Museum of Plugs and Sockets logo, small BS 546
Classic models of plugs and sockets
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Related gallery:
classic 2-pin plugs, BS 372
classic plugs and sockets used in South Africa


BS 546 G.E.C. plug BS 546 G.E.C. plug Classic model B 546 plug BS546 Clix plug (inside)
Temco 5A BS546 socket with switch
15A BS546 fused plug 15A BS546 fused plug, inside BS546 2A pplug, classic model

1, 2 Bakelite BS 546 5A plug, made by General Electric Corporation (G.E.C.). Late 1940s - early 1950s.   {JM}
3, 4 BS 546 15A CLIX plug. No tools are necessary to attach wires to the pins of Clix plugs. Press the copper pins firmly down to fix the wires (see image no. 4). The top part of the Bakelite housing keeps the pins in position (as long as the screw that fix the two parts of the housing is securely tightened !).   {JM}
5 Bakelite BS 546 5A socket with switch. The socket does not have safety shutters. The device was recovered from the demolition of barracks at RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, England. The base was closed in 1994. Manufacturer: Temco, which was a brand of the Telephone Manufacturing Company, London (TMC). The electrical accessories branch, was sold in the early 1950s to Ward & Goldstone.   {DH}
6, 7 15A BS 546 plug with a 5A BS 646 cartridge fuse. A cavity, indicated by the green arrow, offers space for a spare fuse. 15A plugs have a 5A fuse, rather than 15A, because a 15A fuse would offer no more protection than the main fuse on the distribution board. Brand name: MK Electric.   {JM}
8 Classic 2A BS 546 plug.   {WN}

BS546 5A 2-way multi-plug BS546 5A 3-way multi-plug BS546 5A 3-way multi-plug, inside BS546 5A converter-multi-plug

BS 546 15A multi-plug with 5A and 15A outlets
BS 546 15A multi-plug with 5A and 15A outlets
BS 546 15A multi-plug with 5A and 15A outlets

9 Top: 5A BS 546, 2-way multi-plug. Bottom: inside of the same plug showing the copper strips and connectors. This is an example of a multi-plug in which both outlets have the same, correct orientation of live and neutral slots. Be aware that occasionally you may find more simple devices whereby the two outlets are mirror images of each other and only one of both has the correct L-N orientation. See for example image no. 5 at the page on French plugs and sockets.   {DF}
10, 11 BS 546 5A 3-way multi-plug. Although a bit more complicated than no. 9, also this model has a correct polarization for each of the tree outlets. Brand name: Loblite (made in England).   {JM}
12 5A BS 546, 2-way multi-plug, with two 5A BS 546 outlets, one 5A  2-pin (BS 373 Part 1) outlet and an outlet for a US-type flat blade plug. Manufacturer: unknown compay that had a logo with flag and characters T and K.   {JM}
13 - 15 15A BS 546 multi-plug with various types of outlets. Right (image no. 13): 15A BS 546. Left (no. 14): 5A BS 546 with or without earth, 5A BS 372 Part 1 (2-pin) and US-type flat blade. Top (no.15): 15A BS 546 with earth and 5A BS546 without earth.
Manufacturer: company that used a logo with initials F.H. (details unknown).   {MSt}

Multi-plug nos. 9, 10/11 and 13/15 are made of Bakelite. None of the plugs is fused

BS1778-1951 connector BS1778-1951 connector, detail BS1778-1951 Strand Electric connector

GEC 5A BS546 plug with slotted earth pin
Obsolete Chinese 15A BS 546 socket Obsolete Chinese 15A BS 546 plug

16 - 18 BS 1778:1951 die-cast trailing socket rated at 15A-250V. BS 1778:1951 describes three pin plugs, socket outlets and connectors for theatre and stage use for circuits up to 250 Volt. It is likely that the standard in particular refers to (in 1951) die-cast housings and related safety issues. BS 564 15A plugs fit in this socket.Brand name: Strand Electric.
The trailing socket was used back in the 1970's to extend stage lighting circuits over the roof of the theatre in the Broadbent Building which was once part of Middlesex Polytechnic. Read more about the history of the building in note 2, below.   {DF}

Broadbent Building is a part of the Electric Quarter, Ponders End, Enfield Council, North London. College buildings in this area are no longer used by Middlesex University. The Electric Quarter plans enable the conversion of the Grade II Listed Broadbent Building into affordable workspace, capturing the essence of Enfield's industrial heritage, most notably that of Joseph Swan, who lived locally on Ponders End High Street and pioneered the invention of the electric light bulb, which informs the name of the Quarter. For more information about Joseph Swan, see
19 Flat top pattern standard gauge* 3-pin plug with slotted earth pin for G.E.C. horizontal pattern interlocking switch-socket outlet. Description is given in a 1951 General Electric Company handbook. The plug can be secured in an interlocking socket (not in the collection) that has a bar that fit in the notch in the earth pin (green arrow).   {WN}
* BS 546 plug rating: 5A-250V.
20 - 21 A rare example of a 15A socket and plug bought in 1998 on a market in Xi-An, Peoples Republic of China. The configuration of the earth, neutral and live slots is identical to BS 546, but the slot diameter is too small (earth = 7.5 mm, N and L = 5.8 mm) to accommodate a British 15A plug. Pins are considerably shorter than standard 15A BS 546 plugs: 14.3 versus 19.3 mm for power pins and 15.9 versus 29.7 for earth pin.


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