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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 17th Apr 2020, 7:42 pm   #21
McMurdo
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

They were doing paint distribution in the 30's
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Old 17th Apr 2020, 7:44 pm   #22
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Smile Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

Hi,
The third photo in the OPs post includes a 'MEMDIX' porcelain cut out. This is mine.
Pull the knob out to switch off, then unscrew said knob and remove the carrier to rewire the fuses, and expose the live feed terminals!
I've also included a couple of other items that could well have been in that catalogue.
Cheers, Pete.
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Old 17th Apr 2020, 8:20 pm   #23
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1100 man View Post
Indeed, they deliver bodyshop supplies to our workshop. Surely this is not an evolution of the same company though?
No. Completely separate: https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Brown_Brothers
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Old 17th Apr 2020, 8:36 pm   #24
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

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Originally Posted by Panrock View Post
Does it include any mechanical television components?
Steve
No - I have just searched the entire catalogue and there is nothing related to televisors at all.

However, the range of wireless components is extremely comprehensive.
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Old 17th Apr 2020, 9:11 pm   #25
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

I well remember that cylindrical boiler in post no. 19 - which for some reason was always known to us as a "copper", even though it was made of galvanised iron.
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Old 17th Apr 2020, 10:36 pm   #26
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

According to the grace's guide page in post 23, Brown Brothers were acquired by Partco in 1997. Partco were themselves taken over by Unipart in 1999. Unipart sold its Brown Brothers subsidiary in 2007 to PPG Holdings, who are shown as the parent of Brown Brothers on their current website. So I stick to my post!

https://www.businesswire.com/news/ho...art-Automotive
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Old 17th Apr 2020, 11:41 pm   #27
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

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I well remember that cylindrical boiler in post no. 19 - which for some reason was always known to us as a "copper", even though it was made of galvanised iron.
Known as "coppers" because the earlier ones were made of copper, supported in a brick surround and with a hearth underneath in which a fire could be lit. Used to boil laundry and sometimes for other purposes involving heating a lot of water.
The term "copper" persisted for similar appliances heated by gas or electricity and made of other materials.
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Old 18th Apr 2020, 5:17 pm   #28
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

Myy aunt's gas copper did have a copper water container. Before they got a geyser circa 1960 it was used to heat bath water. The copper vessel was then removed and used as a garden incinerator.

I have a complete GEC catalogue for 1897, and two of the four volumes of their 1910-11 catalogue. No mention of fridges in the volumes I have (which do include domestic appliances) or the all-volume index.
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Old 18th Apr 2020, 5:32 pm   #29
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

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Originally Posted by McMurdo View Post
According to the grace's guide page in post 23, Brown Brothers were acquired by Partco in 1997. Partco were themselves taken over by Unipart in 1999. Unipart sold its Brown Brothers subsidiary in 2007 to PPG Holdings, who are shown as the parent of Brown Brothers on their current website. So I stick to my post!
Also the London address quoted on the electrical parts catalogue (post #2) is the same as the address on the thirties paint advert (post #21). The logos are identical too so clearly the same parent company.

Alan
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Old 18th Apr 2020, 7:02 pm   #30
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

Looking at the prices - remember that these are wholesale prices.

The retailer who bought their stock-in-trade from Brown Brothers would then add on their own markup - and then on top of that would go the Government-mandated Purchase-Tax-of-the-day [which could be around 40% for 'luxury' items like radiograms].

Appliances we now consider cheap consumables were - back then - horribly expensive when compared to the average wage. For a 'white-collar' bank-clerk buying a new vacuum-cleaner or washing-machine could consume a couple of weeks wages; for a working-class person it was out of the question.
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Old 18th Apr 2020, 11:02 pm   #31
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

Quote:
Also the London address quoted on the electrical parts catalogue (post #2) is the same as the address on the thirties paint advert (post #21). The logos are identical too so clearly the same parent company.
Ooh, that's clever! It looks like Alan & Kevin have proved that they are indeed the same company. I would never have believed it!

Quote:
The third photo in the OPs post includes a 'MEMDIX' porcelain cut out. This is mine.
Pull the knob out to switch off, then unscrew said knob and remove the carrier to rewire the fuses, and expose the live feed terminals!
Hi Pete,
That's a rather nice unit. The first rule for an electrician is ' don't poke your fingers into places where fingers ought not to be poked!

The catalogue has several pages on adaptors- there are loads of different types to convert almost anything to everything else! It was such a good idea when we got the 13A standardised plug to do everything. Got rid of the need for all those adaptors.

G6, Yes it's amazing when you look at the prices and realise that they were 'trade'. No wonder people expected to keep things for so long and get them repaired!

