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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 22nd Feb 2018, 12:35 pm   #21
broadgage
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

Yes, it was common practice in bedsits and the like to only meter power sockets and not the lighting.
Sometimes this was done for simplicity, in other cases regulations required non metered lighting to avoid danger when the meter ran out.

Decades ago, I knew the landlord of numerous such properties, and was given the job of fitting 1 amp fuses to lighting circuits to limit misuse of the lamp sockets.

More recently I advised on the wiring of a block of bedsits, the lighting consisted of 2 pin CFLs in pendant holders, with remote ballasts. Almost impossible to obtain significant free electricity.
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Old 22nd Feb 2018, 6:46 pm   #22
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tractorfan View Post
But, is it also illegal because of what it is?
There's a big distinction between British Standards and some regulations, and other regulations like Electricity at Work (1989). The latter has teeth, and prosecutions may result and do so. I'm not saying this as an expert but I had passing familiarity with these sorts of discussions when I worked in an industrial environment a long time ago.

So it's probably overstating things to describe ownership of any domestic object, however it came to be the way it is, as 'illegal' on the basis of its electrical configuration, whatever that may be.

Now, if you mend something for a fee and then the person who commissioned the work, or a third party, is electrocuted through normal use and is injured or dies, then you may be defending a lawsuit, provided the prosecution can prove a) liability and b) causation.

That's why it's a big step to take money for a repair to vintage equipment as a business, rather than saying that it's a hobby for which you cover your costs. That may not be a defence, but there is a clear distinction in terms of what precautions you might choose to take if you were doing such a thing regularly.

It also helps to know these things when you're doing DIY.
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Old 22nd Feb 2018, 9:23 pm   #23
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

Quote:
Originally Posted by broadgage View Post
Yes, it was common practice in bedsits and the like to only meter power sockets and not the lighting.
When I was a student I lived in a room in an old victorian house in N. London with no power sockets at all, only the light. I used an adaptor as in the original post to plug my razor in.
Metering was done by the landlady who seemed to spend all her time watching the meter in the cellar. If I switched the light on before it was dark it took her about ten seconds to run up three flights of stairs to tell me to turn it off. When I rented a TV (also plugged in to the light socket via such an adaptor) she charged me 10p per week for the electricity.
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Old 22nd Feb 2018, 9:48 pm   #24
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

My parents had one of these adaptors plugged into the bedroom light. The 'straight-through' one carried the normal lightbulb, the side one carried the electric blanket! There was a pull-cord fitted to this particular adapter so it could be switched off easily. The house they lived in had ceiling roses fitted with old twisted cloth covered wire. After several years of pulling, you can imagine the stress on the old wire.....one night the wire snapped with a loud pop plunging the house into darkness....! I can still see the lampshade on the floor with the length of wire protruding from the bulbholder. They had a cold bed that night!

My brother had to grope his way down to the cellar to fix the fuse....real fusewire with a ceramic holder. No RCD's or breakers in those days!
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Old 22nd Feb 2018, 11:10 pm   #25
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

I recall that some of these adaptors had steel side-pins that rusted through over the years, with predictable end result.
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Old 23rd Feb 2018, 12:02 am   #26
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

I had use of the boxroom in our brand new modern semi [1958] but it had no sockets in there at all, so I used a 30's adaptor from the light socket to feed my bench a two amp supply very successfully until I fitted four ring main sockets at the age of 14.

Even the front room had a fixed point electric fire but no sockets. I was very popular when I tapped in a double socket but it was all self interest as I could be on my own with the record player, basking in the heat! I think the bayonet adaptors served an obvious purpose in the early days of house wiring and were quite clever. I don't think there was a high level of fire or injury as people treated things with respect. Now, despite all the H+S etc spin dryers and other white goods are igniting all the time [Grenfell]. The current figures for London, from the Fire Brigade, are shocking [no pun intended].

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Old 23rd Feb 2018, 3:33 am   #27
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

I have somewhere an old brass BC lamp holder that is marked "max 660 watts" since AFAIK lamps with a BC cap were not generally available in more than 200 watts, the rating suggests that the makers allowed for plugging in other loads like electric irons.

