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#151824 - 05/11/03 05:16 AM Main & Range, Plus 4  
pauluk  Offline
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
There have been many references in ECN to old panels which had main and range fuse pull-outs, plus four of the old Edison-screw type fuses.

What would have been the typical circuit arrangement in houses wired with these?

Was it two small appliance circuits, plus two general circuits for the rest of the house? Or were these installed before the NEC required separate appliance circuits in the kitchen area?

Tools for Electricians:

#151825 - 05/11/03 11:00 PM Re: Main & Range, Plus 4  
nesparky  Offline
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 642
Those were installed long before small appliance circuits were code.
Some older houses did not even use all 4 of the fuses. I recently saw one that had all outlets and light on just 2 of the fuses. the other 2 holes were rusty and according to the owner had never been used. This house of course had knob and tube wiring.
In this case 1 fuse served the second floor and a entry way. the other fuse servid the rest of the house. The main fuse was 50 amp and the range fuse were 40 Amp.
The owner was not happy to be told that to wire this house to current code as was asked for by a prospective buyer would cost more than $100.00 and would require drilling and cutting walls. This 94 year old owner said " It's been fine for the 73 years I have lived here. Why should I change it?"
[Linked Image]


#151826 - 05/11/03 11:50 PM Re: Main & Range, Plus 4  
ga.sparky56  Offline
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 558
young harris georgia usa
These type fusepanels are still common in my area (NE Ga.) Usually, the kitchen/dining room,((all one room) is supplied by 1 ckt, The rest of the house is on another ckt.
The main is 60a range is 40a. There is usually one other 120v ckt for a well pump.

When electric water heaters were added most simply "tapped" off the lugs feeding the main and went to a 2 ckt Edison -screw fuse box,installed 2 30a fuses and waaala! heated water! Most of these homes were wired under the Old REA or Rural Electrification Association back in the 1940's when eletricity first became available here.

"God bless the TVA" was heard here for years!


P.S. A lot of these were installed on the covered front porch with the service around the corner. This was a status symbol in those days. " See! We have 'Lectricity"

[This message has been edited by ga.sparky56 (edited 05-11-2003).]

#151827 - 05/12/03 03:33 PM Re: Main & Range, Plus 4  
classicsat  Offline
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 456
My other house, being supplied
by a 4+range (not the ubitquios Sears
electric brand, but a Taylor or an Etco,
I forget) is laid out as follows:

1: Upstairs. One recepticle (yes, for the entire upstairs), the ceiling light for the
room the recepricle is in, the hall celing fixture, and a wall sconce in one of the other rooms (with a switch on the fixture)

2: Downstairs front bedroom light, outlet,
and outlet on other side of wall from
the light swith/outlet box in that bedroom.

3/4 a shared neutral circuit serving the most
of the downstairs and outside. The one leg seems to run most of the lights, the other downstairs room light/outlet (and a self-switced wall light fixture in another upstairs room). The other seems to run the outlets in the other 3 walls (one in each, the 4th wall outlet being described in circuit #1) of the main downstairs room
and outside.

This house was wired in 1952, built way before that (1910s-1920s)

Of note,there are main lug sub boxes
(30A fused disconnects), for the water
system, dryer, water heater, and a baseboard heater(the latter two of which were run by quite a bit of 12/2 romex between the main lugs and the fused disconnect, they are now disconnected). The first two are still connected, the dryer line supplying a
sub-panel to some oulets/lights in the addition.

#151828 - 05/12/03 04:09 PM Re: Main & Range, Plus 4  
Bill Addiss  Offline
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,878
Can someone send in a picture of one of these panels? I thought I had one somewhere, but it is eluding me at the moment.

Thanks in advance,

#151829 - 05/12/03 06:11 PM Re: Main & Range, Plus 4  
Admin  Offline

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,457
Cutler Hammer Fuse Box - Main + Range + 4

[Linked Image]

Thanks to Mike Mills! (mamills)

#151830 - 05/12/03 11:20 PM Re: Main & Range, Plus 4  
frenchelectrican  Offline
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 939
Wi/ Paris France { France for ...
these are very common boxes what we deal with it and alot of time the plug fuse end up 20 ,25 even 30 amps !!! [Linked Image] and alot of time when i see it i know it will be pain in the butt with it because of alot of wireing jam with a single screw and few time i end up have 4 feeders from one fuse!! and half of the time wires get little charred from the heat and constally overloaded the two places i find it alot is kitchen and living room crs but bathroom is inclued the list too.. but some case i seee few people are not too bright and end up put a penny inside the socket to by pass it i found one allready with stuck penny there i was not really suprised but i knew they put too much load there

merci marc

Pas de problme,il marche n'est-ce pas?"(No problem, it works doesn't it?)

#151831 - 05/13/03 08:34 AM Re: Main & Range, Plus 4  
ThinkGood  Offline
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,081
Milwaukee, WI
Also, grounding--earthing? ;-) was via a cold-water pipe.

I believe there was not yet a requirement for a ground rod when these were installed.

Were the K&T panels even grounded, as there was no ground distributed with the K&T conductors?

As to the pennies, I remember from probably at least 20 years ago reading in the insert that would ride along with the electric bill to never use a penny in the fuse box. I wonder if the consequences had become worse once the (USA) pennies were changed to mostly zinc [Linked Image]

#151832 - 05/13/03 09:42 AM Re: Main & Range, Plus 4  
mamills  Offline
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 745
Wharton, Texas, USA
My aunt used to have one of these panels in her house. She used 30 amp fuses in all four sockets. Her rationale: "The 30 amp fuses cost the same as the smaller ones, and they don't burn out nearly as often!" [Linked Image] Go figure out logic like that...

As if this wasn't bad enough, a neighbor "helped" her on the occasion of her blowing a 50 amp range fuse. He provided her with two neatly cut pieces of copper tubing which fit the fuse jaws perfectly. This was a 100 amp panel - the range pullout was bussed ahead of the other pullout, which disconnected the plug fuses only. The result; no OCPD at all for her range, until I explained the fallacy of this.

What works for plumbing works for electricity...not in this case.

Mike (mamills)

[This message has been edited by mamills (edited 05-13-2003).]

#151833 - 05/14/03 08:12 PM Re: Main & Range, Plus 4  
SvenNYC  Offline
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
New York City

I think a good idea in your aunt's case was to have put in those Non-Tamp (Eagle) or Kant-Tamp (Gem) fuses and the 15-amp adapters that permanently lock into the fuse sockets.

At least that would have been _some_ protection since you can't really screw in a 20 amp fuse all the way into an adapter designed for 15 amps.

Also, that fusebox looks pretty brand new. Do they still manufacture them? Wow!

I always thought the two big fuse blocks were to cut off power to the entire panel or house (kind of like a main breaker in a breaker box). Or how is it laid out?

In the houses I've lived in, the fuse boxes I've run across and dealt with have essentially been single porcelain pony-cleat type (surfacemount) lampholders in a metal enclosure, which is why I'm not familiar with these and am asking the stupid queston. [Linked Image]

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