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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 8th Sep 2021, 6:13 pm   #1
Lancs Lad
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Default 1978 Crabtree Accessories.

I remember when the new wing of my primary school was completed in 1978, and we were all allowed to explore our new territory.

The walls were all breeze block, and all the electrical fittings were surface-mounted, fed through white plastic conduit.


The sockets and light switches were metal-clad, in a sludgy-grey colour, with white insulating material around the live (line?) and neutral apertures, and the earth just left bare.

The switches on the sockets looked woefully inadequate to me - even at eight years old!

I've since found out they were Crabtree! Anyone recognise what I'm describing! Or, even better, got some photos?

The internet seems to be devoid of any pics, so I really would love to see any of yours.

Thanks so much.
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Old 8th Sep 2021, 6:55 pm   #2
duncanlowe
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Default Re: 1978 Crabtree Accessories.

I certainly used to have one, I'll have a look in the box in the garage. Though I'd disagree though about the adequacy, always seems OK to me.
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Old 8th Sep 2021, 10:18 pm   #3
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Default Re: 1978 Crabtree Accessories.

these? (available in several colours)
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Old 9th Sep 2021, 5:22 pm   #4
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: 1978 Crabtree Accessories.

Crabtree stuff was always reasonable-quality - along with MK, Wylex, GEC and BICC. There were other brands of distinctly-lower quality [Marbo, for example, or W&G].

At my secondary-school most ordinary classrooms only had a single 5-Amp BS546 round-pin power outlet - a bulky black cast-iron lump with a switch, surface-mounted and fed via conduit. The art-room and geography-room had extra sockets [to feed floodlamps and a wall-hung, rear-illuminated mapholder]; I remember when the languages-room was refurbished they added a 13A outlet and fused-spur-box alongside and fed from the existing 5A socket so a tape-recorder and slide-projector could be used at the same time. Those of us not of a linguistic persuasion took to stealing the 5A fuse from the spur-box which - for a while - meant we could escape the tiresomeness of French tuition.

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Old 10th Sep 2021, 6:14 am   #5
JonSnell
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Default Re: 1978 Crabtree Accessories.

A BS546 ... luxury.
At my first primary school I remember the daisy chain of accessories hanging from the light fitting above Mrs Dixon, the school teachers desk. I can't remember what they were, just long pieces of flex.
My Mum used to do the ironing from the light socket as well.
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Old 10th Sep 2021, 9:23 pm   #6
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Default Re: 1978 Crabtree Accessories.

At my secondary school the Home Economics rooms had some flexes hanging from the ceiling with what appeared to be round pin line sockets on the ends.

These were looked long out of use, and were tied high up out of reach, there were some snipped off pull cords which once turned them on & off.

During my time there these rooms were renovated & these fittings were removed.
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Old 11th Sep 2021, 2:37 pm   #7
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Default Re: 1978 Crabtree Accessories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by McMurdo View Post
these? (available in several colours)
I have one of those single type in the workshop, it gets used regularly and can withstand lots of abuse without breaking.
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Old 12th Sep 2021, 8:09 pm   #8
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Default Re: 1978 Crabtree Accessories.

I wired my first house about then - as a 'wedding present' for a pal who had bought it and was on doing it up. Crabtree were the only company who made sockets that would fit in a plaster-depth box, and were invaluable, if a tad finnicky to wire with 2.5mm T&E looped in.
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Old 12th Sep 2021, 10:34 pm   #9
dglcomp
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Default Re: 1978 Crabtree Accessories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard_FM View Post
At my secondary school the Home Economics rooms had some flexes hanging from the ceiling with what appeared to be round pin line sockets on the ends.

These were looked long out of use, and were tied high up out of reach, there were some snipped off pull cords which once turned them on & off.

During my time there these rooms were renovated & these fittings were removed.
Much more modern, but one of the rooms we used at college for Electronics and IT had 4 socket power strips hanging from the ceiling plugged in to what looked like lightning track. Quite handy really.
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Old 14th Sep 2021, 7:54 am   #10
Stuart R
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Default Re: 1978 Crabtree Accessories.

Strange... down here in Hertfordshire the first two schools I attended were fitted with the bronze-looking Crabtree sockets with the addition of a nice rectangular neon.

Both schools were built in the 50s but must of had re-wires in the 1970s. Again, all surface mount (metal conduit this time) and I seem to remember a small extension to the Infants school being in unfinished breeze block in the mid 70s.

One neon was constantly a-glow as we had a teacher who would be frequently drinking coffee. Their mug and boiling element would be on the floor along side one of our desks. I remember they got quite cross when one unlucky child knocked the thing over and the element boiled-dry.

Not sure that 9 year-olds, electricity and boiling water is the safest combination.

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Old 15th Sep 2021, 12:58 pm   #11
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Default Re: 1978 Crabtree Accessories.

My secondary school had some 15 amp 3 pin sockets that looked like standard BS types but with a slightly different pin spacing.
They were marked D.C. despite no DC supply having been available for many years.
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Old 15th Sep 2021, 1:34 pm   #12
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Default Re: 1978 Crabtree Accessories.

My secondary school had a 3pin 2amp switched socket for the connection of a slide projector, tape recorder or record player in every classroom, all in conduit. Next to it was a standard jack socket that was connected to the school radio. It was often used to supply the school tape recorder with a signal source for recording boring schools broadcasts. I remember seeing the radio in the headmasters office. It had Mullard Red E series octal valves and was a very good performer with no interference. AM of course.

The school was built in 1934 and all the fittings looked original. Lighting was standard 150W lamps in green enamel shades with an angled one over the black board. Seems like just yesterday. John.
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