Museum of Plugs and Sockets logo, small Classic French
plugs and sockets
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Porcelain and Duroplast sockets that were produced in France in the 1920s to 1970s are shown here. Each have the standard continental European spacing for line and neutral slots of 19 mm.
A remarkable feature of some models is a fuse integrated in the socket, a quite uncommon aspect.
Related gallery:
classic heavy duty types

 

empty image Old French porcelain socket Old French porcelain socket Old French porcelain triple socket
       
Old French socket with internal fuse Old French socket with fuse Old French socket with internal fuse Fuses of old French sockets

1-3 Porcelain, non-earthed sockets. No. 1 is rated at 5A - 250V. No rating is indicated on nos. 2 and 3. Slots are designed for 4 mm pins. Nos. 1 and 2 have side entry holes for a screw driver to wire the socket. None of these sockets have a brand name.   (1):{FB}
4 Triple, non-earthed porcelain socket, without rating. The socket has been produced by the Legrand company in Limoges; see logo b depicted in image no. 15.
5, 6 Duroplast, non-earthed socket with fuse, rated at 10A - 250V. Brand name: Electro Sécurit, Antibes.
7 Fused, non-earthed socket, mounted on a nickel alloy plate, which gives it a silvery look. Brand name: Electro Sécurit, Antibes.
8 Fuses used in socket nos. 6, 7, 10, 11 and similar models. Most sockets had rewirable fuses. Fuse wires existed for ratings between 5A and ca. 30A. The thick wire of fuse bottom right is an example of a high(er) amperage fuse (25A?); the thin wires of three other fuses are probably rated at 5A. The bottom left 10A cartridge fuse was used in a relatively modern CEE 7/5 type socket (see nos. 11-12). Typical fuse sizes are: length = 22.5 mm, diameter of ceramic part = 8 mm.

 

Old French earthed socket Old French earthed socket with internal fuse CEE 7/5 type socket with internal fuse CEE 7/5 type fused socket
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Dimensions of socket 9 / plug 13
Classic French 6A-250V earthed plug Italian type earthed 6A plug made by Legrand Italian type earthed 6A connector plug made by Legrand

Intro The first domestic sockets and plugs with a protective earth connection date back to the 1930s.  They became compulsory in the 1970s. Initially 3-pin plugs were used, either a (potentially) polarized type* (nos. 9, 10, 13), or the non-polarized Italian type (nos. 14, 15). In 1951 the first edition of CEE 7 was published. It is likely that at that time in France sockets, rather than plugs, with an earth pin were introduced. An older, 'transition' model with fuse is shown in images 11, 12. Nowadays only CEE 7/5 sockets (without fuse) and matching CEE 7/6 plugs are on the market.

Note that the position of the earth contact of socket no. 9 corresponds to the earth pin offset of CEE 7/5 sockets.
It is difficult to find information about the reason why the earth pin has shifted from plug to socket. It could be that a socket with earth pin allowed designing a plug that can be used in both German (CEE 7/3) and French (CEE 7/5) sockets, while the advantage of being polarized was preserved. The now commonly used CEE 7/7 hybrid plug is compatible with German and French sockets. In contrast to CEE 7/4 (Schuko), both CEE 7/6 and -7/7 plugs are polarized when used in a French socket.

* In theory socket no. 9 is polarized. However not until 2002 polarization was clearly defined in France.
9, 13

Earthed, 6A - 250V socket and matching plug. The socket has a porcelain body. These duroplast models were made by Legrand, probably in the (early?) 1950s. Essential dimensions are given in the bottom left scheme.
It is interesting to note that the old Greek Tripoliki system has exactly the same configuration and dimensions as nos. 9 and 13.
10 Fused, earthed socket rated at 10A - 250V, comparable to the non-fused socket no. 9.
As no. 7 the socket is mounted on a nickel alloy plate. Brand name: Electro Sécurit.
11, 12 Fused socket with earth pin, rated at 10A - 250V.  Image no. 12 shows the porcelain body. The fuse is shown in image no. 8 (bottom left). Holes of L and N pins have a diameter of 5.7 mm. Earth pin has a diameter of 4.8 mm and is 15 mm long. Dimensions are comparable to modern CEE 7/5 sockets. Brand name: Legrand.
Note that the integrated fuse is not a part of the CEE 7/5 standard.
14, 15 Italian (CEI 23-50) type plug and connector, rated at 6A - 250V. This type was common in houses that became French territory after World War II*. French connector plugs have a protruded position of the earth contact compared to power contacts. This feature ensures that earth contact is made first. Italian connector plugs do not have this safety feature. Brand name: Legrand.
 
