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  #31  
Old 02-06-2012, 07:47 PM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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The bottom center T-slot is a Arrow-Hart. I have a brand new ivory one like it. I pick up my early devices from the Habitat Restores around this area.
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  #32  
Old 02-06-2012, 10:26 PM
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David Roper David Roper is offline
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The Hubbell outlet appears in a 1915 electrical goods catalog, so it goes back at least that far, but the blade-style quick attachment we all know was only one of several different styles/formats shown, which makes me think it was still very new and very far from common much less universal in a time when cords still draped from the ceiling.

An original 1905 installation of a baseboard outlet is not impossible, but it would probably look like this...
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  #33  
Old 02-06-2012, 11:22 PM
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Nick_the_'Nole Nick_the_'Nole is offline
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Yeah, the Edison plug was much more common back then, but there were all sorts of different types of outlets competing with each other... I've heard that most electrical devices of the time were actually sold without plugs, and you'd just install your own based on whatever sort of receptacle you had. The blade outlet was definitely around then... the patent on it was granted in 1905.

As for the date of my outlet, I'm absolutely certain it's from between 1905 and 1909. The back of the plate is marked "Harvey Hubbell Inc.," in simple block letters. The company incorporated in 1905, so it can't be any earlier than that, but in 1909 they switched over to using a stylized globe logo.
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  #34  
Old 02-07-2012, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Roper View Post
The Hubbell outlet appears in a 1915 electrical goods catalog, so it goes back at least that far, but the blade-style quick attachment we all know was only one of several different styles/formats shown, which makes me think it was still very new and very far from common much less universal in a time when cords still draped from the ceiling.

An original 1905 installation of a baseboard outlet is not impossible, but it would probably look like this...
This is the plug I was referring to earlier. The house it's in was built in the 1880's. There's one of these outlets in each room on the main floor. No outlets upstairs at all, just overhead lights with pushbutton light switches.
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  #35  
Old 02-07-2012, 10:43 AM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holmesuser01 View Post
This is the plug I was referring to earlier. The house it's in was built in the 1880's. There's one of these outlets in each room on the main floor. No outlets upstairs at all, just overhead lights with pushbutton light switches.
If you look at real old catalogues from the '20s, showing electrical products, they show a Edison base adaptor included with the straight blade plug.
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  #36  
Old 02-07-2012, 04:13 PM
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Tim R, I'll keep you in mind, I got a old light fixture made out of porcelane and metal, still mounted.
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  #37  
Old 03-25-2012, 06:05 PM
mitchking mitchking is offline
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Attachment 173758Glad to have discovered this discussion thread! My wife and I recently purchased a circa 1827 home in the heart of a small coal-mining town in northeast PA. We bought what the locals call "both halves of a double", which means we bought both sides of a side-by-side duplex. The right side of the duplex has 1970s-era wiring, but retains many of what we believe to be the original early 1900s light fixtures, including dangling penant lights in the closets with pull-chains or turnkeys on the bulb sockets, wall sconces with twist-knobs, and what would have been very-modestly-priced-in-their-day ceiling fixtures in the parlor, living room and bedrooms that use wall switches. (The photo is of the living room looking into the dining room.) Unfortunately--from the perspective of those of us who appreciate period things--the wall switches that operate the classic ceiling fixtures are modern plastic toggle switches. We'd like to convert them to something more appropriate for the era that the ceiling fixtures come from. Double push-button wall switches have been suggested, but we're not entirely convinced that they're from a period old enough to be appropriate for the fixtures. What are your thoughts about the appropriate wall switches to use?
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  #38  
Old 03-25-2012, 07:12 PM
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DavGoodlin DavGoodlin is offline
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Mitch,

Those look like 1920's lights, so I think pushbutton switches would fit those boxes and look authentic. I have surface-mounted raceway on walls. This and twist-switches in my 1867 house that was wired in 1922. I will post pictures.
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  #39  
Old 03-25-2012, 07:29 PM
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My 1924 house only had outlets in the baseboards when I got it. No metal boxes behind the outlets.
Rewired in 1986. It had the original service drop from the street, and original knife switch and cartridge fuses and plug fuses. It was lovely work, and I've been able to keep it in the attic, as it was all in good condition. I added a ground wire and boxes at each of the ceiling light locations, and use this circuit today with ceiling fans on a 15 amp breaker.

