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#144734 - 01/09/06 07:34 AM Bakelite Memorobilia  
aussie240  Offline
Member
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 223
Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
It is surprising just how much in the way of foreign fittings find their way into Australia. Most of what we get is British, followed by US and very little European. Here is a sample of some of the more unusual things I've collected over the years. Most of them are British so please correct my descriptions if necessary.
[Linked Image]
This is just a double BC adaptor with switch but it's the first and only fitting I have from South Africa.
[Linked Image]
A 5A UK switched socket. Hard to say if it is meant to be mounted vertically or horizontally given the labelling. Of interest is the switch mechanism being a fast acting tumbler switch making this suitable for DC mains. I did actually have this in use on a homemade powerboard years ago...I think I powered a TV off it that had a Continental plug...not ideal but it did fit.
[Linked Image]
A triple adaptor rated at 5A also from the UK.
[Linked Image]
This BC to UK 2A adaptor is made of wood...how the brass pins were inserted and secured is a mystery; it's not like bakelite where you can just mould around them. The safety aspects are slightly dubious as the socket pins aren't recessed very far in. The 2A plug has no identification.
[Linked Image]
A locally made double BC adaptor; unusual because of the shape...I suspect it was intended to run two light bulbs rather than one light bulb and one appliance.
[Linked Image]
I'd never seen one of these before. While you could use it to provide additional lighting in a room, a light bulb at floor level would look a bit odd. It's obviously intended to run appliances fitted with a BC plug from a UK round pin socket. What's of interest is the pins can swivel to accomodate different pin spacings.
[Linked Image]
This looked like an oversize BC plug at first, but pulling the halves apart revealed a BC to 5A adaptor with captive two pin 5A plug. I'm curious to know why the short piece of string is there. I've got another of these adaptors and it's the same.






[This message has been edited by aussie240 (edited 01-09-2006).]


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#144735 - 01/09/06 11:04 AM Re: Bakelite Memorobilia  
SvenNYC  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
New York City
The lampholder to two-pin mains plug adapter is a common sight in the USA. Of course ours are an E-27 edison base socket with two flat parallel pins on the male end.

People usually use them to make impromptu nightlights, or plug them on the end of extension cords -- presto, instant work light.

As far as that piece of string connected to that last adapter, I'm assuming it was sold as a set, with the string ensuring that the piece that fits into the bulb socket doesn't get lost. Seems like it was a good idea.


#144736 - 01/09/06 07:14 PM Re: Bakelite Memorobilia  
Rewired  Offline
Member
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 558
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
That last picture with the string between the two halves.... Was that before they invented the "twist-lock" receptacle and matching cap?? [Linked Image]


#144737 - 01/10/06 09:32 AM Re: Bakelite Memorobilia  
pauluk  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
Quote
A 5A UK switched socket. Hard to say if it is meant to be mounted vertically or horizontally given the labelling. Of interest is the switch mechanism being a fast acting tumbler switch making this suitable for DC mains.

I've seen outlets similar to that in old homes mounted both ways. Although everybody expects 3-pin sockets to be mounted with the earth uppermost, the old 2-pin outlets could be found mounted any which way. Bearing in mind that these surface-mounted accessories were typically screwed to the "skirting board" (that's a baseboard -- not sure which term you use down under), it was often a case of mounting whichever way was more convenient.

D.C. mains were still being used in some older city areas well into the 1950s.

Quote
A triple adaptor rated at 5A also from the UK.

I have a box full of three-way adapters similar to that one, but just a slightly different molding. Three-ways with squared sides (so that the two side plugs are at 90 degrees to the front one) were also very common.

Quote
This looked like an oversize BC plug at first, but pulling the halves apart revealed a BC to 5A adaptor with captive two pin 5A plug. I'm curious to know why the short piece of string is there. I've got another of these adaptors and it's the same.

I have some of the BC-to-5A adapters, complete with the little hole on the side, although the string which once attached to it is long gone.

These adapters were very common at one time to run radios, clothes irons, and such things from a convenient light socket in the days when outlets around the house weren't so numerous. The tethered 5A plug and BC adapter came about as an accessory to enable a portable appliance to be used on either a 5A baseboard/wall outlet or a lamp socket.

Quote
I'd never seen one of these before. While you could use it to provide additional lighting in a room, a light bulb at floor level would look a bit odd. It's obviously intended to run appliances fitted with a BC plug from a UK round pin socket. What's of interest is the pins can swivel to accomodate different pin spacings.