note
 
* Parts of the County of Nizza have swapped several times between Italy and France. The Treaty of Peace with Italy in 1947 allocated Tenda and Briga to France (now Tende and La Brigue in the extreme southeast of France). Source: Dominique Colson, personal communication.

Legrand Mistral socket Old French porcelain fuseholder Old French porcelain fuseholder Logos of Legrand and Electro Securit companies

16 Legrand series 'Mistral' socket with switch. Ratings: 6A-250V (outlet) and 10A-250V (switch). Dating: ca. 1970s. The cover plate has been made of a nickel alloy.   {DH}
17, 18
Instead of fused sockets also separate fuse holders were used in French houses. Rating of the fuse wires is not indicated. Porcelain fuse holders existed for both one and two fuses. No brand name indicated.   {FB}
19 Logos of two French electrotechnical companies.
a: Electro Sécurit, based in Antibes. In 1956 the company has been taken over by Legrand, and renamed to Legrand, Antibes.
b: Logo of the Legrand company* as used from 1925 to 1967. CLL = Compagnie Legrand Limoges.
c: Legrand logo from 1968 to 1973. The two L's of the previous logo are placed facing each other head-to-foot in combination with two lines to represent a switch with its incoming and outgoing wires. Initially the name 'legrand' was added in small lettering, but later enlarged to the same height of the light-switch type logo.
 
*  The Legrand company was established in 1904. It was the successor of a porcelain tableware company founded in 1865 in Limoges by Henri Barjaud de Lafond and Léonard Clidasson. After many acquisitions, in 2011 Legrand became the largest globally for switches and sockets. The head office of the Legrand Group is still located in Limoges.

Bakelite socket, 10A-250V, made by L'Ébénoïd
Bakelite plug, 10/16A-250V, made by L'Ébénoïd
Marks on L'Ébénoïd plugs and sockets



The Compagnie Legrand in Limoges was (and still is) the largest manufacturer of plugs and sockets in France, but other producers exist(ed). Among others L'Ébénoïd in Saint-Priest (69). From 2001 L'Ébénoïd belongs to the Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) group.  Examples are shown in images 20 - 22.
 
20, 21
Bakelite socket, rated at 10A - 250V, and plug rated at 10 (DC) / 16 (AC) - 250V. Manufacturer: L'Ébénoïd. Dating: 1950s-'60.   {WN}
22 Marks found on Bakelite plugs and socket made by L'Ébénoïd.
Top left: certification mark issued by the l'Union des Syndicats de l'Electricité (USE). These marks have been used from 1924 until 1947, but it is likely that Bakelite moulds with an USE mark have been used for many more years.
Top right: mark that can be found on many French plugs and sockets made of Bakelite. Each of the L'Ébénoïd devices have number 37, whereas Legrand devices have number 144. The other number is nearly always P21 (only socket no. 20 has number P11). The P21/37 (or 144) mark resembles Bakelite molding marks as used in Germany. However, up to now no support have been found for the assumption that it could be a French Bakelite molding mark.
Bottom left: L'Ébénoïd logo found on classic plugs and sockets.
Bottom right: restyled logo that is used on more modern L'Ébénoïd products. It is unclear when the new logo was introduced.


Classic French three-phase plugs and sockets

Find more examples of classic French material in the section on heavy duty plugs and sockets.

Click here for three-phase examples.
French 3-phase socket and plug, small

 


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