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Old 10th Apr 2020, 10:40 pm   #1
hillwalker
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Default Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

Good Evening Everybody

Just thought you all might be interested in a few photos of an old switch (I was told a fair few years ago Immersion Heater switch, this makes sense, since the top knockout is rectangular, possibly for the fixed supply cable and the bottom knockout is more round, for the heat resistant flex to the Immersion).

Picture 'Old Switch': Switch is rotary operated and has two On and two Off positions and will turn either clockwise or anti-clockwise.

Picture 'Back of Old Switch': Manufactured by 'NEW DAY' 20 Amps 250v.
No provision for earthing (although was quite possibly manufactured at a time when Earthing was provided via the mains metallic water pipe, and additionally, in the case of an Immersion Heater, the metal pipework.

Continuity across two top terminals and two bottom terminals when in on position.

No FEED and LOAD markings, however looking inside at links from terminals to lamp, in order for the lamp to be connected to the LOAD side, the wiring, looking at the back of the switch would be:

FEED - Live: Top Left Neutral: Bottom Right
LOAD - Live: Top Right Neutral: Bottom Left

Picture 'Inside Old Switch' (Front Cover Removed): Links to supply lamp. If FEED and LOAD are reversed, lamp will still be 'Live' when switched off.

Picture 'Lamp from Old Switch': Lamp (Gas Filled) Bayonet type easily replaceable.

250-260v 0.5w GEC LTD OSRAM MADE IN ENGLAND.

Picture 'Old Switch in Use': Connected to 2 core flex and 13 Amp (3 Amp Fused) plug.

Lamp glowing orange.
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Old 11th Apr 2020, 12:55 pm   #2
matthewhouse
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

There is one of these still in use in an old house near me, the neon lamp was nice and bright too.
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Old 11th Apr 2020, 1:03 pm   #3
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

This may be the manufacturer/distributor:

New Day Electric (Sales) Ltd, Cotswold Works, Chalford, Nr Stroud, Glos (in 1958). Maker/seller(?) of the “Sonic Washer”.
Also in 1958, at the same address: Gillott Electro Appliances Ltd – maker of convector heaters.
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Old 11th Apr 2020, 1:42 pm   #4
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

The clever thing about that switch is that to change its state whether from OFF to ON or vice versa you can turn it either way- you just have to operate it.
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Old 11th Apr 2020, 2:07 pm   #5
dave walsh
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

As a side issue, I have a similar sized older immersion heater switch. It's not got the complexities of this one, just on/off and neon but I was always a bit surprised by the relatively small proportions. It didn't look as though it could carry the current level but worked without difficulty for a couple of decades after I bought the house. I decided eventually to replace it with a modern fitting ie on a standard 8cm square box. To my surprise this switch overheated [no pun intended] and had to be replaced with a new one. No problems since then but for a while, I had the original switch back in place again to "hold the Fort". I was convinced that a modern approved chunkier switch was bound to be entirely reliable but maybe this was just a "one off"

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Old 11th Apr 2020, 11:57 pm   #6
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

My mother (96) has one of those in her house and it still works, although the immersion heater is only there as a backup in case the CH boiler fails. It's been there since before my parents bought the house in 1956, and probably dates from the 1930's.

When I was about 14 years old the neon lamp had blackened so badly with age that it was getting too dim to see in daylight. I found a replacement in a junk box in the garage and fitted it... on turning on the switch there was a loud BANG and the bulb disintegrated. What I had found was an ancient fluorescent light starter with the same construction and base, but having a bi-metallic shorting switch inside instead of the neon. Surprise and embarrassment all round...

