ECN Electrical Forum - Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#18929 - 12/16/02 09:16 PM While we're on the subject of power strips....
SvenNYC Offline
Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 1691
Loc: New York City
This is sort of a followup to Joe T.'s thread on power strips (Outlet Strips - Am I wrong here?) at

When I was 12 or 13, I remember seeing for sale in supermarkets and variety stores like Woolworth's a small variety of power strip made by Gem Electric (of Hauppauge, NY).

Instead of outlets, this was a small thin plastic and metal device consisting of two parallel full-length slots (almost like train tracks) where you could insert a two-pin plug anywhere on this thing (ends, middle, third of the way, etc.).

The smallest of these (they came in three sizes) could hold up to 8 or 10 thin flat two-pin caps (you know the ones that didn't have that raised guard around the plug face to keep your fingers from slipping when plugging something in)if you bunched them all together. The device also had two holes (between the tracks) for screws for table or baseboard mounting. It also had a 6-foot length of SPT-2 cord (could have been either 16 or 18 AWG wire, I don't remember).

Since they were continous full-length groovesyou could theoretically plug a polarized cap in "backwards."

I haven't seen any of these for sale in YEARS. What triggered my memory was looking at a photocopy of a Gem Electric catalog I got last year. They might still be manufactured although when I called that company to ask about another item, they told me a lot of things in their catalog had been discontinued. Hopefully this was one of them.

Even as a 13-year old growing up with jury-rigged wiring, these light-duty power strips reeked of danger (especially because of the light-duty cord and the lack of a fuse or circuit-breaker like on a "real" power strip.

Does anyone else remember seeing these or is this another one of those
cheap-n-nasty "convenience" items that time forgot?

[This message has been edited by SvenNYC (edited 12-17-2002).]
Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
#18930 - 12/17/02 03:43 AM Re: While we're on the subject of power strips....
sparky Offline
Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5303
yes i remember them Sven
#18931 - 12/17/02 07:28 AM Re: While we're on the subject of power strips....
Bjarney Offline
Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 2527
Loc: West-Southern Inner-Northeast ...
The local TV-repair shop had one, so for me they were automatically cool.
#18932 - 12/17/02 07:39 AM Re: While we're on the subject of power strips....
mamills Offline
Registered: 11/30/01
Posts: 745
Loc: Wharton, Texas, USA
Hi, Sven. I remember those things, too. They were called "Tap-a-Line" strips...had a couple of holes for permanently mounting it somewhere and allowed you to plug enough things into it to turn a wall receptacle inside-out! I still have a couple of these old things, though I never use them anymore (no grounding capability, no circuit breaker). I just keep them around for conversation sake.

Mike (mamills)

Member Spotlight
Member Since: 11/17/00
Posts: 2232
New in the Gallery:
SE cable question

2017 NEC and Related
2017 NEC
Now Available!

Shout Box

Who's Online
0 registered (), 58 Guests and 8 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
New in the Gallery:
SE cable question
Top Posters (30 Days)
Admin 49
HotLine1 43
gfretwell 18
Ruben Rocha 12
Trumpy 9
Newest Members
Freecrowder, clee512, Jdscott2005, FAIZAN, Regitest2

ECN Electrical Forums - sponsored by Electrical Contractor Network - Electrical and Code Related Discussion for Electrical Contractors, Electricians, Inspectors, Instructors, Engineers and other related Professionals