Or is there a more heat-resistant better-quality version?
Porcelain types are employed in high-temperature locations, such as inside heaters:
their fuses are typically snap-in ceramic blocks, wits replacable bits of nichrome wire as the "element."
I can't speak for the Middle East, but the old rewireables have gradually fallen out of use for new installs in Britain over the years, with breakers or cartridge fuses now the norm. It's true that on an economy install they were still being fitted new as recently as the 1980s though, and of course there are still many in service. Wylex (one of our commonly used makes of panel) still makes replacement carriers for rewireables too, although so far as I'm aware they are the only company still making them.
The color coding doesn't seem to be entirely British. With the red, yellow and black wire comes a downsized light blue wire which seems to be a neutral.
Well caught -- I hadn't noticed before that the blue feeder appears to be smaller than the others. Also, the black cable from the left-most conduit is marked with blue tape.
The conduit to the right of that one also appears to be just 3 conductors (excluding the unconnected ground!), so it's more likely to be 3 phases than 2 phases plus neutral.
Still, it appears that they've used black as neutral in the smaller conduits. It appears to be rather a mess in color-code terms.
[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 02-04-2006).]