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Posted By: C-H When were socket outlets introduced? - 07/21/04 05:53 AM
When were socket outlets introduced? Did early wiring have outlets or were all lamps hardwired?

The reason I'm asking is that I visited a 19th century house with the original light switches and light fixtures still in use. The switches weren't a standard design but purpose built to fit the place were mounted, e.g. a door frame. Very neat. I couldn't however find any socket outlets except in the bedroom: One (single) on each side of the bed. Both appeared to be of the usual two pin type. I wondered if this might have been a somewhat later addition.

I will try to get permission to photo the system and to open the odd box and switch in August. All Swedes - except me - are on vacation in July. [Linked Image]
Posted By: C-H Re: When were socket outlets introduced? - 07/21/04 06:20 AM
They said that the first electricity bill (1899?) was for 14' kronas, which would be around 600' today or 80' USD. A lightbulb cost 8 kronas which is well over 300 kronas today. That's about 50 USD!
Posted By: pauluk Re: When were socket outlets introduced? - 07/21/04 09:30 AM
Good question. Most of the very early electrical installations were purely for electric light, as I understand the history. It was a few years before other appliances started to make an appearance.

Wasn't there a thread a few months ago about normal Edison screw bases being used for general outlets in the U.S. in the early days?
Posted By: Trumpy Re: When were socket outlets introduced? - 07/22/04 09:28 AM
Yeah, C-H, I agree with Paul, this is a really good question.
I'll add to this reply tomorrow night, when I can stay awake!. [Linked Image]
Posted By: Trumpy Re: When were socket outlets introduced? - 07/23/04 07:19 AM
on the West coast of the South Island here, was the first town in NZ to have Electricity Generation here, in 1889 I think.
Naturally, the Gas companies here were'nt too impressed with the competition, so they used every method they could to get the plant shut down.
One guy was even killed when he threw a chain over the (then) 190VDC lines, feeding the Streetlighting.
DC 3 wire.
But as wars ensued, Electrical Development was halted.
After WWI, huge leaps were made in reticulating towns with street lights and this carried on and really took off and some houses even had Electric light in them, but WWII intervened, the Black-outs here more or less halted all generation.
But after the war finished, NZ was more or less a playground for new development.
There were all sorts of advertisements around for getting your house reticulated with the new, clean Energy!.
First of all was the Oven/Range, this was so high in Wattage, there is no way you'd put the thing on a plug!.
{I just can't help but relate this, but I came upon an Ad in an old paper I found up in a roof once: The New Appliance For The Modern Woman!, The New Shacklock Electric Range, if your man hasn't bought you one, why not then?, get one yourself, very easy terms!.
Next, was the Refrigerator, it was also permanently wired in.
Anything that did have to be plugged in at the time, was given a 15A round 3-pin plug,
Also bear in mind that there were'nt as many sockets in a house as now.
And most of them were in the kitchen.
In the 60's here, Electrical work went crazy, things like sockets in Bedrooms and other silly things like Shaver sockets in Bathrooms.
To answer your question C-H, the first socket-outlet, hit town over here in 1947, as basic as it was, it did the job!. [Linked Image]

{Sorry, if I rambled on about nothing to get to this}
Posted By: djk Re: When were socket outlets introduced? - 07/24/04 02:31 AM
I know that 2 pin sockets, not unlike modern "europlugs" were in use in Ireland as early as the 1920s.

They were initially for connecting portable lamps, irons, kettles and other heating appliences.

Scraping side-earthed plugs have been around for quite sometime too. (as were old-style 3-pin british plugs)

More complicated appliences like vacuum cleaners, washing machines etc didn't really become generally available until the 1950s. WWII held up development signifigantly.

Fridges made a slightly pre WWII appearance too. Often using schuko-like plugs in IRL. (Remember the UK and IRL arn't that hot, so they were not perhaps as essential as in NYC and most food was bought and consumed on the same day. Shops had fridges quite early on.)

