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Early Fuse Box #151978 08/07/03 07:44 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,622
Admin Offline OP
[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]
Now I can’t tell you much about this old fuse box but it looks primitive and scary, which is why I like it! I’m guessing it dates to the early 1900s (mica insulated sockets) but it’s anyone’s guess when it was pulled out of service. I fear the white inner lining is asbestos, which is why I don’t handle it much :-)

Great pictures Tim!
(see more at )

Tools for Electricians:
Re: Early Fuse Box #151979 08/07/03 08:43 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 2,527
Bjarney Offline
What a prize. The fused switch is the weirdest—is the top of it the line side? Even if it were upside down, the blades wouldn’t be helped by gravity.

Re: Early Fuse Box #151980 08/08/03 11:39 AM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
SvenNYC Offline

The knife-switch/fuse holder combo is similar to the one I posted somewhere else here some time back.

This one's more elegant-looking, with a little porcelain knob on a bracket instead of just a phenolic ring bridging the two blades. They usually take 30-amp fuses.

Considering the box is made out of wood, the asbestos sheets are a smart idea. Just don't go poking them with a stick and you should be fine. I've heard that to "make it safe" you can spray that stuff with lacquer or something to bind the fibers.


Are u gonna stick some fuse plugs into it? It looks kinda nekkid without them. [Linked Image]

Where'd u find this bad boy?

Re: Early Fuse Box #151981 08/08/03 12:59 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 2,527
Bjarney Offline
Sven — [Please pardon my unbelievably tacky image edit!] Notice there is one important difference between the two. Your block (1) can be oriented so that operating the switch correctly isolates the movable switch blades and the fuseholders—more “traditional” from a safety standpoint.

In Tim’s shot, (2) the fuses are on the line side of the switch, or if the block was mounted reversed 180°, (3) gravity would be working against keeping the switch blades deenergized. In the reversed case, they would have the undesirable tendency to ‘fall’ closed.

[Linked Image from]

[This message has been edited by Bjarney (edited 08-08-2003).]

Re: Early Fuse Box #151982 08/08/03 05:53 PM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
SvenNYC Offline

Oh OK - I clearly see what you're saying now.

With the Mexican switch (#1) your fingers are nowhere near the still energized line terminals when you're unscrewing the fuse....I can see where the reverse could get a bit hair-raising to say the least.

PS: Hi Mom! [Linked Image]

Re: Early Fuse Box #151983 08/09/03 07:54 AM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 5
Kilokat7 Offline
Junior Member

Are u gonna stick some fuse plugs into it? It looks kinda nekkid without them.

Where'd u find this bad boy?

Hi Group!

Thanks for the comments about the old fuse box and the advice on the asbestos. I can't trace the history of the box since it was an eBay purchase many years ago. It would have been interesting to see the box in its original environment but... I originally bought it cheap, hoping those porcelain fuse holders would be marked “Edison” since they resemble some of those used in the 1880s. It turns out that the box is a little newer though and probably dates to around the turn of the century. I have not been able to find too many fuses from this era – they seem hard to find compared to other items that I collect – so no fuses for this old timer. Here’s what a couple might look like, from this same era, porcelain & brass capped:

[Linked Image from]


PS: Great Forum!

[This message has been edited by Kilokat7 (edited 08-09-2003).]

Tim Tromp
Re: Early Fuse Box #151984 08/16/03 05:46 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,327
Trumpy Offline
Cool pics, mate!,
Welcome to ECN, what a way to introduce yourself!. [Linked Image]

Re: Early Fuse Box #151985 08/28/03 09:25 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 37
RickG Offline
I removed a similar piece of equipment from service just a few years ago. It was a sub panel fuse enclosure. It was custom built in that it was just an asbestos lined space between 2 studs with a wood header across the top and bottom. It contained about 10 circuits as I recall. Originally each circuit had the hot & neutral fused. Some where in time they replaced the knob & tube feeder with type AC (with the porcelin fitting where it entered the enclosure)feeder, at the same time it appears, the neutral fuse blocks were jumpered to eliminate the fused neutrals. The service had been revamped to breakers before I came on the scene, but this panel remained in service for a long time after the revamp. The long abandoned, original, 2 pole knife switch main is still located on the gable end in the attic, as are the 2 or 3 attic cisterns that were for the collection of rain water for the indoor water closets. This is a big old house, 9 bedrooms if I recall correctly, & 3 stories.

Re: Early Fuse Box #151986 09/09/03 07:18 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 518
John Steinke Offline
Laugh, you guys, but my company just changed one of these out the other day.


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