Cheers
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Old 19th Apr 2020, 10:46 am   #32
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

I often use this inflation calculator website - just for my own amusement, really - and it's interesting to see how much long-ago prices would equate to today.

Taking the example of the 60 fridge mentioned by Nick in post #19, I entered that amount, and then the year 1938.

See pics for the result.

Not sure how accurate it is, but it seems to confirm that such items were very much beyond the reach of normal working-class people.
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Old 19th Apr 2020, 11:11 am   #33
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

I'd love to know who made the washing machine my old nan used. It was cylindrical, and had a gas ring underneath to heat the water. You filled it with water from the sink in a bucket with some soap powder. The top was then closed and some toggle clamps put in place to hold the lid down. In the lid was an "agitator" - basically a crank handle, which had a paddle that went into the soap liquid with your clothes in. My nan got a workout by cranking that handle back and forth. Mounted behind this monster was a wooden roller mangle - again hand operated.

I cannot recall how the clothes were rinsed after mangling. But the tub was drained into a bucket from a tap at the bottom of the tub.

She was using that until her mid to late 70's.

Can anyone remember who made that beast, or similar?
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Old 19th Apr 2020, 12:09 pm   #34
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

It sounds like the next step up from a copper and posser/dolly stick.
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Old 19th Apr 2020, 3:01 pm   #35
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

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Originally Posted by Lancs Lad View Post
Not sure how accurate it is, but it seems to confirm that such items were very much beyond the reach of normal working-class people.
That's half of the calculation. The other is disposable income. It's easy to underestimate how much better off most of us are now (financially) even in relation to the 1960s, never mind the 30s.
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Old 19th Apr 2020, 5:17 pm   #36
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

Out of interest, in around '78 BVWS did a reprint of the Brown Brothers catalogue from the early/mid thirties as I recall. All members received a copy. It had plenty of radios in it as well the switches and other electrical items.
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Old 21st Apr 2020, 1:52 pm   #37
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

Only just spotted this thread.
The first picture in post #22 is of the very same type of power switch/fuse that I have for the mains supply in my workshop.
I installed it when I built the workshop in 1989, mainly because it was available in my misc. junk box at the time.
It easily carries 13 amps with no fuss or over-heating.
Just for a laugh, it has an old B.S.I. electrical safety pass label hanging fron the knob. Tony.
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Old 21st Apr 2020, 3:40 pm   #38
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Sawyers View Post
I'd love to know who made the washing machine my old nan used. It was cylindrical, and had a gas ring underneath to heat the water. You filled it with water from the sink in a bucket with some soap powder. The top was then closed and some toggle clamps put in place to hold the lid down. In the lid was an "agitator" - basically a crank handle, which had a paddle that went into the soap liquid with your clothes in. My nan got a workout by cranking that handle back and forth. Mounted behind this monster was a wooden roller mangle - again hand operated.

I cannot recall how the clothes were rinsed after mangling. But the tub was drained into a bucket from a tap at the bottom of the tub.

She was using that until her mid to late 70's.

Can anyone remember who made that beast, or similar?
Don't know who made that one, but agitators to fit a copper or wash boiler were made by several firms.
Designs varied, but the common feature was re-use of an existing wash boiler. Some were hand cranked, others electric. The electric versions used the same motor to drive a power operated mangle or wringer.
The agitation was fairly slow and the motor of low power and relatively cheap.
IIRC, a 32 volt version existed in the USA, that voltage being common for home lighting plants.
Belt drive from an engine was also available in the USA, the same engine could then drive a flour mill, grind animal feed, pump water, or work power tools.
I recall an advert in the "REA newsletter" for an early electric clothes washer, among the merits of the new appliance was listed "No struggling with a balky gasoline engine" This suggests that a small engine was popular before electricity was available.
A two part hinged lid kept most of the water inside.
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Old 21st Apr 2020, 4:13 pm   #39
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

Yes there were washers sold extensively in the US (aimed at rural communities which had no electricity or only battery-power) which were powered by a small two-stroke engine.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/tec...th-this-video/

Amazing what they had to put up with back then.

I note that brown Bros were apparently Crosley dealers - I wonder if they ever sold the Crosley "Icy Ball" refrigerators here in the UK?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icyball
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Old 21st Apr 2020, 7:06 pm   #40
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Default Re: 1938 Electrical catalogue

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Till recently they did wholesale car parts to the garage trade; we had a trade counter in Stoke; and now appear to specialize in car paint and finishing products
I think they started off as motor factors. Another link with the radio trade probably started with batteries and accumulator charging. John.
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