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#26079 - 05/29/03 01:26 PM Despard devices??
SvenNYC Offline
Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 1691
Loc: New York City
Why are they called this? Was it originally invented by a guy named Despard (or a company?)

I'm talking about the interchangeable type switches and sockets that get fitted on a frame. I haven't seen one for sale in a regular hardware store in years.

As a teenager, I used to see the little sockets and switches for replacement use in the bins at one place (that is now out of business) but never saw the straps being sold.

Why did this system fall out of favor in the USA? There is a grounded Nema 5-15 socket for this system -- I saw it used in a shaver socket in Canada so it could be used here also.

Mexico uses a similar system, look at Swichi Mexico's offering

The tradename for this company's line of interchangeables is "Snap"

Here is a picture of a two-pin socket module:

Here is a picture of a single-pole single-throw switch:

There are also modules for three-way switches, illuminated switches, TV antenna jacks, phone socket type RJ-11, bell push and blanking plate.

Here is how you put it together:

The picture shows a standard RJ-11 phone socket, a blank plate and a TV antenna socket.

Mexico also uses the standard type American outlet. Makes sense, considering they're made there!

[This message has been edited by SvenNYC (edited 05-29-2003).]
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#26080 - 05/29/03 01:50 PM Re: Despard devices??
sparky Offline
Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5303
I always thought it was short for Desperate, as in saving a $$$
#26081 - 05/29/03 02:17 PM Re: Despard devices??
wocolt Offline
Registered: 12/06/02
Posts: 110
Saving a Buck on 'Despards' ???? not a chance, they are horrendously expensive the single poles are 7-8 dollars a piece and the three-ways were almost 11 bucks. and thats just for the switches, then you need the retainers and the cover plates.
I redid a group of 6 and 3 and two 2's in a kitchen and dining room and it also had mates in the garage in two places and the total material layout was almost 160 dollars. one problem I had was trying to order a 6 position switch plate, I tried to talk the customer into Decoras but no chance he father had built the house 60 years ago and it had to be just they way he built it.,

I have no idea why these things are so expensive.

#26082 - 05/30/03 10:02 AM Re: Despard devices??
CTwireman Offline
Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 840
Loc: Connecticut, USA
There is a supply store that I used to frequent that still has brand-new Despard devices that they've had in inventory for over 30 years. You can also buy nice brown bakelite devices there , and brand-new FPE breakers (also 30 years old.) The place is like stepping into a time warp.

I've lost track of how many Despard devices I've smashed with my linesmans.

[This message has been edited by CTwireman (edited 05-30-2003).]
#26083 - 05/30/03 12:48 PM Re: Despard devices??
SvenNYC Offline
Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 1691
Loc: New York City

Oooohhh Bakelite devices? hahaha

What's the address of this place? Maybe I'll stop by some day when I'm in Connecticut....on a WEEKDAY when things are actually open!

Why did you smash those Despard things up with your pliers? They seem like they can be a bear to work with....but...still.

Here at work there are one or two floors that
have Despard switches on the hallway wall.

One box I saw today was three gangs of 2, 3 and 3. I shudder to think what the mess behind the box looks me it seems like a lot of switches and wires in a box (even if it's three gang.)
#26084 - 05/31/03 04:12 AM Re: Despard devices??
Electricmanscott Offline
Registered: 01/12/02
Posts: 1457
Loc: Holden, MA USA
"why did you smash those Despard things with your pliers?" Sven, you answered your own question with this statement... "One box I saw today was three gangs of 2, 3 and 3. I shudder to think what the mess behind the box looks me it seems like a lot of switches and wires in a box" Check out click on whats new at the top of the page and look at the new combo switches. Notice the four single pole swtiches in one device. How many wires can you fit in a box?

[This message has been edited by Electricmanscott (edited 05-31-2003).]
#26085 - 05/31/03 09:06 PM Re: Despard devices??
SvenNYC Offline
Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 1691
Loc: New York City


That's one of those cases where a 10-gang box of single toggle switches wouldn't be a bad idea.

I've seen triple-toggle switches (all in one unit) in Home Depot stores designed to fit in a single gang box similar to what you mentioned ...but FOUR TOGGLE???? Damn! What kind of a sadist must you be to want to fight with something like that to squeeze it into a 4x4 with mud ring, not to mention that you'd probably need a hammer and a broomstick to stuff it into a one-gang.

When UL lists these things, don't they take into account things like box-fill and other such rules stated in the NEC or do they just test to see that the thing isn't going to fall apart and catch fire?

Dunno what's the reasoning for using something like that when wiring single-toggle switches in a multiple gang box would be much easier to install and replace, more cost effective when it comes time for replacement, easier to find in most large GROCERY STORE(!) in a pinch.

Must be a feng-shui over function thing with these multi-function devices.

Feel free to keep smashing Despards on my account!! And while you're at it, here's a few 99-cent no-name "made in PRC" receptacles I found at the local odd-job store!!

[This message has been edited by SvenNYC (edited 06-01-2003).]

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