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Old 12th May 2010, 2:45 pm   #1
Focus Diode
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Default Unusual flex colour code- c.1960s Singer Sewing Machine

Recently purchased the above for my partner in excellent condition and working order complete with accessories. British Made with all the craftmanship that went into it.

The outer cable is figure of eight grey exterior of the type frequently encountered on TV sets of the '70s and '80s. The machine itself is double insulated with the twin box logo.

On opening the plug to check the wiring and fuse rating I was very surprised to find the inner cores GREY and BLACK, the latter connected to live.

I've certainly not seen that combination before! Anyone else encountered this?

Cheers,
Brian
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Old 12th May 2010, 4:02 pm   #2
wd40addict
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Default Re: Unusual flex colour code- c.1960s Singer Sewing Machine

In the USA the standard is Black = hot (live), white = neutral and green = ground. Singer being American I wonder if this is a variation of that.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 12th May 2010, 4:04 pm   #3
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Unusual flex colour code- c.1960s Singer Sewing Machine

I think that's an old American standard.

The machine was almost certainly built at the huge Singer factory at Clydebank, Glasgow.
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Old 12th May 2010, 5:12 pm   #4
Lucien Nunes
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Default Re: Unusual flex colour code- c.1960s Singer Sewing Machine

Black / grey is old German, black being live. The colours applied to both installation cables and flexible cords. Neutral was later changed to blue.

In a three core flex or cable of that era, earth was red! You can imagine the result when such appliances were shipped to the UK and fitted with UK plugs by people familiar with red / black / green...

Lucien
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Old 12th May 2010, 6:05 pm   #5
Focus Diode
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Default Re: Unusual flex colour code- c.1960s Singer Sewing Machine

Many thanks for your interesting replies. I've seen Blue and Black before and the US green, white and black.

I could imagine brown being used for Earth but red?! Amazing!

Cheers,
Brian
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Old 12th May 2010, 6:19 pm   #6
McMurdo
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Default Re: Unusual flex colour code- c.1960s Singer Sewing Machine

My mum's 1950's singer uses red and yellow, no earth.
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Old 12th May 2010, 6:34 pm   #7
David G4EBT
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Default Re: Unusual flex colour code- c.1960s Singer Sewing Machine

I'm not sure whether it's one of those 'urban legends' that often find their way into newspapers on a slow news day, but I saw a snippet in a newspaper which purported that when a schoolboy had been asked what he thought the three colours meant said he didn't know. When pressed to hazard a guess, he said "well blue is the colour of sky, and the sky is high, so that's probably for high voltage, brown is the colour of earth, and yellow and green are sort of neutral colours".

Hard to argue against the logic of that!

David.
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Old 12th May 2010, 8:43 pm   #8
Mr Moose
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Default Re: Unusual flex colour code- c.1960s Singer Sewing Machine

Hello,
To add to possible confusion, under the new harmonised colours for cable in this country, the three live phase colours are Brown, Black and Grey and the Neutral is Blue. So the old Black which was neutral is now a live (phase) colour and the old Blue which was a live (phase) colour is now neutral.
Yours, Richard
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