I have also seen lamp holders marked "5 amps" possibly for the same reason, or perhaps to allow for the use of ELV lamps.
25 volt, 100 watt lamps certainly existed and would of course use about 4 amps.
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Old 23rd Feb 2018, 5:26 am   #28
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

The 5 amp marking likely meant that it was capable of carrying all the current needed to pull the standard size fuse, so whether loaded to the max, or holding a bulb which went short, it wouldn't be damaged.

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Old 23rd Feb 2018, 3:07 pm   #29
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

I can remember my grandmother plugging her iron into the light socket with one of those!
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Old 23rd Feb 2018, 3:53 pm   #30
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

I am wondering if you could sell (or even buy) one these nowadays if it had the appropriate "needs a tool" construction.
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Old 23rd Feb 2018, 5:08 pm   #31
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

It would appear that they are still avaiblable (one of many examples) - and they don't appear to require a tool.
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Old 23rd Feb 2018, 6:18 pm   #32
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

Brilliant, I wonder if the "no tool" bit is exempt from light fittings, you can merrily poke your finger into a new one.
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Old 23rd Feb 2018, 6:19 pm   #33
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

Unless things have changed recently, pendant lampholders don't require a tool either. Presumably the risk is similar - indeed, I've often inadvertantly started to unscrew the cap when attempting to loosen a shade ring.
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Old 23rd Feb 2018, 7:57 pm   #34
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

I've got 3 of the Y shaped ones 2 of them with the little string operated switches I've used mine on a little project to make my own Xmas light string using 15 watt pygmy bulbs. I clearly remember my nan plugged her electric blanket into the light socket despite the fact her bedroom had conventional mains sockets right by the bed! Go figure as they say!
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Old 23rd Feb 2018, 11:55 pm   #35
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

Ceiling roses can also be unscrewed by hand and I have seen them sold pre-wired to a pendant that also can be unscrewed by hand.
They must count a step ladder as a tool I suppose.
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Old 24th Feb 2018, 3:59 am   #36
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

With those lamp adaptors, what arrangements were typically made for protective earthing of the connected appliances? I suspect that "back in the day", not all appliances connected in that manner would have been of the Class II type.

Cheers,
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Old 24th Feb 2018, 4:54 am   #37
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

No earth at all. People were much more careful with electricity and there were few appliances in use. There was also little extraneous earthed metalwork in the home to touch and complete the circuit. The cold water pipe coming in was the earth, that was about it.
Folk got used to "getting a Tingle".
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Old 24th Feb 2018, 11:39 am   #38
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

Mmmmm! I was born in 1948 when adapters, maybe not quite so many as illustrated were common place in houses that did not possess any socket outlets or power points as they were known.

Even in the late 1960's I encounters many.

This picture took a bit of setting up. All the BC adapters had to be switched on and most were unmarked. With 240V applied the 1930 lamp was too bright for photography but a reduction to 80V produced a fair result.

I await the visit from the plug police to confiscate my treasures.

Just a serious note. I used to sell most of the adapters and two pin plugs shown in the picture. The rep from WELCO ELECTRIC collected all the types that were banned due to the new regulations. They were of course credited to my account. I cannot remember the date, possibly 1980? Regards, John.
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Old 24th Feb 2018, 11:56 am   #39
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Smile Re: Lamp adapter query.

Hi,
An interesting thread indeed!
Just as an aside, I also have an Edison Screw lamp holder adaptor. It's quite clever in that it has a separate 'collar' that allows the threaded portion to be screwed in without twisting the flex.
I've never seen another one, and assume they're far more common in the USA than here.
Cheers, Pete.
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Old 24th Feb 2018, 12:02 pm   #40
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Default Re: Lamp adapter query.

The one ES lampholder-adaptor I remember was intriguing in that though it had a straight-through connection to continue to power the bulb, the 'socket' function was actually for a pair of 2-pin 5-amp plugs, which stuck out horizontally, one on each side. That must have made fitting any kind of lampshade rather difficult - at least the usual types to take a BC 'plug' had the sockets angled downwards.
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