The rest of the OEM wiring in the house is gone, now.

EDIT: I dont have alzheimers. I yacked up my wiring on the first page or so of this thread, too.

Last edited by holmesuser01; 03-26-2012 at 12:49 PM. Reason: Repeating myself.
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  #40  
Old 03-25-2012, 08:04 PM
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CoogarXR CoogarXR is offline
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My house was built in the 1850s. It has been renovated countless times over the years. The only old-timey devices left are the ceramic light fixtures in the basement. One of which is kind of ornate, and takes the small-base light bulb (like night-light size). I have since bought some second-hand vintage fixtures to try to add a little character back to this place...

I uncovered some floor-outlets when I pulled up some unfortunate carpet in the dining room. They were disconnected and in pretty bad shape, so I just left them there and ran my new subfloor over them.

The house I had before this one was from 1916, and it had tons of cool old stuff. Rotary switches, push-buttons, knob and tube, chandeliers, cast-iron fixtures, it even had a cool newel-post light on the staircase!
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  #41  
Old 03-26-2012, 02:38 AM
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David Roper David Roper is offline
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The use of pushbutton style switches (with brass wall plates) now dates back over 100 years. So yes, they'd look great and be perfectly period correct there.
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  #42  
Old 03-26-2012, 10:11 AM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Roper View Post
The use of pushbutton style switches (with brass wall plates) now dates back over 100 years. So yes, they'd look great and be perfectly period correct there.
They're making reproduction pushbutton switches like you're refering to. There was such a demand for them. Some smaller firm started making them. They had to submit samples for U/L approval. I think they're using mother-of- pearl for the on button, like they used to.
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  #43  
Old 03-26-2012, 12:33 PM
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Some of the cheaper ones just painted the on button inset red....
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  #44  
Old 03-26-2012, 01:06 PM
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On the subject of the push-button switches, I bought my house from my grandparents estate, so I've been around this house since the 1950's. One of the two push-button switches at the front door was unable to be pressed, and therefore, unused for about 40 years, until I took the switches out of the wall and cleaned them up. The broken one wasn't broken. Someone aparently tried to push both buttons at once, and jammed one. I took the switch apart, and reassembled it, and it works like new. Growing up around here, the broken switch just didnt work, and my grandad just pushed the wires up into the attic, and papered over the ceiling hole. So, there was never a ceiling light in the living room until I bought the place.

You guys might like this:

I bought my house as-is, of course. I fully intended to rewire the house from the beginning.

One afternoon, I was sitting in a chair beside one of the original wall outlets. I knew the plug itself was very old... black and ceramic. The lamp that was plugged into it flickered a time or two and went out. I heard the outlet sizzle. I jumped up and ran to the fuse box, and pulled the plug fuses... all 4 of them. Went back to the outlet, and started to take the screw out that held the brass wallplate on... ZZZAAAAAPPPP!! I got hit with a nice 120V!! When I recovered, I looked in the fuse box and found pennies behind each plug fuse in the box!!! This explained all the space heaters running all the time, especially when my grandmother got more feeble, and never blowing a fuse!!

I remove the pennies once I had pulled the main fuses, and then checked to be sure the power was really off!!! I fixed the wall outlet, and never blew a plug fuse in the next year I used the original wiring. Like I said previously, most of the knob and tube was in good shape. The stuff coming up from the basement to the outlets was basically cooked and the insulation would flake off the wires if you touched it.
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  #45  
Old 03-26-2012, 04:32 PM
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David Roper David Roper is offline
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Grandma was very lucky! An acquaintance from years back whose house a lot us visited frequently had a panel full of 30 amp plug fuses. I knew very well what a bad idea this was (I suspect she bought the house with them in there) but I never spoke up about it. I think I figured I'd be dismissed as obsessing over the kind of things only a nerd obsesses over.

About a year and a half later an electrical fire gutted the house in the middle of the night. Fortunately the only fatality was the cat.
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