After pulling the mains fuse (which of course needed rewiring) and fishing out all the bits of bulb, the correct replacement neon was eventually sourced and it has been there ever since - about 50 years.
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Old 12th Apr 2020, 6:21 pm   #7
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Smile Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

Hi,
Slightly OT, but on the subject of immersion heaters, I was asked to fit a new switch for a friend of my wife's.
For many years the heater had been supplied via an white MK 13 amp switched plug in a surface mount socket screwed to the shelf in the airing cupboard. The heater was rated at 4Kw, and I was surprised that the switch contacts and fuse had lasted so long!
I dismantled the plug and found little damage to the contacts. I still have it, and it's now in retirement and wired to my Safeblock.
Cheers, Pete.
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Old 12th Apr 2020, 10:54 pm   #8
Lucien Nunes
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

I think this switch dates from the late 1940s - early 1950s. It was made by New Day Electrical Accessories Ltd. of Birmingham, a small manufacturer perhaps best remembered for their 'Fireside' multi-sockets with one 13A and two 2A sockets combined. This switch is unlikely to be a prewar design as it is for AC only. I believe it should have a back cover / pattress, or at least that one should have been fitted if it were installed straight onto a wall.

What is the patent No. on the back? There is also reference to other(s) pending, which I think might be referring to GB653545A, 'Improvements in and relating to rotary electric switches.' This was applied for in 1948 and published in 1951, and seems to show a rotary switch of the type fitted here. If so, it is likely that this unit was made between those dates or soon after. Its inventor, Leslie Newton Davey, was responsible for most or all of New Day's other patented features, such as their flip-out fuseholder and certain types of contacts etc. I have wondered in the past whether 'New Day' was a contraction of 'Newton Davey'. Perhaps someone knows more? They seem to have been liquidated in 1957, after which MEM took over the Fireside sockets, at first just milling the name 'New Day' out of the bakelite moulds but later redesigning them.

In any case, it is interesting to see a New Day product other than the sockets.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 12:21 pm   #9
m0cemdave
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

There's a bit of information on the company here (from an exhibition catalogue):
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 8:00 pm   #10
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

I recall New Day wiring accessories as a child in the 1970s - I name I have not been able to find much on since.


I had an aunt that had a house that would have been built in 1956/1957 in Kingswood, here in Bristol, which had brown Bakelite plaster depth lightswitches. There were one and two gang ones, and single 13A sockets that matched.

The plateswitches if I recall had a fairly flat front, slightly radius corners and dolly / tumbler switches. The dolly mechanism was fairly flat, and tapered to a straight front edge.

How I recall the name, was at some point, she redecorated the kitchen, and wanted a 'modern white switch' fitted, which I was able to do.

The fixing centres and switch dimensions, of the old 1950s switch matched exactly the modern 1970s switch we fitted.

I have never come across these wiring accessories since, despite much of the last 40 years working in the electrical industry!

The nearest I came up with a few years back, was a switch of similar vintage, made by a company called Lundberg. The Lundberg switch however, although ivory in colour, was not a 'plateswitch' as such, but had the detachable front cover revealing the switch mechanism that was fitted to a flush rear wooden backbox.
It was certainly not a plaster depth switch - where as the New Day switch definitely was.

In terms of the New Day switches, I would imagine, that the switches were probably kept by a local wholesaler, who supplied the electrical contractor that would have wired the estate.

Just like the present day, wholesalers I guess even then would have tended to chop and change their suppliers of wiring accessories, to keep offering competitively-priced ranges. As others have said above, a few years later the name disappeared.

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Old 13th Apr 2020, 10:04 pm   #11
hillwalker
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucien Nunes View Post
What is the patent No. on the back?
On the back is as follows:

U.K.PAT.577584/46
AND PENDING

I was also a bit surprised at it been 20 Amps, since I always thought an Immersion Switch from the dates some of the posters suggested would be more likely rated at 15 Amps.

I once came across two Wylex Standard Range Bakelite fuse covers (the brown type screwed to the front of the Wylex Bakelite fuse box with the wooden frame) with a yellow label inside each fuse cover stating the S.W.G of different size fuse wires. One cover had 5, 15 and 30 amp fuse wire S.W.G while the other had the same but also with 20 Amp fuse wire S.W.G - I thought this may have suggested the 20 Amp rating of circuit fuses and therefore probably other electrical accessories was a later development.

