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History of Australian Socket-Outlets

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  1. #1
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    Default History of Australian Socket-Outlets

    I refer you to https://cool386.com/plug/plug.html where " The origins of the Australian Plug" is discussed.

    I am "in disunion" with a North American site as to the virtues/benefits of their Socket-Outlet connectors versus the rest of the world - including Australia.
    (https://www.diychatroom.com/threads/...2#post-6695530 )

    While Australia "adopted" the now standard 3-Pin Socket-Outlet in the 1930s, does any one have evidence or examples of any such "early" devices and their "rear connections".

    The reason that I ask is that it is so obvious that the existing North American "allowed" devices with unprotected external screw-heads would (probably) not be allowed if introduced in Australia or most countries today - including North America
    (One North American example is https://images.saymedia-content.com/...sting-one.webp )

    My recollection goes back only to after WWII.

    Does anyone have any recollection/evidence that any of the 3-pin socket-outlets based on the US design and installed in Australia were ever so ill-constructed or, were they made better - from the start?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrodoOne View Post
    this page brings back a lot of memories of my grand parents place when i was a kid.
    that double light socket, first image, i picked up one 10 years ago and still in use at one of my places for a second light globe 5 metres away from socket to give more light on verandah.
    and i reckon i can remember using a toaster like that as well when i was a kid staying with them.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by wozzzzza View Post
    this page brings back a lot of memories of my grand parents place when i was a kid.
    that double light socket, first image, i picked up one 10 years ago and still in use at one of my places for a second light globe 5 metres away from socket to give more light on verandah.
    and i reckon i can remember using a toaster like that as well when i was a kid staying with them.
    My question related to the "design" of the wiring side of some "old" Australian socket-outlets as compared to the North American design of their socket outlets up to the present day.

    orientation1.jpg
    The photo on the left shows an Australian socket outlet in a double gang "wall plate", which is of the same dimensions as some used in North America to this day.

    The "single gang" wall plate used in both Australia and North America today can accommodate two "Dual" Socket-Outlets.

    However, the construction of the North American "Duplex" outlet is like this
    us-socket.jpg
    with relatively "exposed" terminals on both sides, even when the connections are "screwed down" - and only a single "solid" conductor may be used under each screw.
    (Because of this, a number of "auxiliary" connectors are often required in North America and they are usually of the "screw-on" type, not used (allowed ?) in Australia.)

    In contrast, the connection of an Australian Dual socket-outlet has the screws "recessed" when screwed-down and a number of solid or stranded conductors twisted together may be terminated together.
    dual_3_pin_socket_outlet_wiring.jpg
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/F...let_Wiring.jpg

    (In this it is similar to most BS 1363 socket outlets)
    proxy-image.jpg

    The question to which I am seeking an answer is
    "were any Australian 3-Pin socket-outlets (such as that shown on the Left of the first group of photos) ever constructed in a manner similar to the "exposed screw" North American "product" or
    were they always constructed with screws much more "recessed" than that."
    While I believe the latter to be the case, I now have no examples of the single early socket-outlet in the "Two Gang" wall-plate illustrated above, although I grew up after WWII in a house which had many of them.

    I would appreciate it if anyone who has examples of such "products" in their possession could post photographs of the wiring side of these on this site.

    Better still, they may consider posting such photographs of "historic" interest on
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/C...S_3112_sockets

    Anyone may post photographs on such sites but the photos must be the work of the poster and not copies of the work of any other.

  4. #4
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    Even the oldest GPO I have pulled out, always had protected screws that connected the N & A.

    Here are some I found online, these look to be very old and have mostly have recessed screws for the N & A.

    I am surprised the US still uses this old style connection methods for the GPO, I would have thought they would have updated this to at least 2nd world standards.

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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails s-l1600-1-.jpg  
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    I remember bakelite plug tops (possibly Marcolite, HPM, Clipsal and Elmaco brands) that had exposed screws for the wiring terminals. Once plugged in the screws became inaccessible, but there were no barriers between the terminals which must have caused some excitement with loose wires from time to time.
    s-l1600.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by John2b View Post
    I remember bakelite plug tops (possibly Marcolite, HPM, Clipsal and Elmaco brands) that had exposed screws for the wiring terminals. Once plugged in the screws became inaccessible, but there were no barriers between the terminals which must have caused some excitement with loose wires from time to time.
    When wiring them it was necessary to take care to twist the stands of wire tightly together and not leave any loose strands not under the screw head.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by METRIX View Post
    Even the oldest GPO I have pulled out, always had protected screws that connected the N & A.

    Here are some I found online, these look to be very old and have mostly have recessed screws for the N & A.

    I am surprised the US still uses this old style connection methods for the GPO, I would have thought they would have updated this to at least 2nd world standards.




    That one is interesting and I have never seen anything like that before.
    What would be the purpose of the three "items" in the top row?
    There are three pairs of "screw holes" on the rear so something(s) could be mounted there.
    However, it would appear to be necessary to drill and file the "spaces," since it does not look as though the plastic could be removed easily.

    Were they perhaps for "pilot" lights - or push-buttons?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrodoOne View Post
    That one is interesting and I have never seen anything like that before.
    What would be the purpose of the three "items" in the top row?
    There are three pairs of "screw holes" on the rear so something(s) could be mounted there.
    However, it would appear to be necessary to drill and file the "spaces," since it does not look as though the plastic could be removed easily.

    Were they perhaps for "pilot" lights - or push-buttons?
    Positions for indicator neons.

    And not plastic, they were made out of Bakelite, plastic came along later.
    Last edited by droog; 27th May 2022 at 07:27 PM. Reason: Correction

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrodoOne View Post
    That one is interesting and I have never seen anything like that before.
    What would be the purpose of the three "items" in the top row?
    There are three pairs of "screw holes" on the rear so something(s) could be mounted there.
    However, it would appear to be necessary to drill and file the "spaces," since it does not look as though the plastic could be removed easily.

    Were they perhaps for "pilot" lights - or push-buttons?
    The knockouts would be for a pilot light, you can see the "pilot" connection point on the back picture at the top, not sure why there would be three in the one panel ?

    Perhaps there was also an option for additional switch or two
    I call them knockouts, but you wouldn't have been able to knock them out as they are made of bakelite which needs to be drilled and filed to get them out, as it doesn't break cleanly.

    An interesting side note, Bakelite contained Asbestos from 1909 to 1974, until it was banned, so drilling and filing was probably not a good idea in hindsight !!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by METRIX View Post
    An interesting side note, Bakelite contained Asbestos from 1909 to 1974, until it was banned, so drilling and filing was probably not a good idea in hindsight !!!!
    hmm, didn't know that one. wasn't alive then though.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by droog View Post
    Positions for indicator neons.

    And not plastic, they were made out of Bakelite, plastic came along later.
    One could argue that "Bakelate" is an early "Plastic" - often reinforced with other materials.

    The word "Plastic" originally meant

    capable of being molded or modeled
    capable of adapting to varying conditions : PLIABLE
    capable of being deformed continuously and permanently in any direction without rupture

    Also,
    "Polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride, better known as Bakelite, was the first plastic made from synthetic components.
    It is a thermosetting phenol formaldehyde resin, formed from a condensation reaction of phenol with formaldehyde."

    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakelite)

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