The only high-tech appliences you'd find pre WWII were valve-radios. Often connected via a 2-pin plug or into a bayonet light socket.

When was schuko introduced?

It seems to be around quite a while.
Posted By: pauluk Re: When were socket outlets introduced? - 07/24/04 02:37 PM
Round-pin plugs were certainly in use in the U.K. too by the 1920s. You'll also see round-pin appliance-end connectors on early kettles and hot plates as well. When earths were added, many of these used side-contact scraping earths.
Posted By: djk Re: When were socket outlets introduced? - 07/25/04 07:54 AM
Round recessed schuko outlets fitted into skirtings and wooden panelling seem to start appearing from the 1930s onwards.

BS546 (mostly the 15A variety) seems to start appearing in the 50s and then abruptly disappears again, but quite a lot of the 1950s rural electrification era houses had BS546 fittings.

After that BS1363 has pretty much rulled the roost eventually becoming IS401 (Plug) IS411 (Socket)

I think the logic of moving to BS1363 rather than Schuko was to remove the mixture of earthed/unearthed outlets and odd combinations of schuko plugs being inserted into old BS outlets (bypassing earthing)

Square pins were nice and incompatable!
Posted By: pauluk Re: When were socket outlets introduced? - 07/25/04 10:40 AM
Square pins were nice and incompatable!
Not that it stops some people from trying! [Linked Image]
Posted By: SvenNYC Re: When were socket outlets introduced? - 07/26/04 03:50 PM
Yes. In the early days, fans, toasters and such things were plugged into the ceiling light.

The plugs were basically these screw-thingies that fit into the lampholder.

Some were actually two-part adapters that combined a regular plug and a screw-in adapter.

Amazingly these adapters and the "plug clusters" that allowed you to plug in more than one bulb or appliance into one lampholder are still manufactured, sold and widely used in this part of the world (both North and South America).
I've seen pictures of sockets for round 4mm pins from the 1890ies, so I guess they've been around here for a looong time. Schuko didn't real´ly catch until the 1950ies, and where older stuff was upgraded the only Schuko sockets were installed in damp locations, most of all kitchens. TT with water pipe as a ground rod, individual ground wire to every socket, nothing like RCD.

[Linked Image from]

1985-1920ies surface mount socket

The first Schuko socket on the site appears much later, 1940ies-50ies

[Linked Image from]

Jordade vägguttag användes vid den här tiden nästan bara i köket i närheten av vasken, där man kunde ansluta kokplattor och andra köksapparater som var skyddsjordade.

CH, could you please translate? All I understand is that the grounded socket was intended for hooking up cookers.

BTW, CH posted the link long ago, is an incredible site with loads of funky pictures.
Posted By: C-H Re: When were socket outlets introduced? - 07/28/04 07:24 AM
A word by word translation:

"Earthed sockets were at this time almost exclusively used in the kitchen near the sink where you could connect hotplates and other kitchen appliances that were protective earthed."
Thanks C-H, that makes sense and applies for Austria as well. If you go into a 19th century apartment that has been lived in by an old lady/gentleman for the past decades you can be pretty sure the only Schuko sockets you can find (if there are any) are in the kitchen.

When we moved in, I found: Infrared room heater in the bathroom grounded to the water pipe, 2 Schuko sockets in the kitchen. One used to be grounded before some stupid plumber cut the ground wire next to the water pipe, the other one was never grounded at all. All other rooms only had ungrounded sockets. And that's the norm for buildings like that.
That style of grounding was called "Protective Earthing" (Schutzerdung), this term means local ground rod only, no RCD protection, only 10 or 16A fuse/breaker. Voltage operated ELCBs were barely ever used in domestic applications and GFIs didn't show up until the late 70ies.

BTW, the guy one floor above us doesn't have a single Schuko socket anywhere in his place. The last additions to his wiring were probably done just after the introduction of cables with the new color code (that means between 1967? and 1972), afterwards _nothing_ was done, maybe except for taping up some bare conductors that caused shorts.
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