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#153334 - 11/29/06 06:59 PM Missing Link? NEMA 5.5-15R spotted  
Admin  Offline

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,459
From the 1952 Moock Electrical Supply (Akron, Canton, and Youngstown) catalog, page 45. I sure would like to have one of these!

- yaktx
[Linked Image]

Tools for Electricians:

#153335 - 11/30/06 09:43 AM Re: Missing Link? NEMA 5.5-15R spotted  
pauluk  Offline
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
Another piece of the historical puzzle.... [Linked Image]

Double T-slots, and polarized on the parallel slots too.

Presumably the catalog lists these for both 120 and 240V?

#153336 - 11/30/06 07:46 PM Re: Missing Link? NEMA 5.5-15R spotted  
yaktx  Offline
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 288
Austin, Texas, USA
All items-- receptacles, connectors, and caps-- are listed by part # under either voltage rating:

15 Amps. 125 Volts--Polarized

15 Amps. 250 Volts--Polarized

5281 and 5282 are both listed as 125V devices. Whatever the 250V device looked like, it's not shown (presumably like today's 6-15).

Apparently the 20A u-ground devices did not exist until after 1960, and the 30 and 50A devices came in the late '60s.

What I want to know is how many of these were installed. I've never seen one. Three-wire receptacles for grounding were required by the '47 NEC, but the earliest reference I've seen to the 5-15 device is in the '51 NEC Handbook. Even though these were available by '52, how often did the Code actually get enforced? Washers and other appliances didn't start to have grounding plugs until the late '50s, I think. I've been in countless houses from that time period where the washer receptacle is a 1-15 with an ungrounded box.

I did work on a 1950 house last year that had a 15A grounding twist-lock behind the washer. Twist-locks from that era were not the NEMA standard devices we have today. I'm sure that receptacle never got used. The washer was plugged into a cheater, of course.

#153337 - 11/30/06 09:53 PM Re: Missing Link? NEMA 5.5-15R spotted  
Lostazhell  Offline
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,431
Bakersfield, CA (Originally Or...
I swear I saw one of these in the laundry room of an old house once... I did a double take and rubbed my eyes when I saw it! If I'm remembering right, I think it looked like a Bryant also.... I kinda wish I'd thought up a reason to get the H.O. to let me replace it now [Linked Image]

#153338 - 11/30/06 10:35 PM Re: Missing Link? NEMA 5.5-15R spotted  
yaktx  Offline
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 288
Austin, Texas, USA
Well, Randy, I figured if anybody here would have seen one of these, it would be you! You seem to have a knack for finding the cool antiques!

So it was in a laundry room? If I read my old codebooks right, that's about the only place you would have found them before 1956.

Finding one of these would be like finding a coelacanth!

Who knows, maybe Bryant was the only company to make these?

#153339 - 11/30/06 10:38 PM Re: Missing Link? NEMA 5.5-15R spotted  
yaktx  Offline
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 288
Austin, Texas, USA
BTW--- polarized parallel slots go back at least to 1930.

#153340 - 12/18/06 10:39 AM Re: Missing Link? NEMA 5.5-15R spotted  
Dawg  Offline
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 59
Wow, can't say I've ever seen one of those...

Have seen lots of 5-20's, the typical 20 amp t slot on the neutral, grounded outlet.

I take it there were no electric stoves or dryers until the late 60's?

Looks like you could fit a NEMA 6-15 plug into that receptacle.

I believe some of you have mentioned at one time washers required one of those austrailian looking receptacles?

Lostazhell you have one of them you got from that woman's house in's a duplex part has the aussie style configuration with ground, bottom is typical dual t slot receptacle with no ground....was that one in the laundry room?

#153341 - 12/18/06 10:12 PM Re: Missing Link? NEMA 5.5-15R spotted  
classicsat  Offline
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 456
Of course they had electric ranges back in the 30s, dryers in the 50s. They were most likely hardwired though, until the 10-30 and 10-50 connector was invented though.

Those Australian looking plugs were used before U ground 5-15s were used, and AFAIK, wasgers were the first residential devices to need them.

#153342 - 12/20/06 08:06 PM Re: Missing Link? NEMA 5.5-15R spotted  
Lostazhell  Offline
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,431
Bakersfield, CA (Originally Or...
Dawg, that outlet was in the garage... the washer/dryer were in the kitchen, plugged in the same outlet as everything else in that house [Linked Image]

#153343 - 12/22/06 10:29 PM Re: Missing Link? NEMA 5.5-15R spotted  
yaktx  Offline
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 288
Austin, Texas, USA
I have books from the '20s showing electric ranges, although I've read that they did not become common until GE invented the Calrod element in 1932. The 1936 GE Supply catalog shows the device now known as a NEMA 10-50, including a grounding version with clips that mount on the outside of the cap and make contact with slots in the wallplate. (The 10-50 may be even older than that, for all I know.) The 10-30 configuration was apparently created after WWII for dryers, which did not even exist until 1947 or so.

The exception to the normal rules of equipment grounding, in the case of ranges and dryers (which is expressed for grandfathered pre-1996 installations as 250.140 in the 2002 NEC) was first fully legitimized in 1947. In the 1940 NEC, the practice of grounding a range through the neutral required the special permission of the AHJ. It has been said that wartime shortages of copper persuaded AHJs to grant this permission more freely than in the past, and in 1947 the requirement for special permission was dropped.

Dawg, what I meant is that "U-ground" devices only existed in the 5-15 and 6-15 configurations in the '50s. The 5-20 devices were here by '64 at least, and the 30A and 50A U-ground devices came later.

I don't know what year the NEMA 14 devices were created, but Article 550 (mobile homes) did not enter the Code until 1965. Presumably the adoption of this article created a need for a three-pole four-wire device with a separate ground. I'm sure most stateside ECN members know this already, but the requirement to use NEMA 14 devices in buildings other than mobile homes is only ten years old.

(Again, the fact that the NEC did not mention mobile homes until 1965 in no way means that they didn't exist before that time. They just weren't regulated. The entire mobile home industry, one might argue, is another legacy of WWII.)

[This message has been edited by yaktx (edited 12-22-2006).]

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