Jump to content

What is this?


Les
 Share

Recommended Posts

House is 1932, brick veneer, 2 1/2 storey, 30amp service entrance. There are one of these outlets in every room, except baths and kitchen. All are stand alone, except the one over the fireplace. No power in any of them. Most have the plug inserted with no cord attached.

Just when I was beginning to think I knew everything!

Throwing in the water pump and water heater for good measure and entertainment -

Image Insert:

2007101612163_DSC000411.jpg

38.05 KB

Image Insert:

20071016121628_DSC000432.jpg

37.29 KB

Image Insert:

20071016121652_DSC000473.jpg

38.76 KB

Image Insert:

20071016121717_DSC000534.jpg

61.48 KB

Image Insert:

20071016121747_DSC000525.jpg

64.45 KB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Les...was there metal or continuity between the prongs in the plug? The only thing I can think of is that they "switch" on the adjoining receptacles (or used to). In that case, you wouldn't measure any current between the two holes unless there was actually something plugged in, and turned on, at the receptacle.

Very odd!

Ok...just looked closer at the 3rd photo and saw the hole in the plug. Scratch all the above! [:-dunce] I'd now guess for lamp cords but no idea why the weird pattern.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, no continuity. Plug cap would accomodate an 18ga lampcord, one steel blade and one brass, both same size, folded stock. I did not remove any wall covers, as the real estate agent was a @#*@$%^ and "don't touch anything, I will ask my inspector. Does he know you?, maybe he will call and let you know what it is." I did good and managed to stop the bleeding from biting my tongue, but I do have a headache!

I just have never seen anything like it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Les...

I found this... http://www.mosaicshades.com/antique2005 ... /index.htm .

It's mostly about the history of lamp sockets but if you scroll down to the last photo, the middle plug looks similar. Tough to tell which way the prongs are oriented, but I suspect they went a few different ways until everyone settled on a standard.

Interesting article for you lamp socket history buffs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Plug cap would accomodate an 18ga lampcord, one steel blade and one brass, both same size..."

One last guess: The different materials are interesting, and kind of "modern". Perhaps someone worked out the dangers of reversed polarity (power to shell, not switch, etc) and what we have here is America's very first polarized plug? I would imagine the receptacles and "DIY" plugs were sold as sets.

Obviously, I had the day off and I'm bored!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's an old modular telephone plug. The pattern doesn't match anything in any of my charts but I don't have any old charts for telephone equipment. I have a very fuzzy memory of something similar in the abandoned Spingarn mansion where I used to play as a kid. They had those old telephones with the receiver cradle in just about every room. You held the receiver to your ear with one hand, picked up the phone and it's base and held the mouthpiece in front of your mouth with the other and they plugged into wall plugs that looked like weird electrical plugs.

OT - OF!!!

M.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by hausdok

I think it's an old modular telephone plug. The pattern doesn't match anything in any of my charts but I don't have any old charts for telephone equipment. I have a very fuzzy memory of something similar in the abandoned Spingarn mansion where I used to play as a kid. They had those old telephones with the receiver cradle in just about every room. You held the receiver to your ear with one hand, picked up the phone and it's base and held the mouthpiece in front of your mouth with the other and they plugged into wall plugs that looked like weird electrical plugs.

OT - OF!!!

It's way before my time, and admittedly I didn't grow up playing in any mansion, abandoned or otherwise, but I still suspect it's not for a telephone. I doubt that the concept of a phone in each room would have been considered in a relatively modest home such as this. My guess would be some sort of proprietary plug and jack system which never caught on. If you look at the age of the home and the round hole in the plug, I think it was for a power cord for some sort of light or appliance. After all, back in the day, cords were usually cloth-covered and round, right?

Thread drift: Why are modern cover plates so boring? Can't we bring back some designs like this one where they have a little character? I'll happily abandon the vertical ribs which are a pain to keep clean, but why not a little filigree work or similar design around the perimeter?

Anyone out there with a little spare cash to invest? I suggest we start up a company to manufacture cover plates with vintage design motifs. Craftsman, Mid-century, Art Deco, Nouveau...etc. Any takers?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I picked the lock on that repo house where the plug and socket is. Pulled cover and it is connected to cloth covered copper wire approx 16ga solid, tinned ends. They are not energized. House had a 30amp service entrance drop from pole and a 60amp main. House was custom built for a local merchant with two main entrances. Full maple floors everywhere, low fire brick exterior, rumsford stove, galley kitchen, popular trims, oak staircase, re-cycled steel I beam with steam pipe supports, no cistern, block foundation, all head room clearances were low with standard single panel doors. The roof is original 1932 slate asbestos shingle and functional. Typical modified four square floor plan. 1 and 1/2 bathrooms with razor blade receptacles. Crane tub and Briggs pedestal sink.

I am running out of time with my reputation of knowing "everything". As most of you know, I have a pretty good library of old books and publications and have found nothing. I had the office staff go thru everything and still nothing. Will keep you posted and keep the ideas coming!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Matthew, I must confess that I collect and display everything that has to do with knob and tube "art" and actually sent a weird socket to Jim K last spring. I think Katen has it in his desk and waiting to trade it for some camera lens he has been looking for.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Douglas H has come to the rescue again!!

The device is for radio antennae connection. While he has only seen those that have power, I am going back to house, legally this time, and going to track the wires.

Also, if you look at this new larger photo you can see it embossed with "Aerial" on the top and "grounding" at the bottom of the socket.

Will keep you posted.

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif DSC000411.JPG

38.03 KB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That makes sense,

When I was a kid radios all had some kind of antennae lead or connection point. I suppose at some point prior to television folks could have had their homes pre-wired with an antenna (aerial) system. It also makes sense that it would be a plug that couldn't possibly be confused with a conventional current-carrying type.

Bet if you cruise some vintage radio websites you'll eventually find a picture of an old radio with a cord and plug attached.

OT - OF!!!

M.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...