Museum of Plugs and Sockets logo, small BS 1363
classic plugs and sockets
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A few examples of BS 1363 plugs and sockets made in the 1950s and '60s are shown below. Their look is classic, but functionality is identical to modern material. Sockets have safety shutters and switches. Power pins (L and N) of plugs made before 1994 are not partially insulated.

 

BS 1363 socket, MK 1950s BS 1363 socket, MK 1950s, inside
BS 1363 socket, MK 1950s, shutters
BS 1363 socket, MK 1950s, shutters

MEM twin BS 1363 socket classic BS 1363 plug switch
classic BS 1363 plug, inside
classic BS 1363 plug with fuse rating indicator

1, 2
Single BS 1363 surface mount socket, made by MK Electric in the 1950s. The cast has been made of Bakelite or a comparable phenol or cresol resin. The model represents one of the most commonly used outlets in the UK back in the days when one socket per room was seen as quite sufficient. Image nos. 2-4 shows the inside.   {DF}
3, 4
Detailed view of the contact of socket no. 1.  Neutral and live contacts are shielded by a grey plate when the socket is not in use (image no. 3). The earth contact is blocked by a sloped brass bar that is connected to the shutter plate. When a plug is inserted, the longest pin - the earth pin* - pushes the bar and shutter plate aside. Then, the shorter neutral en live pin can be connected to the socket contacts (image no. 4).
* earth pin is not visible because of an image editing trick, otherwise the plug would have obscured the shutter opening mechanism.
5 Semi-flush mount twin socket made by MEM (Midland Electrical Manufacturing). Because of the sloped front the socket looks slimmer from above.      {DF}
6 Switched BS 1363 plug. This older example also has an inspection hole in the plug housing, a feature to facilitate verification whether the earth pin is wired, see inset. Modern BS 1363 plugs do not have inspection holes anymore, in contrast to BS 546 plugs. Find more details at the BS 546 page. Note that switched plugs are still available, though most sockets are switched.
Manufacturer: MK Electric.
7 Inside view of a classic, pre-1970s, BS 1363 plug. Wire colours are indicates as black (Neutral), red (Live) and green (Earth).
Early 1970s the colour code for flexible (appliance) cords was changed to: N = blue, L = brown and E = yellow/green. An important reason was avoiding the use of both red and green wires, a serious problem for red-green colourblind people (ca. 6% of men and 0.5% of women). The green arrow indicates the inspection hole (see no. 6 for details).
8 Late 1950s or early 1960s type of BS 1363 plug equipped with a fuse rate indicator (red arrow). When another type of fuse is installed, the position of the indicator has to be adapted manually. Note the choice between 3A, 7A and 13A plugs These ratings were specified in the original BS 1363:1947 specifications. Nowadays 3A and 13A are the preferred BS 1362 fuse ratings for rewirable plugs. Quite soon after introduction 7A and 10A fuses were deleted from the official list of recommended ratings, but they are still available (as well as 2A and 5A fuses). Manufacturer: MK Electric.   {JM}

BS 1363 multi-plug with BS 372 part I outlets
BS 1363 multi-plug with BS 372 part I outlets, inside
BS 1363 multi-plug with BS 372 part I outlets, shutter

9 - 11 BS 1363 multi-plug with a single BS 1363 outlet (top) and two 5A BS 546 outlets (left and right). The triple outlet plug is fused as image no. 10 shows. Live pin 'a' is connected to strip 'b' and fuse clip 'c'. Fuse: 13A BS 1362. Fuse clip 'd' is connected, to strip 'e' to which the three live outlet contacts are attached. BS 1363 outlet is protected by a safety shutter (image no. 11). The earth pin of a flex cord plug pushes shutter aside and makes live and neutral contacts accessible. Manufacturer: MK Electric.   {DH}

 


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