 13A plug with colour coded sleeves. Makes perfect sense. Also see-through plugs could show up loosened conductors before they become dangerous (provided that the transparent material is durable enough)
Another Dave here!
The Hospital Grade plugs, both molded and rewire able are made of a transparent material that is extremely durable.
The conductors are spot welded to the prongs on the molded one instead of being crimped. Looks as it would be impossible to damage it.
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Old 30th May 2019, 9:13 pm   #118
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

John Ward has just uploaded a video about an unusual vintage TL brand BS1363 plug

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnHOlhPd58Q
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Old 30th May 2019, 10:26 pm   #119
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

Just watched the above video, and the presenter omitted to mention the inbuilt wire stripper.

It's a little slotted metal strip on the bottom edge of the plug, next to the cable entry hole, and is clearly visible in the video.

It is designed only to remove the covering from the inner cores of a flex to expose the copper ends.

I had one of these plugs in the late 80s, and thoroughly disliked it.
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Old 30th May 2019, 10:46 pm   #120
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Default Re: Any other plug collectors out there?

Peter, have a look at this thread for what is, I think, a newer version of those plugs.

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...3&postcount=92

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