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#144894 - 01/29/06 08:10 PM Archeological find- BS sockets used in Australia
aussie240 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/06/05
Posts: 222
Loc: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Further to the thread where Kiwi asks if BS sockets were ever used in Australia, I think I spoke a bit too soon...
This last weekend I've been digging a trench in my backyard for a stormwater drain. Most rural houses in Australia had their own rubbish tip in the bottom of the backyard where non burnable things like broken crockery etc were disposed of, and my digging was around this area. So yesterday morning appeared a white porcelain object out of the earth. I thought it was a switch mechanism at first. But then a closer look and I thought it was a ceiling rose, with the two 'holes' being where the flex emerged. But once I'd washed it, I found it to be a remarkably well preserved 2 pin BS socket! Unfortunately the cover was missing.

So, it would appear that my own house was fitted with such socket(s).

There's no identification, though Paul suggests it's a Crabtree, but what looked odd was the pin spacing...only 17mm between centres. I'm sure that's narrower than anything UK I've seen.
My guess is that this socket was used in the original laundry/kitchen as this was rebuilt about 25 years ago and the rest of the house still has its one and only original Australian 3 pin power point. What appliance it powered I don't know. The stove and fridge were kerosene well into the 1970's, so perhaps an iron.

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#144895 - 01/30/06 01:10 AM Re: Archeological find- BS sockets used in Australia
C-H Offline

Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
I have a plug that is supposedly a 5A ungrounded BS plug. It is round, has 16 mm pin spacing and 16 mm long pins.

It's not BS546, it's some older BS. I don't remember the number.

Maybe your socket outlet matches this?

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#144896 - 01/30/06 02:53 PM Re: Archeological find- BS sockets used in Australia
uksparx Offline
Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 44
Loc: Egremont,Cumbria,UK
Hi, firstly I have to say this is my first post here - been reading for ages but just discovered how to reply!! That socket is a 5Amp BS 546 two pin socket, the two pin spacing is narrower than the 5Amp three pin. I know because I have one of those sockets, but mine is complete with cover. Not sure of the make, but the cover is a kind of fibre/composite material. Hope this is of some interest.

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#144897 - 01/31/06 01:13 AM Re: Archeological find- BS sockets used in Australia
kiwi Offline
Member

Registered: 12/04/04
Posts: 347
Loc: christchurch new zealand
Nice archaeology Aussie, you cleaned that up real nice !

Does the big C in the middle of the socket stand for "Crabtree" ?

I think Crabtree are still manufacturing now, arent they ?

So it would appear that BS sockets were in use in Aust. and NZ many moons ago.

This socket may also have originated in your parlour (lounge/dining) where the "wireless" once held court.

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#144898 - 01/31/06 01:32 AM Re: Archeological find- BS sockets used in Australia
C-H Offline

Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Welcome to ECN, UKSparx!

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#144899 - 01/31/06 09:47 AM Re: Archeological find- BS sockets used in Australia
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
Welcome aboard uksparx!

 Quote:
Does the big C in the middle of the socket stand for "Crabtree" ?

I think Crabtree are still manufacturing now, arent they ?


The "C" inside a circle was Crabtree's symbol for many years. Here it is on a 1950s BS1363 socket:



You'll find it on the end of the operating toggles of old Crabtree light switches too.

And yes, Crabtree is still in production, now part of the Electrium Group which also bought out Volex and Wylex:
www.electrium.co.uk

 Quote:
but what looked odd was the pin spacing...only 17mm between centres. I'm sure that's narrower than anything UK I've seen.


That's about right for the old 2-pin 5A BS546 plugs. As uksparx says, the spacing is smaller than for the equivalent 3-pin plugs:


For comparison, here's the 2-pin British plug (left) compared with the European plug (right):




And the European compared with the 3-pin 5A British:




[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 01-31-2006).]

[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 01-31-2006).]

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#144900 - 01/31/06 07:42 PM Re: Archeological find- BS sockets used in Australia
yaktx Offline
Member

Registered: 02/19/03
Posts: 286
Loc: Austin, Texas, USA
 Quote:
The stove and fridge were kerosene well into the 1970's, so perhaps an iron.


Was that common in Australia? We used to have propane and natural gas fridges, but kerosene was a pretty rare choice, I think.

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#144901 - 01/31/06 08:32 PM Re: Archeological find- BS sockets used in Australia
aussie240 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/06/05
Posts: 222
Loc: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
 Quote:
Was that common in Australia?

Very...rural Australia ran on kerosene into the 50's. Not only for lighting and heating but also for tractors, and stationary engines which ran the farm tools and the home lighting plant (usually 32V DC).
Reticulated mains was only available in the cities and towns until the 50's when it started to spread out to smaller villages and isolated homes. Even in the mid 1960's 32V appliances were still being made. Many an isolated holiday shack continues to use kero lighting and refrigeration.
Natural gas reticulation is non existant in most rural areas....in those areas if people want gas appliances they have two large LPG cylinders which get swapped over about once a year. However, gas refrigeration is very popular in boats and caravans.

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#144902 - 02/01/06 05:04 AM Re: Archeological find- BS sockets used in Australia
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
 Quote:
However, gas refrigeration is very popular in boats and caravans.


Ditto here. Fridges for caravans (travel trailers) are often the "3-way" type, running on LPG, 240V AC power, or 12V DC while on the move.

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#144903 - 02/01/06 08:05 AM Re: Archeological find- BS sockets used in Australia
Texas_Ranger Offline
Member

Registered: 12/17/01
Posts: 2343
Loc: Vienna, Austria
Funny thing to mention, the plug on the right (probably Italian made, fairly common for cheap table and floor lamps) is rated 6A, compared to the much more substantial 5A plug on the left...
That was the flimsiest style of plug I have ever seen used all around Europe. The terminals inside have to be seen to believe it.

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