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#116967 - 05/10/04 02:21 PM Pandora's Box  
Admin  Offline

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,439
Got a call today for a bad circuit breaker (Zinsco, go figure!) anyways, I replaced the breaker & everything worked fine.. I offered to check outlets & switches before I left... I came across the broken quad in the master bedroom... I figured, ok... replace an outlet... no big deal, then I opened the box... which I have named "Pandora" :P...

Another pic is a "custom" faceplate for a despard/duplex I found amusing..

-Randy (Lostazhell)
[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

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#116968 - 05/10/04 05:43 PM Re: Pandora's Box  
SvenNYC  Offline
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
New York City
Love the custom face plate.

Am I seeing this right? There's only one terminal screw per side on the sockets? What's the point of that -- wondering if these were like the cheapest-of-the-cheap sockets someone could get back then....

You know, like those 50 cent Home Depot-special sockets from Leave-it-On (Leviton). [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by SvenNYC (edited 05-10-2004).]

#116969 - 05/10/04 09:48 PM Re: Pandora's Box  
Lostazhell  Offline
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,429
Bakersfield, CA (Originally Or...
The right outlet is one of the "grocery store" GE's. The terminal design in these is kinda on the unique side.. There's one terminal on each side, but under the terminal are 2 small pieces of brass (one on each side of the terminal).. The idea was to place one conductor under each side, straight in with no loop. Pretty cheezy design IMO.. & once the tabs are bent down, they don't loosen up again to reterminate..

There are 3 conductors entering through the back KO's, The one on the right outlet is some sort of extension cord (16AWG?) & the red wire thats kinda hidden on the left outlet is switched.. the neutral is stranded 12 TW.. The customer didn't have time for me to really get into this, so I just capped everything here & installed a 2G blank until she calls to have this redone properly... Im curious to see what's going on behind the J-box.. but then again.... [Linked Image]

#116970 - 05/13/04 12:03 AM Re: Pandora's Box  
DougW  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
North Chicago, IL
Actually, I've seen this before.

The old ("non grounded" / "polarized") outlets (pics 1-3) quite often had single terminals on them, back in "the day" (pre 1940's). I've pulled a bunch of them out of houses around here. IMHO (best guess) they weren't big on splitting the outlets back then, and didn't think that the extra molding of the Bakelite was worth it.

Of course, maybe the increase in two-wire circuits forced the industry to accept the two screw as "standard", once more developers / EC's demanded it.

#116971 - 05/13/04 07:47 AM Re: Pandora's Box  
electure  Offline

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,259
Fullerton, CA USA
I don't know what's hiding behind this box, but the KO on the left is just begging for someone to peek through and see.

Randy, was the rest of the place in Knob&Tube? It looks almost as if someone looked at a K&T job, and then did a poor job if "imitating" the installation....S

#116972 - 05/13/04 11:39 AM Re: Pandora's Box  
Lostazhell  Offline
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,429
Bakersfield, CA (Originally Or...
This house is wired in the old style Romex.. (built 1957) From what I could see, there were all kinds of splices going on behind that box... From what I could gather, this was originally just a single switched duplex here before... someone came & added the 4S box, another device with the 2G P-ring... there is an outlet on the other side of here, which I opended, but that piece of extension cord isn't feeding from there like most of the amateurs would've done... (Unless there's an open splice on those lines in the wall also!) [Linked Image] I'm going to make sure I get pics when we go back for the full repairs on this.


#116973 - 05/15/04 12:10 PM Re: Pandora's Box  
John Steinke  Offline
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 518
Reno,Nv., USA
Does anyone know where to get those old-style faceplates?

#116974 - 05/15/04 03:38 PM Re: Pandora's Box  
NJwirenut  Offline
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 806
Bergen County, NJ
The best place I know for switchplates (including the interchangeable "Despard" types) is:

I never knew there were so many types available!

#116975 - 05/15/04 09:00 PM Re: Pandora's Box  
Lostazhell  Offline
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,429
Bakersfield, CA (Originally Or...
A couple of times when I've looked for the old "pushbutton" switchplates, I've gone to an architectural surplus, & found a few things there... Sometimes the old "mom & pop" hardware stores will even have some hard to find things. I went to a True Value that was kinda in the middle of nowhere & they had a full line of the despard devices & plates... Finding a despard/duplex might take some time, or end up being a custom order.. Sierra Electric Corp used to be local here in LA, & they were bought out by P&S.. Kinda sad because having a manufacturer here close made things sooo much easier when we needed things like custom plates & such! [Linked Image]


#116976 - 05/15/04 10:06 PM Re: Pandora's Box  
wa2ise  Offline
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 782
Oradell NJ USA
As for the combination Despard and regular outlet faceplate, and depending on how handy you are, a combo regular and decora faceplate would fit the mounting screws. And you'd need to trim the old depsard plate to the size of a decora device so it fits into the decora sized hole in the new faceplate. Use epoxy or such to glue the trimmed despard plate to the new decora plate. However this would cost more in terms of time (labor) than other solutions would...

Probably quicker to loosen the device mounting screws so you can space them closer to close up that gap between the existing plates.

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