My in laws recently moved into an older home. Not sure when it was built, but the house does contain such things as T slot receptacles and it even still has a fuse box.
The fuse box, made by Murray, has 4 30 amp fuses in it, and also has these bakelite looking things with handles on them. It has 3 of those, 2 of them sit above the fuses and the other one is slightly bigger that sort of sits off to the side.
I haven't seen a fuse boxin so many years that was still powering a home. Anyone know what was the lastyear they used fuse boxes in american residences?
Dawg, that sounds like a classic 60 or 100 amp split-bus fuse panel, likely from the 1940's. Most had one pullout for the range and one for the water heater (the ones at the top). The third one was the lighting section main which controlled power to the lower fuse sockets. I know that these panels are plentiful in the older areas in North Carolina. My grandmother's house had one.
The more modern ones had take-off lugs to allow the feeding of a sub panel when more lighting/appliance circuits were needed behind the lighting main.
GE even made a circuit breaker panel (60's era) that allowed plug-in breakers or plug-in fuse socket modules. These allowed for two circuits per stab on the bus bar. Obviously, they didn't last long.
Square D made modules in their "QO" circuit breaker line that had miniature fuse holders, but they used cartridge-type fuses, not the traditional Edison-base or type S. The last time I saw them "new" and still being installed was in 1978. Those didn't last long either. Why bother?
It's hard to put an exact date on the transition; in most instances, it's safe to say 'the mid-60's.'
The changeover was encouraged by two things: homes began to see more circuits (and fuseboxes with more than six 1-pole circuits were fairly cumbersome), and homeowners perceived that breakers were 'better' (no matter what the fuse makers claimed).
Personaly, I think that the changeover was also encouraged by two unrelated developments: the acceptance of Romex, and the adoption of the ground wire (bonding conductor). Breaker panels just seemed more 'friendly' to having the additional ground buss, and the use of a cable just begged for the neutral to terminate somewhere near the breaker. Toss in a few other innovations -like wire nuts- and the change seemed inevetable.
The panel in my old house in Md has about 20 edison fuses in it and a couple of 2 pole pullouts. (HVAC and Dryer). It is 200a. The main is a breaker as I recall. I will see if I can talk my ex into taking a picture of it.
I remember also that there was a fuse with a little pop button in it. It looked like a fuse and worked like a circuit breaker. I only saw some of them around here but I think you have seen them down there. This back in the days of *P*, which seems like a million years ago.
Here's a pic of the inside of the box if it helps...
There's another bake lite pull out that sits off to the side that doesn't have any fuses below it. In the octagon it doesn't say anything like "main" or "range" like the other 2 do. However the metal trim ring that surrounds it doe say "service disconnect". I'm guessing this is the main breaker for the box?
Last edited by Trumpy; 12/25/1110:55 PM. Reason: Added pic to electrical photos. com, added image here