Regards
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 10:44 pm   #12
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

Along with the Wylex fuseholder colour codes for 5,15,30A (white, blue, red?) there certainly was an unusual 20A yellow coded fuseholder. John Ward mentioned it in one of his youtube videos.

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Old 13th Apr 2020, 11:17 pm   #13
Lancs Lad
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

I think 16 amp RCBOs are fitted to immersion heater radials these days.

I wonder what the unusual 20 amp fuse would have been used for in a domestic CU?
Maybe a fairly low-powered early electric shower?

When did the first electric showers (as we know them today) begin to appear in UK bathrooms, I wonder?
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 11:32 pm   #14
Lucien Nunes
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

The 20A radial circuit is a standard option for supplying a small number of 13A socket outlets or FCUs. I have two 20A radials on a Wylex rewirable board at home, each serving the sockets in two bedrooms. AFAIK instant electric 'geysers' were around from the 1930s (Santon comes to mind) but would always have had a loading in excess of 20A. The first showers as we know them were probably lower powered on average than today, but again over 20A.
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 10:13 am   #15
Herald1360
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

ISTR 6kW with a fairly fine sprinkler head was common for early electric showers so 26A.

20A fuse rating sounds about right for protection of a 2.5sqmm radial circuit.
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 11:12 am   #16
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

I'd always mentally had 20A down as being for storage heaters. Never seen any 20A fuse wire for sale though!
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 12:11 pm   #17
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

Here's some, Colin!

Plenty available online
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 7:47 pm   #18
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucien Nunes View Post
AFAIK instant electric 'geysers' were around from the 1930s (Santon comes to mind) but would always have had a loading in excess of 20A.
I have a rather wonderful 'Brown Brother's' catalogue from 1938. By the look of it, they were a chain of national electrical wholesalers. There's everything in there- plugs & sockets, industrial switchgear & wiring accessories, lighting, lead covered twin & earth cable plus a section on domestic appliances. All with great pictures!

'Santon' can supply thermal store water heaters from 1.5 gal (750W) up to 20 gal (2KW). If you need to use them on DC mains, add 11 Shillings & 3 pence!

'Heatrae' (no Sadia then) do a similar range up to 30 gal which is 3KW, priced at £27,0,0.

Santon do their own control switch which looks very similar to the OP's one except it's surface mount with it's own box. Similar style with rotary switch
& neon lamp.

Santon also list an instantaneous water heater which works on the same principal as a modern electric shower. The 'Electric Geyser' is rated at 5KW and priced at £103/6!!

I was getting carried away there! Once I start looking through, I find all sorts of interesting things- maybe I should give it it's own thread?

The Wylex range of consumer units with the colour coded rewireable fuses (BS3036 'semi enclosed fuse') must be the most widely used fuse box of all time! There must still be millions in service and they rarely give any trouble.

The colour code was 5A white, 15A blue, 20A Yellow, 30A red. I've also got a green one with a 40A cartridge fuse. The pin spacing was different on each so you couldn't put the wrong size in the wrong hole. Of course that didn't stop people from fitting 30A fuse wire to a 5A one!

Many thanks to 'Hillwalker' for sharing the pictures!

All the best
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 8:15 pm   #19
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

That 'Brown Brothers' catalogue sounds fabulous, Nick! Anything like that absolutely fascinates me.

Hope all is well with you and yours
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 8:44 pm   #20
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Default Re: Very Old (Immersion Heater?) Switch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancs Lad View Post
That 'Brown Brothers' catalogue sounds fabulous, Nick! Anything like that absolutely fascinates me.
I thought it would, Peter! All those plugs & sockets- pages of 'em! Makes such as MK, Crabtree, Wylex, Clix, Tenby, Tucker, Marbo & Britmac.

Mk list a rectangular fused 15A 3 pin plug! They also do a rather nice cooker control unit complete with either 5A or 15A socket!

Unfortunately, I don't have scanning facilities, but I'll try & post some pictures.

Cheers
Nick
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