Yes, while the BC-to-5A adapter was widely employed, often times an appliance which was plugged into a light socket regularly would be fitted with a BC plug. This adapter then solved the converse problem of when that device needed to be connected to a regular wall outlet. I have one which seems to be the exact same model as yours.

The pins will adjust to fit either a 2-pin 5A or the L/N pins of a 3-pin 5A socket. One of the peculiarities of BS546 was that the L/N pin spacing on the 3-pin versions was slightly different from that on the 2-pin outlets, so that a normal 2-pin 5A plug wouldn't fit a 3-pin socket (why they designed them that way, I have no idea).


#144738 - 01/10/06 06:34 PM Re: Bakelite Memorobilia  
aussie240  Offline
Member
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 223
Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Quote
Bearing in mind that these surface-mounted accessories were typically screwed to the "skirting board"


Directly to the skirting board? Here, such fittings were screwed first to a wooden (usually pine) mounting block (about 3/4" thick) and then to the skirting board or wall.
Round ones were used for just a single fitting and rectangular or square ones for multiple fittings. These mounting blocks have become available again for period homes and renovations, but the wood they're made from is rubbish (MDF etc.) with a veneer on the visible surface to make them look good.

Quote
the L/N pin spacing on the 3-pin versions was slightly different from that on the 2-pin outlets,

I wonder if that was done to discourage people plugging in earthed appliances to two pin sockets by removing the earth pin of the 3 pin 5A plug. We would all be familiar with the situation in the US with earth pins pulled off plugs for this reason.

[This message has been edited by aussie240 (edited 01-10-2006).]


#144739 - 01/11/06 03:03 PM Re: Bakelite Memorobilia  
Texas_Ranger  Offline
Member
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,399
Vienna, Austria
I guess removing the earth pin of such a plug would be rather serious work... they're solid brass.

Weird thing the BC sockets of the adaptors all seem to point upwards!


#144740 - 01/11/06 06:20 PM Re: Bakelite Memorobilia  
aussie240  Offline
Member
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 223
Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Quote
I guess removing the earth pin of such a plug would be rather serious work

Many enclosed bakelite plugs simply have the pins held in by the top of the plug or the terminal screws are all that secure the pins by being threaded into the bakelite. It's up to you if all the pins are put back in. This is the situation with most of the bakelite Clipsal, Ring Grip, and Utilux plugs in Australia. It's also the same with the neutral and earth pins of many of the UK 13A plugs. I would presume there would also be round pin plugs so constructed.

[This message has been edited by aussie240 (edited 01-11-2006).]


#144741 - 01/12/06 08:51 AM Re: Bakelite Memorobilia  
pauluk  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
Quote
Directly to the skirting board? Here, such fittings were screwed first to a wooden (usually pine) mounting block (about 3/4" thick) and then to the skirting board or wall.


Ditto here when fixing directly to a plastered wall. For skirting board mounting, I've seen it done both with and without a pattress.

Quote
These mounting blocks have become available again for period homes and renovations,


Ditto here, along with reproduction brass tumbler light switches at very high prices. I had somebody a couple of years ago who asked about refitting a whole house with these plus matching brass BS1363 sockets thoughout. That was until she heard how much it was going to cost! [Linked Image]
Quote
It's also the same with the neutral and earth pins of many of the UK 13A plugs. I would presume there would also be round pin plugs so constructed.


There were different designs. In some (e.g. MK) the thread on the end of the pin goes through the base of the plug and has a flat nut inside to secure it to the plug body, then the terminal nut went on top of that.

On other designs though, the pins with terminal were an all-in-one design with just dropped into place through the plug body and, as you say, were held in place by the plug's top cover.


#144742 - 01/13/06 05:45 PM Re: Bakelite Memorobilia  
Texas_Ranger  Offline
Member
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,399
Vienna, Austria
Ok, of course. I only thought of the US idea of snipping or cutting off the pin.


#144743 - 01/14/06 11:12 AM Re: Bakelite Memorobilia  
pauluk  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
Removing the earth pin by whatever means could have caused problems with shutters.

BS1363 had shutters from the outset, and the later 3-pin BS546 sockets made in the 1950s and later were fitted with them as well.

All the shutters at that time relied upon the earth pin to push down on the shutter mechanism to open the line/meutral connections.

Of course, at the time 3-pin BS546 plugs were introduced shutters didn't exist, so there may well have been some consideration about not allowing a 3-pin plug to go into a 2-pin socket by altering the L/N spacing.




[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 01-14-2006).]



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